Trauma and PTSD

Recovery from PTSD and Complex Trauma

2123636723Our past profoundly affects our present and future.

A study by Kaiser Permanente in California called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) shocked the world by showing a connection between abuse and neglect in childhood and physical and mental health issues in adulthood.

Even more surprising was that since the study participants held commercial insurance through their jobs, they were all middle-class and gainfully employed, which soundly trounced the idea that trauma only happens to members of   economically disadvantaged and other marginalized communities.

The study further found that the more Adverse Childhood Experiences a person had, the more likely they were to suffer from physical health problems: diabetes, obesity, sleep disorders, and auto-immune disorders to name a few. Mental health issues were also found to be more severe, with a history of trauma.

What is trauma, and why should you care?

Many people have a history of trauma that affects them every day without realizing it. Their lives are a constant cycle of anxiety and hyper-awareness, avoidance of situations and people, and at times, a desperate need to ‘check out.’

People with a history of trauma have difficulty living in the present moment, relating to others, and believing in a positive future. They frequently seem to be super-achievers who never feel as if they’re ‘enough,’ no matter how much they accomplish.

The trauma response is created by many different elements. At its core, it’s a whole-brain response to an experience or experiences that felt overwhelming, dangerous or fatal.

Countless experiences can cause trauma.

There are obvious causes like physical or sexual abuse. Military veterans are often affected, having gone through violent experiences while serving. And it’s not uncommon to struggle after a near-fatal accident or injury.

But, the less apparent causes can be even more insidious. Emotional abuse, like bullying or repeated criticism from authority figures, caregivers, teachers, siblings, or classmates, can have a devastating effect.

Perhaps the most common cause is parental emotional neglect. This frequently stems from trauma symptoms that the parents themselves have but never acknowledged or dealt with. When a parent is unable to grapple with their own emotional history, they often pass this down to their children through abuse, neglect, and criticism. This creates children who don’t know how to process their emotions or trauma, continuing the vicious pattern of pain and abuse.

1631826670You’ve had enough.

You are so tired of constantly being in a state of hypervigilance, anxiety, and panic. The feeling that you are always in danger and need to be looking over your shoulder is taking a toll on your well-being.

Checking out from your emotions or distracting yourself with substances may help to avoid dealing with the source of your struggles in the short term. But, it always leaves you feeling worse and more hopeless eventually.

Break free from the cycle of trauma. I can help.

Having a history of childhood trauma myself, plus having been well trained by two great trauma treatment pioneers: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (best-known book is The Body Keeps the Score) and Dr. Bruce Perry (best-known book is What Happened to You, co-authored by Oprah Winfrey), I am an experienced trauma treatment professional.

If you’d like to find out how your trauma history is affecting you and what can be done about it, call me now at 267-454-8034 to set up a free 15-minute chat about your options.

I promise that your safety will be my first priority.