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The Work    

& Healing

Help with Healing

Trauma is often represented as solely a mental health affliction. However, we now know that there are very real biological and social causes for trauma wounding.

By reconnecting to our Self and our community, we can go a long way toward healing our wounds and living a life we love.

None of us, alone, can rid our Earth of trauma wounding, but we can all do our part to become more trauma and consent informed!

About Trauma

The Wound

The Basics of Trauma

It's popular in our culture to see 'trauma' as a purely mental or emotional ailment. While experiencing trauma can cause painful feelings, we've learned how deeply rooted trauma is within our biology and social structures.

Through an evolutionary lens, we can see that trauma is incurred in a mammilian body when danger or pain occur. Ape brains (like ours) are wired to connect with the social group to confirm danger and get assistance with pain. If we are responded to in a way that mitigates the pain or fear, we will shake off the experience and move on. If we are not supported, the traumatic event is unresolved and leaves our nervous system in a disrupted state.

The nervous system has a measurable response to trauma, especially if that trauma is repetitive in nature. Parts of our brain responsible for emergency response and memory end up wired together, fundamentally changing the way our nervous system and brain respond to everything we perceive. Once we're wired this way, our bodies are habitually flooded with stress hormones, causing serious long-term health issues.

The ways in which our brain, nervous system, and adrenal system change causes a major disruption in our perceived reality - and this is the part that others around us will be most likely to notice. We often seem erratic, unreasonable, 'overly sensitive', and dysregulated. Because - we are.

 

As traumatized people, our condition is often misunderstood and we don't get the support we need to heal. Walking around the world with these trauma injuries significantly increases the probability that we will unwittingly re-injure ourselves over and over again. 

The most unfortunate part - it doesn't need to be this way. With a little support and education, our communities can work together to change this dynamic.

When a trauma wound forms, we understand that the wounded person had their needs neglected by their original social group. However, when trauma becomes repeated, a deeper and more painful act is required - an abandonment of Self.

With no appropriate social response to our repeated wounding, we are required to shut down our own sense of self-preservation and intuition. In order to maintain some semblance of 'belonging', we learn to pretend there's nothing wrong. We learn to turn away from our Self and toward Others, constantly reaching for the appropriately supportive response we never received.

Having been forced to abandon ourselves, we often live with extreme daily experiences and no internal foundation from which to mitigate the chaos. We have low interoception because our bodies - flooded with constant stress hormones - aren't a safe place to be. We deal with symptoms that make us question our sanity: flashbacks, dissociative states, and sudden mood shifts. All with such a severely impaired sense of Self that it can feel as if we're living in an alternative, hellscape reality.

Amidst all this pain and confusion, it's hard to see the way through or out. But time and time again, I see the same first step - a desire to reconnect with Self. 

Connection with Self is our birthright. As we make the choice to believe ourselves, alchemy takes place within our dysregulated system. Slowly, oh-so-slowly, we come back to our Self. The way is painful and difficult, but the breaths of freedom (no matter how small in the beginning) make the difficult path worth taking.

Inner Healing

Reconnection with Self

Reconnecting with Self

Outer Healing

Reconnection with Others

As mentioned above, a trauma wound is incurred when our brain's attempt to mitigate danger through social connection fails. With repeated wounding, a domino effect is set in motion in our nervous system causing insecure attachment with those around us.

While reconnection with Self is at the center of the healing journey, reconnection with safe, healthy community is also a necessary step. Since most primate species are wired to co-regulate with our social groups, rewiring our nervous system to a natural, balanced state requires appropriate social support.

However, connecting can be difficult and scary. We don't feel worthy - maybe even using a projection of grandure to cover it up. We don't feel lovable - but we might latch on to anyone who will give us attention, hoping someday it'll be enough. We don't feel that we belong - so we might lash out anytime we feel sidelined or taken for granted. And the list of dysregulated symptoms goes on.

All of it being a response to feeling unsafe.

 

That feeling inserts fear and insecurity into the majority of our relationships, especially when the core wounding is caused within the family of origin. This means that we are constantly searching for the love and attention we needed at every place a wound was incurred. From our point of view, it's a very lonely existence filled with constant worry and desperation.

And while personal relationships are painful, the biggest hurtle to this reconnection with our community is the deplorable lack of cultural understanding of trauma - it's causes, effects, and ways to help.  Even most medical, mental health, and clinical settings are woefully under-informed on the physical, social, and physiological effects of trauma and consent dynamics.

One of the sad realities of our society being so under-educated is that we, as traumatized individuals, are most often the ones who have to do the educating. From my personal experience, there's not much out there that's more demoralizing than being a victim while also having to be a counselor, mom, teacher, and 'normal human' for myself and everyone else around me - even professionals I should be able to rely on.

While traumatized people will continue to advocate for ourselves, because it is our only choice, we do dream of a day when the businesses and organizations that run our society put effort into becoming more trauma-informed. Even very simple steps by family members, doctors, and community members to better understand trauma, consent, and mental health would greatly improve the lives of traumatized people.

Note: My trauma healing group works constantly to not only help educate each other but also to create systems and tools to make living in this world a little easier on us. If you're interested in joining, please check out my Community page.

Reconnecting with Others
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