Trauma is not an easy topic to discuss. It can be even harder to admit that you may need trauma therapy. So many people dismiss and deny that the traumatic experiences they've lived through could possibly be a factor in how they function, when in fact it's these experiences that shape what we know about functioning.
Trauma is not the memory or the situation. It's the distinct way that the body reacts to stress in a situation.
It sometimes begins with shock, denial, or disbelief, or a feeling that you’ve lost control in some way, a sense of helplessness. It’s mood swings; anxiety, anger, sadness and irritability. It’s an overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame. It’s feeling disconnected from yourself and the people around you. It might be difficult to sleep and you could possibly have nightmares. It’s more than jumpiness; you’re easily startled by sound, things you see, certain people. It’s being on edge and intensely aware of EVERYTHING all the time. It’s muscle aches and pains. It’s body tension. The list could go on…
Does that describe you?
There are three main types of trauma and all can result in the development of PTSD; acute, meaning a single traumatic incident, chronic, meaning trauma experienced over a longer period of time, and complex, meaning multiple traumatic experiences and sources of trauma throughout one’s life. Sources could include natural disasters, abuse and neglect, death of a loved one, car accidents, medical injuries or illnesses, bullying and school violence, sexual abuse, community violence, just to name a few. There’s also generational trauma or trauma that has passed down through the family lineage as the result of traumatic events years before you were born.
Trauma has the ability to touch the lives of just about everyone, but some of you are more susceptible to the long-term effects it has depending on the circumstances that surround you and your family.
Trauma changes you!
It changes how you function internally. The alarm system in your brain that goes off when you’re in danger becomes hyperactive, decreasing your tolerance to stress. The part of your brain responsible for regulating emotions, rational thinking, and awareness shrinks in size. Chronic stress eats away at your body leaving you more prone to illness and dis-ease.
It also changes how you function externally. Your ability to trust anyone or anything becomes harder to do. You’ll struggle with constant doubt and skepticism. You may even end up surrounding yourself with people that retraumatize you because it “just feels normal.”
Imagine for a minute that you can face difficult situations with confidence, knowing you can handle whatever is thrown your way. You have the skills to regulate your body and reduce symptoms of anxiety, panic and stress. You actually feel present and grounded in your body. You’re able to let go of the shame and guilt you’ve carried with you for so long. You can trust yourself and you’ve become comfortable opening up to new connections. How would your quality of life change if all of that were true? ASTRONOMICALLY, RIGHT?!?!
This is how beneficial trauma therapy can be. YOU CAN HEAL!
In the treatment of trauma, the goal is not to somehow erase all traumatic experiences from your memory, although many would love for that to be an option. The goal is to better understand and cope with the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of trauma.
Trauma is complex. It creates patterns of thinking and behaviors as a means of survival and protection. It affects the way that the systems in your body function. You may find that some of the ways you’ve learned to protect yourself are keeping you locked in a cycle of fear that governs every move you make. Therapy can help you unpack all of this and develop tools and strategies that allow you to live a more manageable life.
Through her own life experiences and working in the social work field with all kinds of people and life scenarios, it became glaringly obvious to Nicole that much of the treatment offered now-a-days is equivalent to putting a band-aid on a wound without ever washing or stitching it up first. Our society loves quick fixes…get in, get out, move on. And while some treatment is better than none, often people are only getting a snippet of what could truly help them. Long-term recovery requires deeper work to be done. We have to look at the root of the issue and that’s often trauma.
In your work with Nicole, you’ll get access to EMDR therapy and other integrative, mind-body approaches to trauma focused therapy.
Trauma work is hard. It takes courage to face your pain and make the decision to begin the healing process. Getting here was the first step; the next is to call for a complimentary consultation with Nicole. Give yourself this chance...
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