What is Trauma?
Trauma is an intense and severe form of stress where your body responds to an event that is a perceived or actual threat of safety, injury or death. Trauma response can be Acute, Delayed or Chronic.
Just like other stress, trauma is a response. Trauma is a physical body phenomenon and not only the complicated mental recall and emotional after effects of something that happened. For example: a car accident is a trauma inducing event. The body initiates a trauma cycle in response to the accident. Trauma is not an event that happens to a person, it is the response to an event.
One of the reasons trauma is so difficult to resolve is because the physical nature of trauma release is not addressed. Psychological therapies without the use of physical body or “somatic” release therapies often leaves a person with unresolved trauma issues. It is important for a person who experiences trauma to have both therapies for the body and the mind in order to return to an optimal flow state.
How do you know if you may be trapped in a trauma loop?
Energy Discharge/Recovery- If the body gets to safety with fight or flight, it will move into the final stage and begin to release the built up energy (and hormones) of the trauma cycle and move into recovery. The body will attempt to discharge the energy that was built up during the initial portions of the trauma cycle and then relax. The energy discharge can present as tremors, shaking, crying, laughing, twitching, muscle spasms, coughing, sweating, sighs, elimination, yelling, mumbling, incoherent verbal chatter and so on. We, as human, tend to resist and shut off this phase of the trauma cycle because it has been associated with looking weak, silly or crazy. It can also be a pretty frightening experience to have involuntary things happen to your body so you fight to control it. This is where most trauma cycles do not get to finish. People block themselves from completing the physical recovery by forcing the energy discharge process to stop. People go to therapy for years without ever knowing that they keep recalling the memories of traumatic events without closing the trauma cycle completely or fighting to “be strong”or “mind over matter. You can not mind over matter your body.
Trauma is the human response to a threat. It is a specific and highly specialized form of stress that protects you. It is a response, not a disease or a condition. It is a physical phenomenon that can become a habitual state and even evolve into a characteristic when prolonged. (Anxiety anyone?) It is often misunderstood to be a psychological disorder which can lead it to being mismanaged.
Both psychological and somatic therapies can help a person to remedy unresolved trauma cycles. Trauma follows a continuum from threat perception, to adrenaline dump, to fight or flight response, to discharge to return to normalcy. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from trauma which we will write more about soon.
Addressing the trauma from a physical standpoint is incredibly important. Knowing when to initiate intervention or outsource for guidance is critical.
Are You Trapped In A Trauma Cycle?
What are you going to do about it?