what is trauma?
Trauma is a distressing event or experience that stimulates emotional responses that are blocked due to high levels of stress during and after the event.
The amount of stress endured, exceeds a person's or community's ability to express, process or integrate the emotions surfacing during or after experiencing a distressing event.
Emotional responses may also be suppressed if a person or community has learned that it is not safe to express emotions OR an individual or community has had their emotions systematically minimized, dismissed and/or denied by others.
Trauma is a subjective experience. People and communities will react to similar events differently depending on many variables.
who experiences trauma?
Anyone can experience trauma.
Some ways a child may experience trauma is:
neglect (left alone, not fed, cleaned or brought to see a doctor, basic needs not met)
abuse (verbal, physical, emotional, sexual, psychic)
disrupted attachment (taken at birth, separated from caregiver or loved ones/siblings, foster care, taken from culture language and place)
sudden loss or changes (divorce, moving, death of a caregiver)
Some ways an adult may experience trauma is
violence, abuse, accidents, war, natural disaster, sudden unexpected loss, diagnosis, divorce, and poverty.
what kinds of trauma?
Single incident trauma : one time situation
Complex trauma : ongoing, repetitive, often involves several issues
Developmental trauma : affecting learning and growth
Physical trauma : limiting independence, participation, finances
Intergenerational trauma : trauma passed down through the generations
Historical trauma : colonization, racism, residential school, reserves
how can trauma impact us?
Trauma can cut us off from:
belief in ourself
inner and outer resources
Trauma impacts our spirit
Can make us feel small, insignificant and powerless
Unsafe in the world
Unworthy of being loved, of being alive
Wounds our heart, mind, and body's wellbeing
Living in a state of fight flight freeze and/or collapse
Coping strategies that trauma survivors may use
Alcohol and drugs
Violence/bursts of rage
Highly defensive behaviour
High risk behaviours
It is not your fault...
Every trauma survivor needs to know :
It is not your fault, you are not responsible for what happened.
You did the best you could
You are resilient
You can heal and recover your health and wellness
You are carrying wisdom and knowledge that supports you and your life