The most exciting however, is putting together that big jigsaw puzzle. Remember laying out all of the disassembled pieces with excitement of making the picture whole. Maybe a puzzle of a simple “block pattern” or a more challenging “Statue of Liberty”.
Some may lay out the outline, some may try to start with linking pieces that are most obvious and gathering them together; there is no right or wrong way to complete that picture, there is no good or bad, just the chance to understand the whole. The truly skillful trauma therapist has a multitude of modalities and interventions in their “tool bag” for exactly this reason.
The truly skilled therapist continues to explore and heal their own wounds and maintain resources and supervision for themselves. Trauma therapy is not for the faint of heart and EVERYONE has a story.
I think to discover the who and why, the what and how of our life is a journey that takes courage, resilience, compassion, desire to change, desire to understand,and willingness to stop the pain, despair, confusion and sadness. The most difficult part of this journey is that you often must experience those events again, often in great intensity. That is why it is important to have all of those qualities in place. We must pendulate between pain and resources and that pendulation allows the pain to be resolved in smaller doses using the many resources that we have and are often unaware of.
You can’t take this journey for anyone else but YOU and you must be clear about your reasons for taking the first step. There will be surprises and disappointments and angry spaces, as well as despair for a time but there will also be relief, understanding, excitement, joy and resolution and perhaps peace and perhaps an exciting new journey.
You may also discover that you can’t or won’t do it alone and that will be a healthy choice and I will direct you to those that can truly help. Many of you have been trying for a long time to understand the void, chaos or insanity or any of the myriad places you have gone with your pain. People need relief from fear, numbness and pain and when we find something that will soothe us it becomes a lifeline.
For those of us who are genetically pre-disposed to addiction, we will find relief with drugs, alcohol, sex, food, shopping, gambling and many other destructive behaviors. Why? Because at a time of fear/trauma we believed we were going to die even though logically as adults we know better. For children from conception to early childhood through adolescence, that can be a very different experience. Truth be told we are fighting for our life, for survival and whatever will soothe the fear or terror of the moment becomes our lifeline.
For many of us depression, anxiety or other mental health behaviors become a comfortable place after a time. At first the trauma takes us there but if we continue to experience the ongoing trauma reactions it is the place of uncomfortable comfort that we know and it becomes a kind of solace.
I am going to give you a very simple understanding of “trauma”. For some, a huge frightening word.
Very simply, trauma is any life event or series of life events or ongoing life events that create a negative impact on your life, that changes or distorts your vision of yourself and your place in the world.
Lets identify what some of those events or situations might be.
Abandonment and neglect are the most common and most devastating. Emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual abuse. Accidents, fires, natural disasters, random acts of violence, financial concerns (too much, too little, sudden loss.) Divorce, adoption, bullying, domestic violence. Childhood medical or mental health as well as medical or mental health issues of adults or people close to you. Death and suicides of family members Grief issues Veterans, war, or having a loved one experience war or combat. And please remember the Intergenerational traumas we have spoken about in other blogs.
As you can see the list is long and many, many other things can be added. If your list has more then 2 or 3, chances are you have experienced PTSD at some time and that ” layers of trauma” have impacted “your vision of yourself and your place in the world”.
If you recognize that your life has been impacted by trauma please call and allow our staff to direct you to a resource for healing.
If you are a therapist and are experiencing secondary trauma as a result of your work please find a safe environment to do your own work. I can help direct you.