What’s happening in my mind and body with trauma and PTSD?
It’s not always obvious, or easy to explain. At times, you feel hypervigilant, needing to always be on the lookout for danger signals from your environment. Other times, you feel shut down, almost numb, and have difficulty even identifying what it is that you are feeling, if anything at all.
If you have experienced trauma, you may be very well aware of the emotional, psychological and physical stressors that weigh you down, sometimes on a daily basis.
So many facets of your life are impacted that feel out of your control. Relationships are ruptured, responsibilities are difficult to meet and your body may manifest the traumatic stress in the form of illness or chronic pain.
Recovery from your trauma is possible, but sometimes, the effects of trauma endure and come with symptoms that affect the way that our brain’s alarm system responds to memories, sounds, and even trauma-related dreams called flashbacks.
Does this sound or “feel” familiar”? If this is happening to you, you may be experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD doesn’t just affect combat veterans and police officers
Normal, everyday people struggle with the effects of PTS and PTSD. For some, their body’s stress response to possible threats force them into an extreme state of alertness. This is a way to keep these threats away. Some call this “hypervigilance”.
This hypervigilance is particularly heightened when those things “trigger” or initiate a flashback, where those difficult experiences are relived. Over time, these experiences can dramatically impact your mood and feelings of well-being.
Left untreated, these symptoms can affect your health, your relationships, your career, and your life. Like a wound that’s never properly healed, these issues can cause a great deal of recurring pain for those affected by them.
Trauma and PTSD can cause avoidance
Getting loved ones to understand your experience can be isolating, frustrating, and can leave you feeling ashamed. It can seem as though you are the only person who feels the way that you feel.
Even the most well-meaning person can leave you feeling invalidated as they try to make you “feel better”. Instead, you end up feeling that they don’t want to listen to you, and that you are burdening them with your problems.
You don’t need to have extreme or long-term symptoms of PTSD in order to experience symptoms of trauma. These can look very similar to depression and anxiety and can manifest themselves through physical health issues. You may find that you are experiencing difficulty with sleeping through the night. Concentrating on daily tasks. Confronting certain situations. Or, thinking non-stop about what bothers you. These are all symptoms of trauma and PTSD as well.
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs of trauma and PTSD after a traumatic life event, psychotherapy can help you learn the tools to lower your anxiety surrounding triggering situations.
How will therapy help me recover from trauma and PTSD?
Therapy provides a safe, supportive, and confidential space for you to work towards healing.
Depending on your needs, we often incorporate a number of different treatments, including Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Exposure Response Therapy (ERP), Somatic work to help reconnect the mind and body in calmer and less reactive ways, and Brainspotting.
You will have the chance to speak freely about yourself and your experiences. You can share your life story, and build trust at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
We will use trauma-informed care to ensure that you feel safe. And, we will do all we can to decrease the effects of potential triggers that may be related to your trauma and PTSD.
I’m not sure if I need help.
If you struggling with any of the following thoughts or feelings, reach out to see how we can help:
- Rediscover who you are despite the fear and anxiety.
- Be able to be present without worrying about what may happen soon.
- Feel more motivated altogether.
- Understand where this came from and, basically, get over it!
- Both move away from depending on therapy and know how to cope on your own.
- Feel worthy of _________.
- Be able to be mindful and self-reflective without the negative thoughts that follow.
- Just get some sleep…
Other Specific Types of Trauma
Start Your Healing Journey
Living with the aftereffects of trauma or struggling with PTSD is difficult, but you are not alone and you don’t have to live this way forever.
If you would like to talk through these experiences with a trained professional, our therapists are here for you.