Empty eyes, gazing away- lost and marous. The look when trauma enters the room. It’s like a flickering light, deciding on whether or not it’s going to stay on or off. And once it’s on or off, there is no turning back. It’s like a 50 foot wave has crashed upon the person sitting across from me. And yet, they ebb and flow into between dissociation and reality. The knowing and feeling. The being and denying. The subtle ripples that have for too long been in control behind the scenes. The hyper awareness. The exhaustion. The not understanding why they react they way they do, that feels overly controlled or out of control. Like a dog backed into a corner, snapping at anything that comes it’s way. The slow translucent tears that start to trickle or the eyes that refuse to meet mine.
When I first graduated grad school, I was terrified of working with “trauma.” I felt unprepared and ill equipped. I thought trauma was some big scary monster that consumed its victims.
Trauma is everywhere. It isn’t some speciality for therapists to specialize in. It is something that each therapist needs to understand and know how to work with. It is a norm that we fail to acknowledge. It is something that we treat as out there. When in my experience, most people have experienced some form of trauma.
Trauma does not have to refer to an event. It can be something that profoundly impacts the person, affects the person and their life. Even threatens their way of being. It is something scary, that rocks the person's world, that leaves them changed. Scarred emotionally and at sometimes physically. Trauma is anything that affects the daily functioning of an individual; emotionally, mentally, physically and or spiritually. And it isn't always blatant. Like we think of PTSD, flashbacks, nightmares, reacting to things differently than someone else (however, we all react differently based on our experiences and perceptions). Trauma can in an undercurrent, affecting how we perceive and respond to situations. We might react with fear (flight, fight, freeze, feast or fuck). It can be subconscious reactions based on perceived threats. Trauma informs how we respond. Whether we know it or not. This is my working definition of trauma is based on professional and personal experience.
Trauma forces us to react. To be hyper alert. To be looking for unsafe conditions to arise out of safe conditions. As if there is a monster waiting around every corner. As if something bad, is going to happen. For others, they become numb, like a zombie wandering through life.
Trauma can be because someone was raised in an abusive household. Trauma can happen by being raised by a mentally ill parent. Trauma can also happen from accidents, abusive relationships, war and so on. Remember, trauma is something that causes a profound impact on the life of the person.
We are a society of traumatized people trying to hide our wounds in fear that the pack will turn on us. Feast on us and leave us to bleed out. We pretend, puff our chests and display our colors in hopes of scaring others off.
Our trauma experiences determines how we interact with the world, in our relationships and ourselves. Trauma can become the inner voice we use to talk to ourselves.
Trauma affects our whole system. It muddies up our energy field, clouds our chakras and buries our souls.
And yet, beautiful lessons come out of trauma. Deep unconditional love and acceptance for the world that hurt the victim. I have seen people rise from the ashes of victimhood to become survivors. Trauma doesn’t have to be a cloud that hinders a person. It can be the story of survival and empowerment. The feelings can become catalyst for creating deeper understanding and love for others.
If you are suffering from trauma or PTSD, please reach out and find our support team. I personally believe that healing happens on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.