I’m super proud to share Surviving My Past’s very first Guest Blog Post! This one comes to you via my good friend Joy Richardson. Joy is a survivor, an amazing survivor, who writes for her own blog, Joy’s Voices . A few nights ago while chatting with her, I asked her if she’d be willing to do a guest post for my blog. She was gracious enough to accept and the following are her thoughts on Trauma. Thank you Joy, you are awesome!
Let’s Talk About Trauma – Although we have gone through horrific events, people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have not been irreversibly damaged, and it is possible to diminish or even eliminate our symptoms. PTSD is not a pathology to be managed, suppressed, or adjusted to, but the result of a natural process gone awry.
Trauma can be self-perpetuating. Trauma begets trauma and will continue to do so, eventually crossing generations in families, communities and countries until we take steps to contain its propagation.
When I was nineteen I chose to move to another country in order to get away from an environment that reminded
me of my trauma. Unfortunately, you can’t run away from your past. My broken heart followed me across the Pacific Ocean. It has taken many years and a lot of work to begin to fuse my heart back together.
Let’s talk about two different kinds of trauma: Shock and developmental. Shock trauma occurs when we experience potentially life-threatening events that overwhelm our capacities to respond effectively. You may think of it as ‘dear in the headlights’ or the freezing response.
In contrast, people traumatized by ongoing abuse as children, particularly if the abuse was in the context of their families, may suffer from developmental trauma. Developmental trauma refers primarily to the psychologically based issues that are usually a result of inadequate nurturing and guidance through critical developmental periods during childhood. Although the dynamics that produce them are different, cruelty and neglect can result in symptoms that are similar to and often intertwined with those of shock trauma.
I (and my good friend Lyric) believe that people, in community with family and friends, have a remarkable ability to bring about their own healing. To witness human carnage of any kind, especially on a regular basis, exacts its own toll and is often as traumatic as experiencing the event firsthand.
Body sensation, rather than intense emotion, is one key to healing trauma. Be aware of any emotional reaction swelling up inside you, and be aware of how your body is experiencing these emotions in the form of sensations and thoughts.
Trauma need not be a life sentence. Your organism attempts to heal itself. While trauma can be hell on earth, trauma RESOLVED is a gift from God- a heroic journey that belongs to each of us.
Joy Pauline Richardson-Smith