Recovering From Emotional Trauma
There are four main parts that make up a person: Behavior, Feelings, Senses and Thinking. They must work together in a healthy way to have a whole person.
Often, when there is Emotional Trauma these four main parts become separated and do not work together. When trauma occurs chemicals in the brain actually change, making you more sensitive to the world around you. Trauma symptoms like feelings or fear and helplessness can be easily activated (triggered) by anything that reminds you of the traumatic event. Some examples of things that trigger you are:
smells or contact with others certain times of the day
ANYTHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF THE TRAUMA (even if you aren’t aware of it).
When you are TRIGGERED, an alarm in your head sends messages through your body to go into a SURVIVAL MODE- fight, flight (run) or freeze. In Survival Mode, many changes occur in your body- like the stomach shuts down, blood pressure goes up and the lower or survival brain becomes more active. YOUR THINKING BRAIN DOESN’T WORK AS WELL WHEN THIS HAPPENS. Your thoughts may [exist but not go anywhere]. You may feel you should do something but be paralyzed to act.
How do I recover from Trauma?
There are 3 stages of healing:
Before the trauma can be released, we must be safe, both outside and inside.
A. Outside Safety. You are safe from people who could hurt you. You can be assertive and protect yourself from harm.
B. Inside Safety. We can learn skills that help us control our feelings and actions so we don’t feel controlled by them.
We can also learn how to say what we feel so our feelings don’t get as bottled up.
There are many ways to release trauma. The purpose of this stage of healing is to release the pain from the trauma memory. The trauma needs to be put in a form that allows you to let it go. This does not usually require you to deal with all of the details of the traumatic experience(s) but to just free yourself of the emotional pain that underlies the trauma memory. The trauma release is done by a trauma specialist.
When you have been through trauma you can become emotionally separated from people and the world around you. The final stage of healing is to re-connect with them. Here are some ways to reconnect:
Doing: making or fixing things with your own hands, sport, activities with others.
Friends: reconnect with old friendships and form new positive relationships.
Exercise: cleans out the built-up chemicals caused by stress and adds positive chemicals that help you relax.
Reading: books that capture your imagination or stimulate our feelings help us re-connect.
As you heal and become whole your Behavior, Feelings, Senses and Thinking work together. You feel connected on the inside and are able to respond to others and the world around you.