There is a continuum going from simple distress to post traumatic stress. At a certain time, the internal capacity of the person to cope with the cause of stress can not engage. This turning point differs for all of us and is dependent on our physiology, temperament, personal and family history and also on the presence of a support system. When our body-mind reaches its limits we become contracted and lose contact with our natural internal resources and perspective. Most trauma include some grief work. This is an opportunity to discover and develop our sense of resiliency, flexibility and inner strength; to embrace joy and appreciate life more fully.
TRAUMA AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS –
RISING ABOVE ADVERSITY AND TOOLS TO UNCOVER RESILIENCE
Trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event(s) or stigma. Bad things can happen to everyone. Traumatic events and PTSD can feel devastating. The events triggering are outside the range of usual human experience and cause us to feel out of control.
Some causes: You may have had an accident, been in a war zone, experienced childhood or domestic abuse, been a victim of violence, returned from military service, recovering from injury, been diagnosed with a serious illness, suffer from compassion fatigue or you’ve experienced a terrible event or chronic threatening situations you can’t get over.
Some symptoms among a multitude of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual ones could be :
An adrenaline rush(fight, flight, freeze), intense fear, hypercautiousness, helplessness, terror that grabs you when you rationally know that the situation is somewhat safe, a feeling that you don’t fit in society, that you are alone and cannot trust anyone; avoidance that limits life possibilities; tendencies to find refuge in addictions; thinking in black and white and generalizing, like saying “I don’t trust shopping centers, women, men….”difficulties sleeping, resting, relaxing, digestive problems, immune problems etc…
When your reactions are not working for you anymore! The opportunity to release the weight and behaviors that hold your back presents themselves. Individual and group work are very effective for trauma if the treatment (relationship) is safe, respectful and non-invasive. It feels like walking with you through a difficult terrain where you can also rest and learn to reset yourself at your own pace. You will learn to recognize your habitual reactions to a stressor, chose to target an area of discomfort, see how it is affecting different aspect of your life and then, allow yourself to experience a release. Nowadays, in addition to talking about and understanding the traumas, there exist since a few decades very refined, proven techniques incorporating the wisdom of the body such as EMDR, Flash, Yoga-Nidra, that help realizing breakthroughs. The reason is that our body is carrying all our memories on a subconscious level. What we can process on an intellectual level and emotional level needs to be experienced and released through the body. First and foremost, the mind-body needs to feel safe (safety with therapist, relaxation, imagery techniques, balanced breath) so that the brain, heart and gut can process with safety the traumatic incidents.
Our innate healing power can be contacted, it can restore and guide us to live with confidence in the present and dream of harmonious future.
Relating skillfully to GRIEF and finding a place to accept and release our pain is very important. It will bring a deep sense of peace and connectedness to ourselves, others and spirit. A renewed creativity, reorganization and meaningful loving engagement with life is the natural conclusion of grief.
The losses can be small or vast. Loss of loved ones, of animal companions, home, health, homeland, the loss of our dreams, the loss of our connection with our gifts, ancestors. ….To name just a few.
There are major cultural barriers to grief. The interdiction and suppression of emotions in general, and grief in particular, has recently been linked to the pervasive sense of spiritual drought, emotional confusion and certain illnesses we experience in our life. There is no time for grief in our busy, consumer culture.
There are different manifestations of Grief : Although grief responses generally differ from one person to another, many predictable manifestations of grief exist. These manifestations occur on physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual levels…
There are several phases of the Grieving process:
1 . Multiple natural and confusing feelings are coming and going :
- Avoidance, Shock and Denial
- Anger at Self, at others, at life, at God….
- Sadness, grief, pain, guilt
- Bargaining, with Self, God, Nature…
- Gradually and at our own pace, we need to accept the situation, our feelings, the changes in our lives and the feelings and behaviors of others.
- People have different ways to grieve… it depends also of their culture, gender, temperament and relationship to the departed..
- Previous losses, feelings of abandonment/separation from past experiences may surface and increase the intensity of the feelings experienced.
- Closure (burial. ritual, journal writing, talking to others…)
- Reinvestment in Life…Learning to live with the loss, developing new habits, new identities, new ways of relating..
- Internalizing the gifts and teachings of the relationship
- Choosing Life over Death is not disloyal to the departed; it is honoring the gift of Joy, Love, Creativity that were shared!