Up until fairly recently, the problems of people who experienced trauma in childhood – issues such as anxiety, low mood, poor concentration, lack of motivation, feelings of toxic shame and guilt and a patterns of unstable relationships – were assumed to be solely psychological in nature. As a result, these issues were treated with the standard psychological solutions. Generally talk based therapies and/ or medication.
Where clients sometimes did not recover or even got worse, the assumption made by professionals was that clients were being ‘non-compliant’ or unwilling to commit to the work and take responsibility for their own recovery. And of course this was sometimes the case.
However, the idea that trauma sufferers actually, consciously choose to fail has become ‘psychologised’. Some mental health professionals believe and very often clients take that on as their belief too – that somehow they are more comfortable as failures, or are afraid of success or that it is just safer to stick with the familiar, unhealthy patterns of belief and behaviour that are the legacy of a traumatic childhood. After all change can seem scary, right?
Has this been your experience?
Well, I will let you in on the truth. With developments in neuroscience, understanding of how the brain works and the crucial role our nervous system plays in our mental and physical well-being is being revealed. Research is confirming that Childhood Post Traumatic Stress Response (CPTSR) is, at its root, neurological.
Its wired into our brains (and our nervous system) from a very early age. Infact, evidence suggests that people with CPTSR are genetically predisposed to experience stress more ‘viscerally’ than the rest of the population .
When trauma happens it results in brain dysregulation. which can be experienced as a feeling of being spaced out, overwhelmed, confused, distracted or clumsy. Or it can show up as ’emotional flooding’ – with anger, frustration, tears. Continously overreacting to the extent that it triggers a brand new set of problems in a person’s life.
And though we are’nt aware of it when it is happening (as it occurs in the subconscious) – the brain can also trigger some serious health problems including skin conditions, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain and insomnia.
When our brains and bodies are dysregulated , everything is a challenge. And healing feels almost impossible – like our lives will always look this way.
Its heartening to know that we can learn how to emotionally re-regulate – to actually overcome trauma and thrive.
To finally understand what is driving our thoughts, feelings and beliefs and how to regulate them ourselves. To change unhealthy subconscious beliefs and replace them with supportive, life affirming ones.
To finally get our sense of self back!