Day 21 – April 14, 2013
When I got quiet this morning, I felt guided to write something about what happens when we encounter something as adversity (or traumatic) and how to come back from it.
There’s a lot to do to recover from trauma, lots of modalities, lots of techniques, and all are valid. But what I’m guided to write about here is the underlying truth of recovery from something that we consider traumatic, or our system considers traumatic.
Trauma is defined as an experience that is overwhelming and shocking to the systems that are running: to the mind, to the body, to the emotions, to the spirit. All of these are constantly running to keep us balanced, and a trauma is something that throws us off balance.
The key to recovery from trauma is to re-find balance and recover the splintered parts of self that inevitably shatter apart when we receive the blow of the trauma. The brain is deeply imapcted by trauma (any and all kinds); trauma is disintegrative and disconnective to the brain. “If the primary purpose of the brain is to integrate sensory data, then trauma is a disintegrative experience:
- Trauma reduces the capacity of the brain to achieve complex adaptive self-regulatory states
- Trauma changes the architecture of the brain
- Trauma changes the connectivity between brain structures”
(Australian Childhood Foundation, 2011, NeuroBiology of Trauma and Attachment)
The re-integration of the brain and the recovery of those parts of the psyche is essential to wholeness and happiness. Everyone deserves the opportunity to recover from trauma, of any kind.
We all have traumas, and what our systems consider a trauma depends on the sensitivity of our systems. Therefore, trauma is unique to the individual….what I might experience as a trauma may not be considered a trauma by others. And there are big traumas and little traumas. Big ones are the ones we all know, like accidents, deaths, acts of violence, witnessing crime, etc. Little traumas might be when someone says something mean to us, or we feel betrayed or hurt by a friend or partner. The point is, all of these traumas are impacts to our systems and need to be addressed to find balance again.
Read my popular post, “The 5 Stages of Healing from Trauma”.
So what do we do? How do we begin?
We first must acknowledge that there has been a trauma; we are taught to “suck it up” in our culture when something happens to us, whether little or big, but acknowledgment of trauma means we must allow the fact that we are vulnerable to these things. We are not made of stone, but soft, organic living creatures that feel and cry and absorb the impact of what life hands us. We must treat ourselves with tender and loving care, like the most nurturing mother we could ever wish for. We must love ourselves enough to be fragile and helpless while we also are strong enough to ask for healing for the parts that have been harmed by the trauma. We must be the wise parent at the same time as we are the scared inner child. We must call on our largest eternal Self to hold and guide the small, temporary human being that needs help and healing.
The techniques to heal vary by individual, but the bottom line is that we come to own our little self as a sweet and tender thing to take care of, and our immense, eternal Being as the wise and loving Truth of who we are.
P.S. It is interesting that I have been writing about our resilience and recovery from trauma, trained in trauma recovery and brain integration techniques, spent the last 25 years in my own recovery and healing into wholeness, and that my son Jess is now recovering from a traumatic brain injury. I see that my work with the brain, trauma (of all kinds), the effects of trauma on the brain as a disintegrative, disconnective force, and the choice to recover to an integrated, connected brain and Post Traumatic Growth are the core of my work in the world. I am grateful for having been led to the very things that would assist my son in his firm determination to recover from his brain trauma.
We are so very supported in this journey…and I thank you for reading.
See Jess’s story Day 1 HERE