Welcome to the premier “Trauma Tips podcast” where you will be given trauma tips, along with exploring conversations around all things relating to trauma; what it is, types, symptoms, newest tools, and much more hosted by Rosalien Stagg, that’s me, founder and owner of JourneyIntoWellness.com, where you are able to release traumas on-line, sign up for retreats or register for workshops to release traumas once and for all.
#13 How Covid-19 Trauma May Affect You And Your Kids
Whether it’s COVID-19, an accident, assault, crime or a natural disaster we all feel overwhelmed at some point. Although each one of us experiences events like these at some point in our lives, some of us absorb the proverbial shock waves better than others.
In a previous episode we talked about vicarious trauma and how, although they may not be directly affected, children can become traumatized when they are repeatedly exposed to horrific images of the event on the news or social media. Adults are not exempt from this and, in similar fashion, may struggle with the emotions connected to second hand experiences. We may experience a wide variety of highly intense, frightening, and perhaps very confusing emotions from these second-hand experiences.
Knowing whether or not you have experienced trauma is key is moving towards the healing process. Let’s take some time to dive into what symptoms of trauma might be.
And That Was Today’s Trauma Tips Tidbit.
Normal Intro Music Fades In and Back Out
Now let’s go deeper into trauma knowledge.
If you or your child have been moody and withdrawn it could be a sign of trauma. Also watch to see if you or they become frozen with grief and fear at given moments. If you or anyone else is exhibiting these behaviors, always remember that there truly is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel, so don’t try to dictate what you or your child should be thinking or feeling.
How we react to a traumatic event can be greatly influenced by the way our parents respond to the event. Understandably, this is a result of the fact that children look to their parents for comfort and reassurance when traumatic events happen. This is one of the many reasons it is so important to take care of our own emotional health and well-being....
#12 What Is Trauma Reenactment?
Trauma reenactment is the replaying of our response to traumatic incidents. Undealt with, these responses can replay over and over in our adult lives. As time goes on, this becomes normal and unhealthy, and is how subconscious patterns develop.
An indicator of habits caused by trauma reenactment are recurring conflicts. These conflicts manifest in their day to day. When this is a pattern they, or someone close to them, has observed, I suggest they look at the occurrences as a glitch that is aiding to what I call a “looped perspective” aka: habitual actions. Left undealt with this glitche becomes more prevalent and complicated, like was mentioned earlier, they become a habit and take over their lives.
Interestingly, many of us do not recognize or even sense that anything is wrong because our habits are so ingrained in us.
Like a severe injury to the body, trauma does not go away if it is left untreated. A person will continue to feel overwhelmed, distressed or disturbed until they have taken the time to release and deal with their trauma.
Pinpointing the traumatic incident can be a tricky beast to treat at times as it is common for people to disassociate with traumatic experiences. Despite this created distance, negative energy remains in the body and mind. From this place, the cycle of reenactment is created.
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We are talking about trauma reenactment, the cycle of trauma and how it shows up from time to time in one's life.
We talked about how emotions manifest when a trauma is inactive. In contrast, we’ve also explored what trauma looks like when it’s active in someone’s life. Now let's learn how to take notice of trauma when it’s first rearing its ugly head. Being aware of the symptoms can lead to treatment and subsequently set people on a path of quicker healing and freedom.
We could refer to this state of time as an open file waiting....
#11 Feeling Safe When Trauma Hits
Feeling Safe When Trauma Hits
Many of us seem to have anxious feelings running through our bodies at the most undetermined time. Have you ever wondered where it comes from? Could it be your inner fire alarm, running in the background and ringing throughout your body? Perhaps the greatest stress you will ever face is the thought that you can't protect yourself from life itself.
Any trauma can create a confusing world for someone going through something distressing or disturbing. When we step into trauma, our feelings of safety become challenged. When something traumatic happens, it can replace feelings of safety in this world with a sense of fear and anxiety. The event can do this in a single moment such as a car accident, a fire, a death or an assault. Other times, the world goes from safe to unsafe over the course of time such as in the case of childhood emotional neglect, childhood abuse or domestic violence.
When a trauma does happen, it changes the story line to say that something bad could happen and we are therefore not free from harm any longer. In this instance, the thought that we are generally safe is replaced with a sense of fear of what could happen next? We go from living to existing. We now wander around the world waiting for the next thing to happen or pin to drop or the next incident to shock us. We live in a constant feeling of fear, not able to enjoy life anymore. Frantic, panicky, scared, worrying about all sorts of small details, ruminating to the point of panic. Our triggers become more frequent, the dangers become more real in your mind, and your mental health seems to struggle. Mentally you might find yourself going round in circles and just thinking yourself into distress and powerlessness.
An example of this might be someone who has been assaulted. Everyday, we might go places and do different things without a thought of other people roaming around us. Often we would go places without even being aware that others are close or around us, like in a grocery store or a mall. We make plans to see friends at a bar or go for dinner with no thought of the outing. We feel so confident that we will see our friends, have a good time and go home. However, when someone has been assaulted, they may become hyper vigilant to watching people around them, making sure they know where the exits are in the room, or keeping an eye on the time as that might also trigger even more fear. The thought that they will be safe when they go out has been replaced with the idea that they could be attacked. Therefore, if they go out or if someone sneaks up behind them without their knowing, they could jump, their heart rate may go up and they instantly feel that they aren't safe. Going out may cause huge anxiety as they no longer have that feeling of safety that allows them to enjoy their evening or think of other things in a positive way. So, how can someone move past some of these feelings of feeling unsafe? Is there anything that can be done to help them move through the world? Let’s go deeper and truly get curious.
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We left off with the feelings of fear and retreating from life. Many things can happen when we feel unsafe, including not just that you feel danger at every corner, but also it becomes difficult to maintain friendships as you begin to retreat into the silence of fear and anxiety.
Safety is about feeling.......
#10 Trauma And Addictive Behaviours
As discussed in previous podcasts, traumatic events can lead to unhealthy patterns of thinking. In turn, these patterns can manifest as substance addictions and other negative ways of coping, such as behavioral addictions, with the traumatic residue.
Let’s lay the foundation and explain how trauma is related to addiction. I will start today’s podcast by explaining what I mean by substance use disorders and behavioral addictions.
Simple put, substance addiction occurs when someone is addicted to the use of substances such as drugs or alcohol. To be diagnosed as having a substance use disorder, there are three stages: mild, moderate and severe. According to the DSM-5 (a diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals) a few of the common symptoms are: cravings intense enough to affect your ability to think about other things, risky substance use, like driving or working while using, and an inability to stop using the substance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Some of the most common addictive substances include: alcohol, heroin, opioids, cannabis, nicotine, benzodiazepines and cocaine.
Behavioral addictions refers to addiction that involves compulsive behaviors. These are persistent, repeated behaviours that you carry out even if they don't offer any real benefit. Things such as gambling, internet gaming and shopping are known as compulsive behaviors.
People with compulsive behavioral addictions will experience several symptoms including: lying to hide activity, feeling irritable or restless when trying to stop and losing jobs or relationships because of it.
So, how are these addictive behaviors the result of trauma? We have talked about how traumatic events are emotionally distressing or disturbing and are subjective. While most people will recover on their own, some require treatment. In light of this, it's understandable that trauma does not automatically cause problems with drugs and alcohol; however, many people with trauma do have problems with addiction. Let’s discuss the deeper darker side of addictions and traumas and how they play a key role in each other.
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When I first started my work in the addiction field, over 20 years ago, I was thrown into the lion's den, so to speak. I worked with women who had come fresh from our prison system. When I started to get to know the women, I began to see that trauma was in every single woman’s background.
Not just a behaviour but total chaos was prevalent in each and every one of their lives. Most all came from broken homes filled with sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse.
#9 Body Image And Self-Harm
Today we are going to talk about negative body image and self-harm.
Issues about body image are more common than you might think. They seem to be due to the constant comparison we force on ourselves and our desire to be seen as perfect. This idea seems to be perpetuated by the media, our peers, and of course, by the beliefs we have created around ourselves and the world we grew up in.
People, especially young adults, with body image issues are more likely than their peers to use and abuse drugs, alcohol and self-harm.
Self-harm is an increasingly pervasive symptom of emotional distress. Forms of self-harm can include cutting, biting, scratching, burning, and bruising the skin. People might physically assault themselves as punishment for not being good enough. In a similar vein, self-harm is often used to release feelings we don't know how to deal with or to cope with strong emotions that might result from trauma or challenging past experiences.
Trauma/abuse, family issues, a lack of self-confidence are all potential underlying causes of self-harm and body image issues.
Using self-harm as a coping mechanism for anxiety and other strong emotions is most common among teens and young adults. Let’s dig deeper and try to make sense of all of this.
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A lack of constructive validation and unconditional love are easily ingrained during our first seven years of life. The first seven are known as our years of identity. In this time, our central processing unit, or what I like to call our motherboard, is formed using information from our mom, our dad, teachers, siblings, friends, and other family members. This motherboard is created by the world in which we live and the information we take in. When negative emotions, feelings, and sensations are introduced into these years, we create beliefs surrounding them that may not serve us later on in life.
These beliefs eventually become our truths ....
#8 How To Support Someone Going Through Trauma
Knowing how to talk to someone who is going through trauma can be intimidating. But taking the time to do so will make a large impact in their healing. Today we are going to talk about how to listen with our whole beings.
Although we can easily agree that the ability to listen is important, listening involves more than hearing. What does listening with our whole being even mean?
In another episode I talked about my experience of being deaf until the age of five. During that time I could not physically hear; however, I used my energy senses, emotions, spirit, and mental self to comprehend what was going on around me.
We are unconsciously aware and our bodily reactions to stimuli are evidence of this. Have you experienced goose bumps when you were frightened? Or perhaps tingles when you know there has been a truth spoken? Some people say the hair on the back of their neck seems to stand up, when they feel they are in danger. Sometimes our stomachs feel sick when we think about certain things. Each of these examples are a physical sign the body sends in hopes that we become aware of what's going on both around and within you.
So what about the mental cues? When we are listening to someone we care about who has been through trauma, with or without our intention, our brains are always thinking about how we can help. Usually this form of help manifests as us asking them a question. When we ask questions about how the other person is feeling, we are showing them we hear them. This unconscious reality is yet another way to understand and listen to the other person, and a way to help them feel understood and connected.
Staying quiet while the other person is sharing is a way to stay spiritually present. When you choose to stay still and listen, you are showing them they are worth your time. Reminding those who have undergone trauma of their worth is extremely valuable in their healing process.
Understanding these different methods changed my understanding of what it means to listen and will be a significant help to you in your journey.
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Let’s go deeper into the idea of feeling connected. There are many ways we can help others feel connected during a time of stress, struggling or trauma. Many times when we are going through things in our lives we begin to feel disconnected, to feel alone, like we have no purpose, like no one understands us or no one cares.
To counter these untruths, allow the person to talk about their traumatic experience. While listening well.....
This is going to be one of the most powerful tools in our society today. Thankyou
Thank you Rosalien. Your kindness and expertise turned a light on for me after listening to your podcast. Keep them coming! Thank you again.
I came across this podcasted by accident and took some time listen. I am an older adult now but the way she described how traumas experiences in our childhood effect us ... totally explained why I have problems with trust and love
I was able to reach out to her on a personal level, and she was able to identify a significant trauma when I was 4, and released the emotion attached with it
There has been a big burden lifted off me and a wonderful shift in my perceptions of things
My friends have actually noticed a difference in me... they want to know what happened and why I’m much calmer now
I highly recommend this podcast and the woman behind... I’m so great full