Trauma can be different things for different people. It may be bereavement, either sudden or expected, the everyday trauma of work place difficulties and pressure which can cause anxiety and panic, being worn down by bullying and unkind people, accidents which make our hearts race, being in conflicts whether personally or as part of an institution or being assaulted and our survival threatened. And of course there are many other instances where we may feel traumatised either from childhood or our adult lives.
Whatever the cause though, trauma can have a similar effect on our body and our minds. It can cause us to be hyper-aroused and innocuous things can cause anxiety, panic and sometimes flashbacks to past experiences. We are on fight or flight mode, on constant alert. Trauma can also cause us to be hypo-aroused; we feel numb, deadened to life and depressed, and we may become very compliant and submissive to others. These responses can become habits and can have a negative impact on our lifes.
These NATURAL and NORMAL responses to trauma can often bring feelings of despair, shame and self loathing. To alleviate these feelings which can be intolerable we may turn to doing things in our life which aren’t always helpful such as shutting everyone out, turning to substances, maybe self injury, issues with eating and other behaviours that impact on being able to live a contented life.
My experience as a counsellor has shown me that there can be ways forward after trauma, nothing stays the same forever and change IS possible.
The folk who look the happiest
And those who seem bright,
With smiles on their faces
And feet that are light,
Are not always those
Who have lived in the sun
But those who have faced darkness
And fought it, and won.