Creating Connection therapists are trained in restoring a sense of restoration which might be experienced as ‘settled, coherence or equilibrium’ when trauma has occurred.
What is Trauma?
It is the experience of symptoms which can occur after a perceived life-threatening or overwhelming experience. It is the inability to complete the process, to restore the nervous system, to settle, which leaves us with the feeling of being traumatized. This might be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Trauma is personal and experienced differently from person to person. Over time, a series of seemingly minor mishaps accumulate and can be as damaging as a single major catastrophe.
Trauma is experienced as the result of anything that threatens our physical / emotional / social / financial / spiritual survival.
SYMPTOMS OF TRAUMA
Feeling Stuck in OFF -
Where feelings of Helplessness, Immobility, and Freezing are felt. It is the sense of being stuck or immobilized.
Feeling Stuck in ON or Hyperarousal -
This is the nervous system’s accelerator; a sense of overwhelming or inability to slow down and to know one’s own mind.
These symptoms are real; a sign that the autonomic nervous system is stuck and unable to return to ease and flow.
Symptoms which may be experienced:
- Hyperarousal Increase in heart rate
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Hot and cold sweats
- Muscular tension
- Repetitious thoughts, a racing mind and worry
Symptoms can also include:
- Exaggerated emotional/startled responses
- Mood swings / temper tantrums / frequent crying
- Difficulty sleeping / nightmares / night terrors
- Shame and lack of self-worth
- Feeling stressed out / inability to deal with stress
Medium Term Symptoms:
- Panic attacks/ anxiety/phobias/ Perfectionism
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder/ Mental blankness / Spaced out feelings
- Avoidance behavior (places, people, activities, movements, memories, feelings)
- Chronic shallow chest breathing
- Cold, sweaty hands
- Attraction to dangerous situations
- Addictive behaviors/ Exaggerated / diminished sexual activity
- Amnesia, Forgetfulness, Concentration problems, Procrastination
- Inability to hug, laugh, love, enjoy life, be spontaneous
- Fear of dying / disease / poverty
- Self-harm / Loss of sustaining beliefs
Long Term Symptoms:
- Excessive shyness, Low self-worth
- Diminished / exaggerated emotion
- Indecisiveness, Inability to plan for the future/make commitments
- Chronic fatigue, Low energy, Depression
- Immune system / endocrine / thyroid / allergy problems
- Headaches, Migraines, Neck/back pain, Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia
- Asthma, Skin / Digestive / Pre-menstrual problems
- Emotional baggage may manifest literally as overweight, or underweight
- Feelings of impending doom, Feeling detached / alienated / isolated
- Feeling empty inside / 'Living dead syndrome'
Symptoms can be stable, or come and go, and be triggered by stress or an upsetting event.
They can remain hidden for decades and suddenly surface. They may come in groups.
Symptoms may grow increasingly complex over time, becoming less and less obviously connected with the original trauma experience which may be forgotten, as many occur when we are young and unable to remember.
The effects of trauma which include anxiety and depression can be 'life robbing', have an effect on cognitive function, affect learning and impact on general day to day function and overall confidence.
Obvious Causes of Trauma:
- Natural disasters, Death of loved one
- Childhood trauma emotional, physical, or sexual abuse including rape
- Neglect, Betrayal, or Abandonment
- Parent’s divorce
- Experiencing or witnessing violence
- Armed robbery, Injuries, accidents and illness immobilization
- Casting and Splinting among other medical procedures
- Pre-natal stress / rejection
- Birth stress, for both mother and infant
- Illness or death of a parent / sibling / grandparent
Less Obvious Causes of Trauma:
These types of events can be passed off as seemingly insignificant or unimportant:
Trauma is also often about something that didn’t actually happen, but which is feared:
- A child who expects to be punished, or that a parent is going to leave/die
- A mother who thinks her child could die or is at risk
- A woman who thinks she could be hit/abused, or that her husband is going to leave