Traumatic events are different for everyone at any stage in life. A baby left without a bottle long enough is a traumatic event, a teen that is rejected by their peers a divorce, a move, a loss of a parent or friend, an abusive parent, an accident, a fire, the list goes on and on. With each trauma a story is created in that moment to help with survival, a story that becomes threaded through the body, cementing into your subconscious thoughts, beliefs and fears.
Because this information, this stress, this trauma is not natural to our bodies and minds, they begin to adapt in order to survive. These adaptations include but are not limited to inflammation, weight gain/loss, mental health challenges, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, increased/decreased cortisol levels, and so very many more. Your body is no longer the same.
If left unattended and the traumas continue, the brain can create a disassociation to the situations. Every time we experience traumas they get lodged in the Vagus Nerve, which winds its way throughout our body. A scent, a memory, a trigger, a noise, anything that reminds the body of the trauma instigates an onslaught of responses. The brain nor the body can differentiate between the actual experience, or a memory/trigger: it reacts the same way, creating more stories and stress on the body.
How does this affect your daily life, your relationships, your job, your family? Over time you begin to subconsciously respond and react from the “untrue stories” that once kept you safe. That story has been circulating in your body at a cellular level, it becomes ingrained in your thinking, in your patterns and in your reactions. Take for example the child left without a bottle, in that moment a story is created “ they are not safe, they are not having their needs met, they are not good enough” for example. Again, if left unattended over time life events confirm that story over and over, perhaps they become the teen who feels rejected, leading into relationships that become unsafe and abusive. Look at where you struggle the most, it's shining a spot light on the chaos being created by your story.
According to Dr. Gabor Mate, who has worked extensively in the Vancouver area with addictions and mental health patients, these issues can be traced back to childhood traumas.
Not everyone has these same reactions, like I mentioned everyone deals differently. Not all traumas occur during childhood. Take first responders dealing with PTSD for example, the brain has captured that memory of a certain situation, they continue to relive that on a regular basis until hopefully proper help is obtained.
In order to take this to another level, let’s take that same teen that felt rejected and look at them 15 years down the road. They have experienced a few unhealthy relationships, always feeling unsafe, unsupported and not good enough. The trauma story has been proven over and over, the belief is now deep rooted. At this point, any situation, no matter how big or small that confirms this belief is magnified. The reactions intensify. The hurt roots itself deeper each time it is ignored.
We all have a story, we all have fears, we are all faced with life experiences that offer the opportunity to look deep within and notice what requires our attention. The longer we ignore these inner callings, the more significant the life experiences become in order to bring attention to the inner pain.
Look at the situations in your life that trigger a response you feel you really have no control over, or you wish you reacted differently or that you over reacted to, or felt disconnected from. Those are the opportunities to look deeper, to heal.
We can choose to go on being ignorant of our pain, looking for someone or something to prove us wrong, or we can take the opportunities that lie in front of us and use them as a time to heal, grow and learn. As we heal ourselves we heal the relationships around us.
To reverse the affects of this inner story and trapped trauma it is important to work through those with a therapist you can trust. Talk therapy doesn’t seem to be enough anymore, although helpful to a point. Deeper therapies are required including mindfulness and meditation to lower the brain waves to a relaxation state, EMDR, Sound Therapy and alternative relaxations techniques. Most of these therapies need to be accompanied with guided imagery. The most important component is that the client or patient feels safe and comfortable in working through the trauma.
On a positive note the brain can be retrained.