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  • Carol Greenwood

Trauma

Life is not a static state, it is a process. Health and illness can therefor be seen as a part of that process, and as a process, that means you have some control about how that progresses, or not.

The key to that control is first to understand the elements affecting any given process, and in this section, I am talking about trauma, not necessarily Trauma (note the little "t" and big "T" emphasis).

As someone who has suffered severe complex post traumatic injury (1), and has healed or recovered from the crippling effects, I am well positioned to share my understandings. I have also completed many courses in this arena, and I can tell you that beyond a doubt, I have never met a single human who has not experienced some kind of trauma.

As Dr Gabor Mate MD so eloquently puts it, “Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside you, as a result of what happens to you.”

A traumatic experience does not equate to a trauma injury, and equally, what creates trauma in one person, may not in another. It is all dependent of the meaning the individual makes of the event.

Most of us have experienced trauma that has shaped our personality in our infancy. If we were left to "cry it out", we learn that our voice was not worthy of being heard, that our primary care givers only give care when we present a pleasant demeanour (not crying), that we must learn to ignore our internal feelings (of hunger/fear/need for physical human connection etc), as they appear to mean nothing to our care givers and we are therefor not worthy of authenticity. Yet the human baby needs connection to survive, and it only knows connection as a physical visceral experience.

We learn to forgo authenticity (a critical human need), in order to maintain connection at what ever level we are granted it (again, a critical human need particularly in infancy). Thus, we develop to fit in, rather than tune into our innate needs and desires. The possible result is an adolescent who finds their emotions difficult to handle - remember, anger and frustration were not acceptable to their care givers in infancy, and often parents give "time out" if their child expresses such emotions as frustration or anger, as they see it as unacceptable, despite it being critical to wellbeing of mind body to know how to handle such states, and that takes practice and experience and positive guidance.

Conversely, if we are born into a healthy balanced and wisely educated family, who have done their deep emotional work and healed their "big T" and "little t" traumas, we will feel safe and secure to explore and express our emotions, we will learn how to manage the deep visceral emotions we experience as infants and as we grow and develop our language skills, we will then adapt in positive ways to be able to maintain our authenticity for our feelings, while not having to push away and in effect, reject human connection.

When we grow and develop in a secure and supported environment, with secure and supported care givers, we become secure adults. How many people do you truly know who are truly secure? People who are able to deeply connect to their own emotional states, and do not get triggered by the emotions of others?

So, ok, there is trauma.

So what?

Well, so EVERYTHING!

There have been so many studies into the effects of trauma on the health outcomes of people. It kind of started with a study by Kaiser Permanente , called the ACE study - Adverse Childhood Experiences. and is still ongoing (it started in 1995). The findings are frankly shocking - but even worse is that despite the absolute and confirmed and repeatedly reaffirmed findings, the NHS, the police, nor the education system in England appear to know a thing about it. In fact, while Scotland have adopted an ACE aware stance across its public services, England has continued to refuse to.

This study found that there was a direct correlation between the number of ACE a child under the age of 18 experienced, directly correlated to both life and health outcomes. For example, 6 or more reduces an individuals life expectancy by 20 years.

That may put you off learning any more - but I wouldn't share this with you if that was where it ended.

The really exciting thing is, that with an open mind, and a willingness to examine and explore, and support and professional guidance, those 20 years can be gained back.

The life changer of accepting that you experienced an emotional and psychological and developmental wound as a child, then with the support of a suitably qualified practitioner who is trauma informed, healing that would, is IMMENSE! It has a significant effect on your quality of life, your relationships, your work, your family and your friends.

HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE.

Read that again. Keep reading it till you understand that a wounded person will wound others. Until they can heal their wounds - not just allow the wound to be patched up with scar tissue - which is inflexible, has no feeling, yet is fragile to further damage - I am talking real healing.

Any way, If your interested in finding your ACE score, click the button below.

(1)The most common term for PTSD uses the word disorder, but its not a disorder. Its a reaction to an injury, and can be healed, so I don't like the term "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder", whether its simple, complex, relational or otherwise because it suggests that the individual will suffer the rest of their lives. This does not have to true, although sadly the main stream approach to trauma does not facilitate recovery as well as it could. I prefer the term Post Traumatic Stress Injury, because it can be truly healed with the right approach and support. Otherwise, no matter how much you try to move on, it will continue to flare up and bite your ass when you least expect it, and it will grow bigger, and it will risk ruining your entire life.

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