in the concise definition of the word, relates to exposure
to a life threatening encounter or injury to self or others,
in response to personal survival due to stress or terror.
However, the definition also can be broadened to include individuals
exposed to violations of trust by people
or institutions in which you depended upon them for survival
(physically or emotionally). With the onset of the trauma,
the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. In
addition, they probably also experienced fear, loss of control,
and threat of annihilation (the complete destruction of themselves
or others). Traumatic experiences include, but are not limited
to: physical/ sexual/ emotional abuse from persons in authority
or power (such as parents/relatives, known or unknown individuals,
dates, therapists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, babysitters),
war veterans, vehicle crash victims, victims of disasters.
ranges from a single, one time event, to abuse that has occurred
repeatedly over days, weeks, months and what may feel like
a lifetime. As you might expect, the more chronic or multiple
traumatic experiences you have had to endure, the more difficult
it is to overcome. Also, the younger you began to experience
the trauma, the more devastating the effects.
reactions happen when there is no action, help, or support
available. Traumatic events overwhelm the human psyche in
areas of control, connection and trust. They produce psychological,
emotional, cognitive, and memory changes of the individual
that lasts long after the actual danger is over. Responses
to your traumatic experiences may feel abnormal or like you
are going crazy. Although your reactions may feel unusual,
or like no one else could understand why you do the things
you do or feel the way you do, they may be typical to many
people who have endured a traumatic event. After a traumatic
experience some reactions you may feel include:
like you are on permanent alert to the danger that may be
right around the corner and/or heightened startle reaction
of self is shattered
of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, shame
or compulsive routines
thoughts, fragmented thoughts
or putting self at risk for re-enactment of the trauma
and reactions are unique to you and your healing journey
will also be unique to you. People who have endured the
horrible and devastating effects of a traumatic encounter
suffer from a varied spectrum of emotional pain. Some people
can reconstruct the history of their past circumstances of
what happened in a meaningful way and have the ability to
adapt to the trauma. Others have difficulty putting the fragments
of memory together just to acknowledge that something happened.
so many violations to our sense of self and spirit these days,
and at times they may feel overwhelmingly difficult to think
about, much less speak. One fairly normal coping mechanism
to trauma is amnesia or forgetting all or part of the experience.
No matter how much we wish the memory of the trauma would
be forgotten, it is stored in your body on a cellular level.
The trauma wants to get out, to be processed in a healthy
manner and released. However if it does not get released,
many times you will have reoccurring traumatic events,
as if the original trauma had a voice crying out, “Look
at me! Look at what happened and how I have impacted your
life and continue to impact it!” When keeping the secrecy
of the event(s) becomes so strong, the story may come out
as a symptom instead of dealing with what really occurred.
These symptoms may manifest themselves by repeated victimizations,
illnesses, loss of relationships, accidents, divorces, dreams/nightmares,
drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders or other ways your
mind/body/spirit is trying to get your attention. The conflict
is whether to deny the trauma and the impact of it on your
life, or talk about it. But when the truth of what happened
starts to be acknowledged and shared, the healing can actually
begin. Rebuilding some minimal form of trust with connections
to other is essential.
work is about healing and restoring connections first to yourself,
then to close relationships and eventually the community.
Whether you have been directly traumatized, or have been exposed
to the atrocities of another’s trauma, there is help
available. Come on in. You don’t need to carry this
burden alone. I look forward to working together.
you to call me at 303-514-4732 for a free consultation.