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  • Writer's pictureShama Zeynep Anaydin

Understanding Trauma and How to Free Ourselves from Its Effects

Updated: Jun 12

Trauma is a word that carries significant weight, yet it is often misunderstood. Many believe trauma is solely the result of catastrophic events, but its scope is broader and more nuanced. Trauma can affect anyone, regardless of age, background, or current circumstances. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the nature of trauma, explore its types, and discuss effective ways to heal and regain a sense of control over our lives. Trauma is not contained within the event itself; rather, it is housed in our body and nervous system.

During traumatic events, we can experience feelings of helplessness, profound shock, and overwhelming fear. The aftermath of trauma can leave us in a deep state of isolation, often accompanied by thoughts like, "There is something wrong with me" or "I am different; I am not part of society." Trauma disconnects us from the present moment and distorts our reality as the body attempts to complete unresolved responses to the event.

Understanding the different types of trauma is essential for choosing the right treatment approach. Trauma can be categorized into three main types: developmental trauma, shock trauma, and complex trauma.- Developmental trauma is a result of prolonged exposure to adverse experiences, often stemming from one's early life. Examples include consistent punishment, neglect, or having one's emotional needs unmet. This type of trauma builds up over time, drip by drip, and impacts our ability to regulate emotions and behaviours.

Shock trauma occurs from sudden, overwhelming events, such as car accidents, falls, surgeries, or unescapable attacks. These incidents catch us unprepared, overwhelming our nervous system's capacity to cope and respond. Complex trauma layers both shock and developmental trauma, leading to deeper and more complicated effects on our system. It requires a nuanced approach to treatment, combining strategies for both developmental and shock trauma.

The effects of trauma are far-reaching, influencing various aspects of our physical and mental health. Symptoms can manifest as depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, sleep disorders, digestive issues, or chronic pain. Our body constantly communicates with us, signalling where we need to focus our healing efforts. Learning to listen to these signals is crucial. The good news is that we are not defined by our trauma; our brains are neuroplastic, meaning they have the ability to relearn and change. Healing from trauma involves finding the right modality and educating ourselves about trauma and the nervous system. Here are some effective trauma healing modalities:

Somatic experience focuses on resolving trauma stored in the nervous system by completing incomplete survival responses. This method helps the nervous system return to its natural, balanced state. Brainspotting is a therapeutic approach that accesses the brain's deeper regions through specific eye positions. It allows for the processing and release of trauma, enhancing emotional and physical well-being. being  Developmental psychology integrates body psychotherapy and developmental psychology to address early developmental trauma. It focuses on repairing and correcting behavioural and emotional patterns formed during childhood and is a set of exercises designed to release deep muscular patterns of stress and tension. It helps to activate the body's natural tremoring mechanism to facilitate the release of stored trauma.

The Power of Education and Self-Awareness

Educating ourselves about trauma and the nervous system is a powerful tool for healing. Understanding how trauma affects us and learning about various treatment modalities empowers us to choose the right path to recovery. Here are some recommended books to further your knowledge:

  • It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn

  • Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro, PhD

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, by Peter A. Levine

Trauma is a profound experience that can have lasting impacts on our lives. However, with the right knowledge and support, we can navigate the journey of healing and reclaim our sense of self. Remember, you are not alone. Reach out to get the support you need and explore the various modalities that can aid in your recovery. By understanding trauma and its effects, we can take meaningful steps toward healing and growth.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Educate yourself, explore different healing modalities, and take the first step towards a healthier, more fulfilling life. You are not alone, and there is always hope for betterment and change. Stay with love and light! Shama

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