Trauma and dealing with this in the present

What is trauma? 

I wanted to talk a little about trauma and what can happen, as well as the fascination of how the body and mind work to keep us safe, and also providing our human selves with what we need to survive. Sometimes, however, we do not always need to be on high alert and too much cortisol is actually damaging for us in the long-term. 

I wanted to look at, and help people, understand why they may be feeling a certain way with up and down mood swings or an emotion that creeps up with no logical reason at that time. As well as panic attacks or a feeling of flight or fight, which becomes the norm.  

When someone goes through a traumatic event, the after-response may be shame, fear or embarrassment. This can stop us from experiencing the full flight or fight response which naturally gets built up for survival mode. Almost like a bad dream that you cannot get through or released from.  

By feeling this shame, fear or embarrassment, the person may already be starting to bury the true feelings and emotions, and not releasing the build-up of survival chemicals in the body. Unaware of doing this, it can then lead to storing the emotion and memory of the trauma. Therefore in the present, it isn't understood why it would be the cause later on in life. 

Trauma can come in various different forms and is individualised for each person. When someone has experienced this, whether it seems big or small it can develop into different stages of mental health and physical health problems. 

This can develop from what I call 'unfinished business'. When someone is going through a traumatic event, cortisol will rush through the body, producing the automatic survival instinct of flight, fight or freeze. 

During a situation like this, it is outside of our conscious and sometimes the body and mind can freeze which can lead to the memory and emotion of the trauma becoming stuck.

If left untreated for many years after the traumatic event or experience, and by not carrying out the flight or fight response before or after, it can result in these emotions and memories coming out in the present moment.

This can be felt as anxiety, depression and panic attacks. And in some cases, trauma can present itself in the form of physical injury of pain, including neck and back pain, headaches, thyroid dysfunction, joint issues and indigestion problems.

Getting professional help and working together can almost unravel these memories from the mind and help let go of the flashbacks, exploring the body and the amount of energy and emotion it will have stored. This can help to almost accept and complete the 'unfinished business' that may not be in your conscious awareness. 

Bringing awareness back to the trauma can seem daunting and even painful, but by doing this you can start to release and let go, therefore clearing your mind and focusing on a more positive path. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Maya Rosser MBACP DIP

Hi, my name is Maya Rosser,
I am an integrative therapeutic counsellor and psychotherapist. My passion and aim is to help individuals make sense of things that may not seem clear and help guide them to a healthier state of mind and body. Some things I work with is trauma and attachment issues.
I believe awareness = choice to then change.… Read more

Written by Maya Rosser MBACP DIP

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