Are you on high alert?
To heal from trauma, we need to understand post-traumatic stress. Residual trauma creates a restless energy because of the fight-or-flight response to danger. Trauma survivors usually feel anxious and depressed and may have trouble sleeping or eating normally. This state of high alert is exhausting and damaging for the body and mind.
Some behaviours help people to survive a crisis, danger situation or abusive relationship. These include being aggressive (fight), avoiding conflict (flight) or shutting down (playing dead). But if such behaviours become habitual once the danger has passed, they could mean the person has post-traumatic stress.
Many people don’t know how to bring themselves out of a state of high alert naturally. Some use drugs or alcohol to try and control their pain or emotions. Other addictions include gambling, over-eating or risky sex. Medication from a doctor can help things like sleeping problems and anxiety, but it does not heal us at a deep level.
Talk therapy alone also cannot heal post-traumatic stress. The reason is that the traumatic experience has not been properly processed by the brain. Indeed, the brain is struggling to process the event – and this is the heart of post-traumatic stress. Experiences that we can’t really make sense of, such as a traumatic event that changed our life, can be difficult to describe in words.
Problems of the body, such as insomnia, poor appetite or physical pain are likely to continue whether or not we talk about the trauma. Talk therapy helps many people, but we also need to focus on the body’s recovery.
Back to basics
When a person has post-traumatic stress, they often perceive danger where there isn’t any. Their relationships suffer. Their constant anxiety damages many systems of the body through stress hormones in the blood. They might not even be aware of this. They’re more likely to be aware of not feeling safe or happy.
The body is the place to start when healing from post-traumatic stress. We need to find the parts of ourselves that are blocked or “frozen” from the trauma. Once we find these parts and connect to them with care and understanding, we begin to move out of the trauma. We begin to feel safe in our own bodies again – or perhaps for the first time. Talk therapy is also more effective when we respect the body’s experience.
The Healing Zone is inside each of us. My work helps people to reconnect with this natural, peaceful state. I combine various approaches and theories that can bring trauma to rest.