Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - 10 Helpful Tips About Trauma: Since Child-Loss Grief is All about Trauma!

Thursday's Therapy

10 Helpful Tips About Trauma:

Since Child-Loss Grief is All about Trauma!

For any trauma survivor, past, present, or future, the ultimate challenge always is to persevere emotionally in the face of horrendous experience no matter how or when it occurs...

I now know intimately that grief and loss resulting from traumatic events stab the soul like a dagger. It leaves the self initially stunned... Then, like a flood, the magnitude of the event's essence rushes in, shocking the physical self and the mind. Emotional waves swell and assail the psyche, leaving the body feeling like a battered shell that has lost part of itself, its spirit. The human spirit often fights hard against such attacks and then ebbs against a tide of rising despair, emotional peaks and lows often typifying its pattern.

~Linda Daniels, Healing Journeys


Ten Helpful Tips About Trauma:

  • Our bodies don't lie. Trauma leaves "footprints" on the body as well as in every other part of our lives.
  • A high level of trauma leaves people feeling overly sensitive to just about everything. We will be particularly sensitive to anything that reminds us of the trauma {I would add, or that might complicate our child-loss grief and trauma further}. These reminders are called triggers, and when we are triggered, we will often revert to feelings and behaviors that were present in earlier traumatizing situations.
  • When things are too much for us to stay present, we find a way to leave, even if only psychologically. Dissociation is a pattern of splitting off some part of yourself when you are uncomfortable. It is a response to a consciously or unconsciously felt threat. When you are dissociated, you will generally feel spacey, find it hard to think or feel, and feel disconnected from your body.
  • Another defense is simply to numb yourself so that you don't feel. If you're (numbing yourself from the traumatic reality), you don't need to "leave."
  • Often there are cognitive losses that accompany trauma, and you may sometimes wonder what's wrong with your brain.
  • Memories of traumatic events are often like shards that have shattered everywhere. Our memories come in bits and pieces, usually in ways that are far too intense.It is not normal memory that is operating when you are recalling trauma.
  • Very rarely could we have done something to prevent our trauma. Yet the helplessness of the situation is hard to bear, so we often blame ourselves and feel guilt rather than feel at the mercy of forces we can't control.
  • We contract in trauma to become a smaller target, and tragically, we often stay contracted, in very small lives, in an unconscious attempt to stay safe.
  • Often we feel vulnerable and unprotected because our energetic boundaries* are in some way still broken.
  • Trauma rocks your world. It can be hard to imagine how others go along so blithely, creating their futures, as if one could control that. Those who have experienced a lot of trauma don't have this basic confidence in things working out. This makes it much harder to rest in the world.

*(energetic boundaries) - When we're healthy, there is an energetic boundary that surrounds the body and helps us feel safe. When the boundary is ruptured (as by traumatic violation), we feel unprotected and vulnerable.

With ruptured boundaries, we often feel overstimulated by our environment and become drained quickly. There may also be a feeling of being totally exposed, as if you have no skin.

Trauma victims tend to feel like outsiders... (T)hey may sense that there are obvious differences in the quality of their daily life years after the trauma. Where life seems to hold out plums to others, it gives the pits to victims of trauma. Our trust and sense of safety has often been stolen, relationships become more complicated, and we struggle with simple things that others take for granted (like a good night's sleep....)

We aren't part of the "American dream" (however mythical it may be).

When you feel that you aren't like everyone else or feel (damaged) by what has happened to you, it's hard to be optimistic about the future. In fact, for many survivors, it's nearly impossible to imagine the future at all.

Many of us are caught in a state where we're still just trying to survive... and can't think much beyond that. Time for us is frozen and the future feels hazy at best.

~Jasmin Lee Cori, Healing from Trauma, (highlights, mine)

~Linda Daniels, PsyD., Healing Journeys: How Trauma Survivors Learn to Live Again, page 5.

~Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC, Healing from Trauma: A Survivor's Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life, pages 48-50.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is truth, and it's comforting, thank you for sharing this

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