"The wound is where the light enters you."
~ Rumi

When you hear the word “trauma,” what arises in your mind and body?

 

Do you feel a sense of heaviness, tension, or maybe even nausea? Do you think of war, an accident, abuse, or perhaps a natural disaster? Surely, these can be traumatic, but...

 

 

 

Trauma is not defined by the type of event that occurs but by how your nervous system is impacted. Regardless of how big or small an incident is, anything that overwhelms, shocks, or disturbs your nervous system and sense of safety beyond your capacity to cope is deemed traumatic.  Anything or anyone that is either too much (e.g., an intrusive parent), or occurs too soon (e.g., sexual experiences), too fast (e.g., losing a job or loved one unexpectedly), or is not enough for too long (e.g., poverty, neglect, unmet emotional needs) can affect how we live in our bodies,  manage our emotions, and navigate relationships.

Here are some examples:

Being humiliated by a peer. Consistently feeling criticized, unheard, unseen, or dismissed in your family. Your parent forgetting to pick you up at school. A medical procedure. Divorce or a painful breakup.  Facing microaggressions as a person of color. Being undervalued as a woman in a male-dominated workplace. Anything your nervous system registers as a threat to your well-being.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

While shock and overwhelm are normal responses to disturbing events, when neither the sensations connected to the trauma are “digested,” nor the meanings made about the event fully processed, our nervous system can remain stuck in fight, flight, freeze survival mode, reacting as if the trauma is still happening. When PTSD develops, it is as if part of us remains trapped in time.

"Trauma is not in the event but in the nervous system.” – Peter Levine 

Some Psychological Symptoms of PTSD:

 

  • Flashbacks or recurrent nightmares

  • General distrust & negative beliefs about people and the world

  • Hypervigilance (on guard, high alert, scanning the environment for threat)

  • Anxiety or panic

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Flashbacks to the traumatic event or person

  • Blame (self or others), shame, guilt

  • Irritability, anger, mood swings

  • Feeling numb or disconnected (from self or others)

  • Withdrawing from others

  • Feeling helpless & a lack of control

Some Physical Symptoms of PTSD:

 

  • Edginess or agitation

  • Being easily startled

  • Muscle tension

  • Fatigue

  • Nightmares or insomnia

  • Chronic pain or headaches

There’s no comparison

Two people who undergo the same event may have different responses and outcomes. The reason one person may experience an event as traumatic versus another who doesn’t has to do with a number of pre-existing factors, including genetics, coping skills, home life, current stressors, and history of other traumas, to name a few.

If you ever considered getting help but thought, “Others have it worse than me!”, please know that comparing yourself to others is not an objective measure of whether someone deserves help. Sure, there are people who may have harder lives than you, but we’ve all got issues, and your quality of life matters. Taking care of yourself, and being the best version of yourself, is the greatest gift you can give to our world.

Heal

By now, you may better understand that even if an event seems like it was “no big deal,” it can still cause pain.

I am passionate about helping people live their best lives. There is truly nothing more rewarding and humbling for me than to witness my clients’ transformation.

If you’re ready to see how an integrative, trauma-informed somatic psychotherapy approach can help you, then hit the button below.