Aug 23, 2018
What is trauma?
Emotional trauma comes from stress that is overwhelms a person’s neurological system. Some stress can be good and formative, or it can be bad and get stuck in the brain, causing someone deep emotional pain.
Think of climbing Mount Everest. Some people choose to do that, and it’s easily one of the most stressful situations you can put yourself in on purpose. That’s good stress if you have trained for years and are ready for it. If someone forced you to climb Mount Everest, it would register in the brain as a trauma.
Trauma is too big for the mind, brain, and nervous system to assimilate. It’s a memory, or experience, that gets stuck because the person believed it would result in their death, or at least serious injury.
The brain has several mechanisms to keep something stuck so that the person will remember it, and try to avoid getting hurt in the same way in the future. It is a survival instinct.
People commonly demonstrate symptoms of trauma when they’ve:
Experienced a sexual violation
Experienced violence or abuse
Been neglected—experienced the absence of something that they should have had.
Been in near death experiences like car accidents or war
People who have PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, have experienced a soul-level of brokenness, and even talking about the event, or having a memory of it, can bring it back with the same force that occured in the actual accident. They often have recurring nightmares, or repetitive symptoms that continue long after the event.
Typical PTSD symptoms alternate between chronic shut down and fight and flight
Fight and flight symptoms are:
Sweating, nightmares, flashbacks, anger, rage, panic, hypervigilance, tense muscles, painful knotted gut
Shut down symptoms are:
Dissociation, freezing, emotional detachment, voice trembling, difficulty getting words out, numbness, apathy, fear, helplessness, dizzy, empty, nausea
Moments in connection mode look like:
curiosity, exploration, relaxed and full breathing, feeling grounded, true smiles
To read more about trauma, go to the full blog on this episode here.
Join and discuss this episode with David on Instagram: dr.davidpuder