Trauma- Your Personalized Antagonist

Trauma is your ultra personalized antagonist, it is the antagonist in every human life.

In literally every dark corner of every single human mind… you can find some form of trauma. It might be “no big deal” but it is there chipping away at your self worth.

Trauma is the aftermath of an event, a circumstance that is out of your control and/or is in the past, and therefore no longer in your control. Something that pulls you out of the present moment and into the past with depression, or into the future unknown with anxiety or worry is trauma. It can even just be the thoughts that you think about yourself that hold your trauma. They are also beginning to include emotional conditioning as a form of trauma, seemingly small repeated things that eventually alter the perception of your own self-worth, that’s trauma.

Trauma is the antagonist that you inherit; always there to help you undermine yourself. Always there to tell you that you are not worthy of this or that. Perhaps that you are not capable of achieving more because of something related back to that trauma that has limited your beliefs. Trauma has the ability to help you dissolve any self-worth or motivation in an instant. Then to make it even more difficult to navigate, if you have more than one kind of trauma, or multiple incidences of trauma in your life there is the probability that the complexity of your trauma is greater and more challenging to heal from- because it is all tangled up and has the ability to create not only Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but then on top of that there is the Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, like I have.

It is no surprise that I came from an extremely adverse childhood- if you know my childhood story, or even only the pieces of it that were not on the hush-hush, you know that I was no stranger to trauma. I was engulfed in it; and all of the forced vulnerability and shame that it came with.

I have always been interested in psychology and human interactions. I have inadvertently been studying this for years as the common thread of my life has been growth from my traumatic past. It wasn’t really until I put trauma at the forefront as being one of the key factors that I needed to address that I finally began to put it all together for myself.

I have a vast knowledge of trauma from studying it in depth over the past decade or so as I worked with traumatized and disabled individuals; then later worked with Canadian Mental Health Association where I learned even more about trauma, addictions, and mental health that coincides with both; including trauma healing.

It was here that I was introduced to the concept of the housing first model. This “unpopular” model puts the needs of the human before the needs of public opinion. The housing first model puts psychology and proper mental health care at the forefront of healing, meaning this model houses people who are struggling with substance abuse. Housing first, addictions treatment when they are ready and stable enough to start the process of healing. It focuses on learning self-care if that only means harm reduction for them for that day- that can be enough.

What the program does in many many ways, and what it highlighted for me is this; this is what whole human care looks like. The kind of compassion and understanding that can make a real impact. The Executive Director that I had the pleasure of working for showed me a kind of compassion and empathy that I did not know existed in the world until I experienced her presence.

One day my Executive Director was over an hour and a half late, I knew that she had planned to have a breakfast meeting that day, and assumed that it had just run longer- but it was nearing her next appointment so I was getting a little anxious on her behalf, and was just about to call her cell to check on her. Then with moments to spare, she walks into the office alongside a man who was clearly having a rough day, soiled clothes not showered, and had experienced some powerful emotions with red eyes as proof.

She is a fancy lady. The two walking side by side would be a juxtaposition for most people… unless you knew her. If she wasn’t in her office, or in a meeting she could be found over at the housing first facility sitting in the living room with the tenants gathered around telling their stories, enjoying a famously bad not-for-profit coffee with the powder cream “huffin dust” junk.

She came in and announced unapologetically that the other person, in the waiting room in a suit, could wait a minute because this gentleman was her priority at this very moment. Then she ushered him in with a case manager within minutes to get him set up with the network of services available to him. She undoubtedly helped to heal at least a small part of his trauma just by making him “worthy” of her valuable time.

This Executive Director showed me what it means to see the value of every single human, and that everyone just truly wants to be accepted where they are at today, and to be able to walk beside someone and see them is one of the greatest gifts you can give. She showed me that day and every single day, that real empathy places the same intrinsic value on all humans.

What her experience showed me is that if you take the time to understand more, and have an approach that is compassionate and empathetic towards trauma- you have the greatest gift to give anyone.

All we need when we are fighting for life is to be seen, and to be acknowledged with empathy in lieu of sympathy.

The impact of unanswered emotions and trauma is devastating to the human life. No one asks to be traumatized, but we all are in some way- it is how humans work.

The perpetuation of trauma in your life will always come from a lack of acknowledging it in a healthy way, trust me… I’ve been living in trauma, and climbing out of it.

We tend to bury it, eat it, hide it, laugh at it, use addictions to cope with it. We will try anything and everything it seems before we simply acknowledge that it is there, and that it needs a little attention.

And I know why!

It is the shame that comes with trauma that encourages us to hide it and use avoidance strategies that produce negative returns for us. Trauma is it’s own cycle within us that we also have to keep balanced in our minds. In order to break the cycle, any cycle the first step is awareness or acknowledgement or education about the process of breaking said cycle.

Knowledge really is the most powerful thing when it comes to trauma, and the aftermath of it all. Knowing that healing from trauma has some general processing steps will bring awareness to some of the things that happen during the healing process. During the deep healing processes there is a little bit of chaos to be aware of, know the warning signs for early identification for yourself. Just like anything if you have a sense of the kinds of things to expect, they seem less like curve balls.

Healing from trauma requires you to grow through it.

There is no pill to heal trauma.

There is no single remedy.

In a couple of months it has been two years on this healing journey right through the depths of all of my trauma.

Some of it had been lying dormant for decades, and was very much about me learning to feel safe, after never in my life feeling safe and worthy.

I found that I had packed up all of my trauma in a hypothetical old junk trunk stacked up and compartmentalized for what I thought was the way to live an optimal life. I never thought to unpack any of the trauma. I had acknowledged it was there, and decided that the life I had built was enough to satisfy the healing of my trauma. People who met me in my life prior to being disabled were always visibly shocked to learn about my past. I appeared to be a “little stretched” with motherhood and a career etc, but very “normal”- even envied I came to learn later!

When in reality, I packed that trunk around my life- and eventually the trauma couldn’t be contained anymore. When I tried to fit being physically disabled by pain, and emotionally hitting rock bottom after losing my job- that hypothetical trunk exploded all over my seemingly“near perfect” life.

I have lived with it. It has nearly killed me, and I have reclaimed my life from it piece by piece. I have put in the time and energy into learning about the complexity of my traumas and how to heal them.

I have been doing so much research on trauma; and I am ultra passionate about it. The research that is emerging about trauma and mental health being linked to physical health is something that I frequently nerd out with.

If you battle with trauma of any kind- please find some guidance from someplace that feels safe and healthy. Even starting with educating yourself about what trauma can do, until you are ready to start healing is an amazing first step.

The condition that I have is Centralized Sensitization Syndrome. It comes from trauma being trapped in your body ( in super non medical terms). Trauma is energy (negative energy!!) that travels through neurological pathways and synapses it has a different frequency, and creates different outcomes biologically than a non-traumatic energy. (Where physics and biology collide). What happens with my condition is that there is a negative impact up cycle that isn’t needed, or a larger response than is needed, because of the way my brain perceives everything. This creates chaos in my body’s functioning because it is processing extra hormones and damaging my organs from over use to detoxify what my body is producing for itself.

My job is to heal myself; including the trauma. Trauma is my ultra personalized antagonist, and battling it has been one of my life’s greatest stories. Becoming trauma-informed was another amazing gift that I gave myself to heal.

-B.

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