Hello New Year, Goodbye Trauma!
Cathy Austin, Trauma Informed Therapist, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Maybe this is the year. This is a shiny, brand new year. 2019 could be the year you say goodbye to unresolved trauma. Remember that thing that happened that you just can’t seem to forget about? Why not rid yourself of the emotional triggers from that experience of trauma?
Maybe you know you have experienced trauma; growing up with Mom and Dad, or bullying, emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse or maybe you’ve witnessed something that can’t be unseen.
We don’t always call it trauma but we know that the experience was disturbing. What matters is this: Does it have an effect on the way you live your life?
Trauma can have lasting effects, if we are unable to fully process it. Unresolved trauma may leave an imprint on the brain which acts like a trigger when something similar is brought into the mind’s active processing. Unprocessed sense fragments of the trauma such as sounds, smell, voice, noise or physical sensations can trigger a flashback.
Once triggered, the fight or flight response is activated and a whole cascade of hormones are released which causes us to experience a variety of emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, etc. This is not something that is in our immediate control.
Unresolved Trauma Can Cause You to Overreact
Have you been told that you overreact? If you find that the way you react is out-of-proportion to the situation, it may be because unresolved trauma is interfering with the present moment. Do you overreact to criticism, loud voices and conflict or when you feel ignored or discounted? Could be, you have unresolved trauma. Maybe you are unable to identify what is triggering you. However you may be triggered just the same.
People may suggest that you should just get over it. Stop reacting. You probably wish it were that easy. If it were possible and if you could control your emotions, you would have done so by now. You wouldn’t be reading this blog.
We all experience mini traumas every day; someone cuts us off in traffic, we sprain an ankle or we get a paper cut. These things are easily processed and result in knowledge and growth. However when something is disturbing or traumatic, we may not be capable of processing the information on our own and may require help from a professional, a trauma informed counselor.
The impact of Unresolved Trauma on Health
Left unresolved trauma can have a negative impact on your health. For instance, we all know that adrenaline is one of the hormones that are critical to help us fight back or flee in times of danger. Under normal circumstances, people react to a threat with a temporary increase in stress hormones. In most people, as soon as the threat subsides, the body returns to normal.
If you have experienced trauma and it is unprocessed, stress hormones can spike quickly and disproportionately to even mildly stressful situations. It can take much longer for your body to return to normal. If you’re thinking this must be hard on the body, you would be right.
We know that Fight or flight was meant to be short term, just quick, on and off, an explosive response, a burst of energy. It was never meant to be long term. The dangerous and subtle effects of constantly elevated stress hormones become apparent in memory and attention problems, irritability, fatigue, sleep disorders, weight gain and physical effects on the organs, headaches, stomach upset, aches until eventually it is expressed as illness.
The Nervous System & Trauma
Let’s recall that the nervous system has two polls: Sympathetic and parasympathetic. We know that when sympathetic nervous system is kicked in because of a threat, parasympathetic nervous system, which is used for healing and digestion, is slowed. Not a lot of energy goes to healing and digestion during that time. It’s not the priority. Most energy goes to fight or flight because that’s the priority.
Are you often tired or fatigued? Unresolved trauma takes a lot of energy to hold it down, so you can function in your day to day life. Think how phenomenal you would feel if all that energy was instead focused on something you love. Wouldn’t it be great to clear the trauma and reclaim your energy?
The Amazing Effect of Clearing Trauma
This could be the year to clear the trauma and take your life back. Then, 2019 could become the year to focus all your energy on the things you love. Your body could heal, feel healthy and strong. You could experience a certain lightness and ease, creativity and joy. You could be comfortable in your own skin. You will wonder why you waited so long.
This could be the year. This could be the year to clear that trauma!
Rapid Resolution Therapy/Memory Reconsolidation
Clear your mind. Change your world.
If 2019 is the year to clear your trauma. I invite you to set up a free phone consult. Call 303-949-3654 or go to my Contact Me page and send me an email. You’ll be glad you did.