Trauma is a thief. It steals your sense of safety and peace of mind, all the while feeding your uncertainty and concern over things in your life, both big and small. The thing about trauma is—like your worry—it also comes in different shapes and sizes, which is why what you might be casually passing off as your predictable day-to-day feelings may run a little deeper.
Trauma might have come to you through a major life event, like an accident or loss. It may be the result of a hard relationship, or some significant transition. It could also be the result of a small series of relentless emotional slights, like a toxic work environment, constant “one-downing” by a significant person in your life, or just the unyielding feeling you can just never catch a break. Wherever you’re coming from, the unexpected emotions you experience in response to trauma are often a marker for something deeper, suggesting you’re harboring a distressing memory that’s impacting you negatively.
When you experience trauma—whether it’s a deep gash from a kitchen knife, the loss of a loved one or a boss who never cuts you any slack—you slip into survival mode. Basically, that means you have an instantaneous, or ongoing, physical and emotional reaction to our experience. Kitchen knives become ‘dangerous’, you harbor a cloying fear those around you might meet some misadventure and going to work becomes an existential burden, rather than a daily routine. In short, your reaction to trauma builds a memory of trauma, and it’s something you hold onto.
Memory is anxiety’s house. When you’re holding onto trauma, your anxiety can become triggered in even the most subtle ways. Slipping into survival mode now means finding ways to protect protecting yourself, which may result in avoiding what’s happening, being overwhelmed with anxiety, becoming paralyzed with overwhelm, or simply collapsing under the emotional weight of your experience and giving up your personal power. That’s your survival response kicking in: flight-fright-freeze-fawn.
It doesn’t have to be this way for you. One of the things trauma steals, along with your sense of safety and peace of mind, is your sense of power and control. Here’s the deal: you decide. Your life is your own, and it doesn’t have to be subject to the tyranny of your memory, your trauma or your anxiety. Exploring your trauma, giving your thoughts and feelings a voice of their own and recognizing this demon is both a part of you and your experience—but also something apart from you—allows you to connect more deeply with yourself, finding peace within you, while restoring joy and self-value.
Our primary approach is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is an evidence-based therapy shown to be successful in helping those who struggle with trauma, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
At the Kaizen Center for Mental Health, our experienced counselors can support you in your journey, helping you work through your trauma and reveal a new path toward peace, joy and deeper fulfillment. If you feel you’ve reached your tipping point, and are ready for real change, contact us to explore how we can be of service to you in your travels, or simply request an appointment.