What is Trauma?
Trauma has been around for a really long time. It has gained more awareness in recent years. Trauma is not just something that develops because of combat or being in war. Trauma is something that anyone can experience. It does not discriminate.
Everyone is at risk for Trauma
That is because trauma is an event. A traumatic event is something that is so scary or shocking. You fear your body, your life, or the life of a loved one is in serious danger. Trauma makes you feel out of control because there is usually not much you can do to stop the event from happening.
A trauma is a violent act, or witnessing a traumatic act. It is combat. It is abuse. A traumatic experience can be a sudden loss and death. There is such a thing as traumatic grief. Children that experience neglect, and certainly abuse, experience trauma. Witnessing a crime or being a victim of crime is a traumatic experience.
What does trauma feel like?
Trauma leaves you feeling confused, ashamed, scared and angry. It is because you lose control. You were not able to do anything about this horrible thing you saw or heard and as a result you feel responsible. You feel like maybe if you made a different choice the bad thing would not have happened.
Because trauma is so scary it stays with you. You may be able to get up and live your life quite well, but those memories are always there. The event is so scary and confusing the brain does not how to process the event. Therefore it does not get neatly stored away like other memories. You know how you have a memory? Well you can on purpose pull up that memory, on your terms. Right now you can say, remember when….and the brain will recall the memory. But because trauma memories do not get stored away like other memories it remains stuck in the brain. There is of course a more clinical and scientific explanation for this, which I can discuss in another video, but I just want you to have the basic understanding. Because the brain cannot process the memory correctly you cannot forget the traumatic event, no matter how hard you try. Again you are probably really good at living your life, but eventually if your trauma is not addressed, you are going to have some problems.
Essentially trauma symptoms are reminders of the event, again this is because the brain has not really been able to process the event. Trauma causes nightmares. It causes you to recall the memory even when you do not want to. The reminders and the nightmares make you feel like the trauma is happening all over again. You are angry, irritable, sad, frustrated, it is really hard to control any emotions. Because you are having nightmares you have trouble sleeping and may even fear sleeping. You want to forget it ever happened and move on with your life. Trouble is trauma will not allow you to do this.
There is HOPE.
Trauma is treatable. You can live a happy and successful life despite the bad thing or things that happened to you before.
There are several different treatments for trauma. But the common feature is that in order to heal you have to talk about what happened.
You will never Feel GREAT or good about what happened because it was a trauma.
So in light of today’s discussion I have 2 wellness tips for you! The first is to ask for help. It is really scary to think about facing your trauma but you do not have to do it alone. Asking for help will hook you up with a person that will help you learn how to feel safe and deal with your upset emotions. And hopefully you will start to feel safe enough with the person to talk about your trauma so you can truly move forward in your life. The second tip is to relax. Again this is very hard to do with your trauma, but when you can relax your body, you relax your mind. Your relaxed body sends a message to your brain you are safe and OK. When you start feeling anxious and worried try taking 5 deep breaths. I mean deep breaths. Breathe in and count to 5 and out and count to 5. Look at your surroundings and remember how you are in the moment, safe, in control, and relaxed.
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