Do you ignore emotion? Fail to recognise or run from it? Or avoid it at any cost?
Do you say things like “I just feel numb” or I” just don’t know what to feel”
Do you constantly crave connection with others yet push people away at the same time and not understand why?
I might just have an explanation for you, you see when we have an event, or an experience we give it personal meaning, based on what’s happening for us in that moment, or happened to us previously. So if the event invites us to feel overwhelmed, unloved, vulnerable or at risk, and by this I mean unsafe, and at the same time we believe our survival is threatened, we then start to act from fear and our stress chemicals begin to race around our minds and bodies to move us to action.
Moving to action might mean we freeze and cannot move or think, we might turn and run away or we make ourself big and scary and stand and fight, each response is our personal strategy for survival, none of them wrong or bad but simply our way of dealing with the situation in the moment to ensure our survival.
If this happens at an early age it can become a pattern, we then unconsciously live by.
We then may find ourself constantly seeking situations and events that can give us this “rush”
Fear can look like many things to different people. For some it can look like withdrawal, silence, or inability to speak. For others it looks like anger, aggression, defensive rage.
But for all of us it feels like confusion resulting in automatic action.
Trauma is a word that seems to be on a lot of peoples lips these days, and I believe we all live with trauma, just to varying levels and presentations.
When it comes to trauma in general, we need 4 separate components for it to hang around.
- We need there to be an Event, this can be anything that causes personal distress.
- We then apply personal Meaning to this event based on previous experience of ourselves, other people and the world
- If the Landscape of the mind, then informs us we are vulnerable, and by this I mean we perceive ourself to be threatened or exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
- And we feel trapped, the event/situation feels Inescapable from
We then store many tiny fractals of EMLI in our mind for safe keeping and future retrieval. These are the things we see, hear, feel, smell, taste so if any of these components are available to us in the future, we will know to move to action to avoid further emotional overwhelm.
You see this is where the system goes a bit array, this mind struggles to understand real threat, in our environment right now, or perceived threats based on what we have stored. When the mind cannot make the distinction between actual threat and remembered threat it errs on the side of caution and activates the whole system to move to action.
As an example, if you have a car crash, and the meaning you give is, I am going to die, and Bob Marley is playing on the radio as it happens. Then there’s a good chance that when 4 months later you are walking through the shopping centre and Bob Marley plays through the speakers, very low but loud enough to hear the mind goes ALERT!! THIS IS PART OF AN OLD MEMORY THAT INVOLVED TO POTENTIAL OF DEATH, YOU ARE IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU MAY DIE.
You then start to feel confusion, you heart races, your hands sweat, you can’t think properly, and you just know you need to get away right now and you use your best attempts to remove yourself from the environment you find yourself in, most of the time unaware of what has changed.
If this happens for you, out of the blue I invite you to find a quiet place with someone who can support you.
Find somewhere where you can safely revisit the experience and bring your attention to your breath and your body. To establish that in this moment you are not at risk, unsafe or under threat, your mind is just doing its job by committing to keep you safe, if we invite this “part” who holds the fractals of this experience to sit with us and not run from them, we can begin to understand their role, why they were created in the first place and how we can make friends with them.
If we constantly run from the things that’s scare us the most, they hunt us down, the faster we run and the further we try to get away, the more sophisticated they become in tracking us down.
“Come sit with me” recognises their existence and gives them permission to visit for the purpose of being seen, validated and understood, released and then offered an alternative role in keeping you safe.
After making friends with our deep routed fears, the best place to take the journey is into 25cms of body temperature water and half a tonne of salt. Our float environment has been shown to be highly effective for those living with the impact and many symptoms of trauma or the diagnosis to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Please always remember, Trauma is not an event, rather it is what happens inside of us In relation to that event and that can be wildly different for everyone. To find out more about our highly effective and evidence-based approaches to PTSD and many other mental health diagnoses get in touch today.