Trauma isn’t something that happens and is over. It stays in our bodies until we deal with its pain and consequences. First lets look at trauma. So what is trauma? Here is some information we now know about trauma and its effects on our entire body – mind, body, spirit, emotions, etc.

TRAUMA {APA}  IS “…THE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE TO AN EXTREMELY NEGATIVE EVENT WHICH INTERFERES WITH THE ABILITY TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE+ AND MAY CAUSE PHYSICAL CHANGES WHICH EFFECTS OUR ENTIRE FUNCTIONING.

Here are some of the causes of trauma:

ABUSE/NEGLECT                         SURGERY                            JAIL or PRISON

WAR                                                   DEATHS

HUMAN TRAFFICKING                SEVERE ILLNESS/INJURIES

ACCIDENTS                                    NATURAL DISASTERS

VIOLENCE                                        BULLYING

RAPE                                                  WITNESS ACT OF VIOLENCE

POWERLESS                                   HOPELESS

DIVORCE                                          ADOPTION 

 Trauma may be a one time, multiple, or long-lasting repetitive event(s). These events affect everyone differently. Some people may appear to be more resilient than others and not seem to be affected, however trauma always affects us always. “Impact can be subtle, insidious, or outright destructive…factors that affect it are the person, the event, developmental process, resources of the person, family, ability to cope, community at large, meaning of trauma and sociocultural factors. How we cope may not be psychopathological (emotional problems/behaviors) but look like it. It is  just coping. {Trauma informed care (TIC)}

Initial reactions can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, anger, withdrawal, dissociation, physical arousal, self-limited, eating and sleeping problems, etc. We then have to keep adapting and other coping behaviors will be created. Trauma affects all parts of us. Example, childhood trauma is biggest predictor of heart problems.

Our brain works hard to help us cope and keep going. “The human brain is continually sensing, processing, storing, perceiving and acting in response to information from the external and internal environments….especially sensitive to input that may indicate threat.” (Bruce Perry) Our entire being is always working to get to homeostasis/equilibrium or resting calmer place inside of us. Often we will use anything to get there including relationships, eating, substance abuse, and the list goes on.

Physiological Responses of the Brain

When there is trauma, brain is stressed and works to adapt – in anyway it can – functional and dysfunctional. The brain’s job is to sense, process, store, perceive and act on information from external and internal world to keep us alive.” It must work to regulated everything and bring it back to normal or homeostasis. Stress disrupts it.  “Stress is any challenge or condition which forces our regulating physiological and neurophysiologic systems to move outside of their normal dynamic activity. Traumatic events are extreme forms of stress.” B. Perry.

Stress/Trauma can vary on a continuum line from:

UNPREDICTABILITY    TO   PREDICTABILITY

MODERATE/SERVE     TO   MILD/MODERATE

VULNERABILITY          TO   RESILIENT

Homework:

Please, if you or someone you know have experienced trauma look at yourself and your behaviors, what helps you cope? Keep going? Sometimes asking a asking a friend (you trust) for their input helps us understand us better. Make a list and talk about with someone you trust if you can.

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