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We All Have Trauma: How It Destroys Your Brain.


How your brain reacts on trauma

Just because your parents weren't narcissists, or you've never almost died in a car accident, or you weren't molested as a child doesn't mean you don't have trauma. There are many levels and degrees of trauma. And we all have it in one way or another. I think that denying you have any trauma can be destructive in your life because you're not looking for the ways that it's changing your behavior and controlling you. Trauma of any kind wreaks havoc on the brain chemistry and could affect things like how you relate to people, how you connect with lovers, how you accel in your career, and how you parent your kids. Ignored or unresolved trauma can manifest as physical, emotional, or spiritual pains or blocks that don't let you live your life to the fullest! Let's see what trauma does to you.


Trauma refers to the emotional, psychological, and physiological response to an event or series of events that are deeply distressing or disturbing. Note how the trauma is the RESPONSE to the event, not the actual event. Some people will break a leg and not have a traumatic response to the event, while some people will struggle in their response for years. Neither is right or wrong, this is just how the brain is designed to work.


Since trauma is the response to the event, it can stem from nearly any event that your brain responds to in a traumatic way. Sure rape, and molestation, and domestic violence will cause a traumatic response. But that doesn't mean smaller events aren't traumatic. If your older brother stole your toys as a child, and your brain reacted with a trauma response after so many times, then this can cause trauma that needs to be resolved through the body. However, if your older brother stole your toys every once in a while, and there was no trauma response, then this is just learning to cope with difficulties. The difference between trauma and learning to deal with tough things is the response the brain takes. And no matter how seemingly insignificant the original trauma might seem to you now, it's still just as important to resolve it and create a healthy nervous system again.


So, what are the different kinds of trauma we mostly see? There's physical trauma, like a car accident, or falling off a ladder that can be really stressful. It can be traumatic to deal with long recovery times, surgeries, or overwhelming physical therapy. And it can also be traumatic to deal with the event that caused it. Getting in a car again after a near fatal accident could prove to be very difficult and lead to stress responses, panic attacks, and new fears.


There's also emotional or psychological trauma. This is trauma that stems from events that severely impact mental and emotional well-being like abandonment, neglect, breakups, or the sudden death of someone close to you. Nothing physically hurt you, but you were emotionally hurt. This kind of trauma is very common and the easiest to hide. There are no bruises for people to ask about, no evidence.


However, there is also trauma that is both physical and emotional like a violent parent. They physically hurt you, and there's also the emotional damage of finding out your parent isn't safe and doesn't always have your back. Furthermore, complex trauma describes an exposure to multiple traumatic events. They can be related or unrelated, like a violent parent committing many acts of violence over years or having a neglectful parent and also having a close friend die and also getting broken up with. The trauma multiplies with each new traumatic event.


There's also a difference between chronic and acute trauma. Acute trauma is trauma arising from a single event like a natural disaster, or a school shooting. Just because it's a single event doesn't make it less important. Many people struggle for years with acute trauma from a single event. Chronic trauma is repeated or prolonged exposure to traumatic events like domestic abuse or living in a war zone. It compounds over time as you're forced to continue to live with this stress.


So, what does trauma actually do to the brain? Trauma can lead to memory issues and emotional problems because it impacts the size and function of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is in charge of regulating the emotions and forming memories. Many people in trauma start to forget things, lose control of their emotional response, or have trouble learning new things.


The amygdala is also affected by trauma. The amygdala is in charge of processing emotions and detecting threats. Without a healthy amygdala anxiety and fear can take a front seat in your life. Also, strangely, the opposite can occur with complex trauma where the amygdala thinks everything is a threat, so you aren't good at picking out real threats from fake threats and you put yourself in more danger. This was one interesting finding of a study done to determine why rape victims are often raped again. Because they don't pick up the differentiated threat levels since everything seems like a big threat. Your neighbor walking his dog down the street clocks at the same threat as a stranger following you down an alleyway. When it becomes impossible to differentiate because the amygdala is not healthy, then you'll accidentally put yourself in threatening situations and potentially cause more harm.


Trauma also affects the prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. Difficulties in planning, concentration, and controlling emotional reactions are often seen in trauma survivors. This all proves that trauma literally rewires the brain. A healthy functioning brain that goes through trauma can turn into a mess quicker than you might think. Emotional regulation becomes very difficult, anxiety and panic can set in, and your brain can stop being a reliable source of information. You start to distrust yourself and those around you. It can also lead to higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders.


Some traumas can resolve on its own through mindfulness, meditation, movement, and more. And some trauma can turn into PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, where the survivor has trouble with intrusive memories of the trauma, avoidance of things that remind them of the trauma, destructive thoughts, and troubled emotional reactions. PTSD is often seen with the most horrific events. And I just want to mention here that the term PTSD is often very overused. People joke about PTSD and throw it around like it's not a big deal. But true PTSD is very difficult to deal with, not funny, and destructive. More people than you think have it, so it's an inappropriate joke to make since you have no idea what people have been through.


I was actually diagnosed with PTSD when I went to talk therapy for the trauma I went through in childhood. Talk therapy is probably the number one recommended thing to do if you think you might have trauma. And I do actually recommend it if you've never dealt with your trauma before. Talk therapy can help you understand and organize the traumatic events, help make connections to your changed behavior stemming from the trauma, and help you start to learn to regulate your emotional reactions. Talk therapy helps you survive after the trauma. But it does little to help you fully thrive after it!


That's where somatic work comes in! For heavier traumas and PTSD it really helps to start with talk therapy, and for lighter traumas you might be able to hop right into somatic work! Somatic work starts in the body, not the logical mind. The logical mind after trauma is often jumbled and disorganized, but the body doesn't lie. In somatic work, you can move the heaviness of the experience through the body instead of keeping it getting stuck there. You can speak directly to the traumatized pieces of you and give them what they need. You can feel and speak with the fear and anxiety that comes up. You can discover the unconscious destructive reactions you are having and start to change them. You can find liberation through the traumas and rediscover your authentic self.


Thriving is something that survivors of trauma often think is impossible. But thriving and bliss are your birthright. Don't settle for less just because you can't see the path there. Somatic work is revolutionary! And I'm trained in an amazingly transformative methodology to help you thrive. I studied for over 600 hours in a year to bring you this kind of incredible healing. And I use a combination of ancient Tantric practices (like breath, movement, sound, and energy) with cutting edge somatic healing to bring you whole-life liberation through your sexuality. So, if you want to start your era of thriving then check out my coaching packages today at www.lonateachesbliss.com/coaching


INSPIRED ACTION: Still don't think you've had any trauma? You can use reverse math to find out. Do you get any unexplainable emotional reactions to things? Do you find relationships difficult? Do you have memory issues or trouble learning? Are you just surviving life, or are you thriving? These could all be signs of trauma. Journal about what that could mean and seek help if you want to learn to thrive!



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