Recovering from trauma can be long and labourious. When trauma is not resolved, the body keeps score. The stress hormones that were released during the event to protect you keep circulating. The result is that you keep on replaying the same emotional responses of fear, panic, anger, anxiety over and over even when there is no need for fear.
This one traumatic event can be so bad that its imprint on the brain dictates your life from that moment on. We try to protect ourselves. We are always on the lookout for danger so the body does not get a chance to relax as the cortisol released during the event keeps on seeking to defend you. Our reaction to the fear or small stressors may become habitual. Or we begin/ develop a good habit out of our need for self-defense.
Some protection mechanisms are lifting weights or exercising to get stronger. Yet in our minds we are never strong enough… Others of us take drugs – e.g. marijuana, alcohol to numb our senses or to get a high/feel good, but we feel let down and fragile when the sensation wears off.
Or like me, you get involved in dangerous activities to develop a (false) sense of control over your circumstances e.g. motorcycle or drag racing. For me it was parachuting, bungee jumping and working in very dangerous inner city communities.
I was not aware of my motivation at the time. I would tell you that it was fun and thrilling or that it was altruistic. But on reflection, it was about being able to (feel in) control (of) the danger; being able to know the risks after all, what did it matter if I died? I was already feeling dead inside.
This constant fighting danger seems exciting or foolhardy to those looking on. But for those of us going through it, if we are to be honest, it is exhausting. We become mentally fatigued, we sometimes succumb to depression and we are physically tired.
Do you know what we are hiding?
Instead of struggling, fighting, hiding, can we learn to accept that something terrible happened to us?
It Is Alright.
It was not your fault.
Take time to feel.
The pain, the hurt, the shame. Identify the feelings.
Name them. This is the first step in the process of recovery.
Take a baby step today.
Holding you safe…..
Dr. H: The Confidence Builder