When our bodies are balanced and we feel safe and happy, we are in a state of “regulation”. In this place, we are not too stressed, nor are we too excited or exhausted. We are calm. We are clear. We have focus. We are creative. We are able to communicate rationally and clearly and openly.
BUT, when we experience trauma this sense of safety and balance is completely ripped away from us. It’s almost as though our soul is taken from us and what is left is only a shell.
This trauma is deeper when you’ve lived your whole life being abused and neglected by your primary caregivers. You may feel completely devoid of a sense of self – your brain has developed under chronic stress which causes your body to look out only for your survival.
Our bodies have two distinct reactions to traumatic experiences. We can be be maxed out – unglued emotionally and physically – this looks like panic, toxic stress, anxiety and physical...
Panic, sweating, racing thoughts, exhaustion, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, ruminating thoughts. Some of the painful, and exhausting symptoms of anxiety.
In many cases, anxiety is accompanied by a strong inner-critic which places pressure on us to be perfect. It can also be accompanied by paranoia, depression and many other symptoms. If any of this rings a bell for you, I have to say first that I truly empathize with you. The pain and pressure of anxiety causes many symptoms that get in the way of our daily functioning such as sleeping, relationships. You are carrying a heavy and painful burden and I empathize with you. I see you.
The emerging research around anxiety increasingly supports the fact that it does not develop out of nowhere. When our sense of self is fractured (or non-existent), we lack the ability to regulate ourselves. Our brains and bodies are in perpetual states of hyper-vigilance, reactivity, sensitivity, and exhaustion. Our systems are on...
Since the past isn’t here now, how is it that I am keeping it alive?
The past is powerful.
For those who cannot think of the past without remembering the pain of trauma, it can be all encompassing.
Are we drowning in fear?
Is the inner critic causing crippling anxiety?
Are we weighed down by the heavy blanket of depression?
If so, how can we breathe into the present? How can we begin the process of shedding the weights of the past?
In my own life, trauma has been a defining force. I spent years trying to encase my pain in guarded walls. This encasement caused depression, rage, anxiety, toxic shame, lack of focus, and difficulties connecting with others. I carried my wounds from my past into my daily life without even knowing it. I kept my past alive through the lies I told myself about why the past happened. “If I only I was a smarter child,” “If only I was skinnier,” “If only I...
Change is hard. It’s f*king hard. It hurts. Kicking all your rocks uphill. Breaking the cement of your hard-wired broken brain. We don’t particularly like to think about changing either. We want to be accepted for who we are. We want to be loved as we are. And there’s something very important about that, about being content with yourself at your essence.
But, as with everything in life, things are not so black and white. The eternal paradox exists in the background. In the ying and yang of it all, we notice that we can and must love ourselves at our essence. And, yet still we can be longing for continued growth. After all, we evolved through forward motion. And, naturally, we desire forward motion in our own inner-worlds as well.
Even the most broken of us. The most self-sabotaging among us still long, deep inside for change. Still strive for it, even if many futile attempts have failed.
So, what makes it so gut-wrenchingly and painfully hard to change?