Trauma is a word we all fear. It is also something we all suffer. The death of a parent is traumatic. So is the loss of a job. Even stubbing your toe really hard can be a traumatic event. What many don’t know is that our brains don’t differentiate between small traumas and big ones. It treats them all the same. Over the years, as we get bumped and bruised, we store traumatic experiences and use them to create a worldview that renders us doubting and afraid.
After my father died, I couldn’t let anyone besides me drive. Since he died before I got my license, I didn’t connect the dots for several years. I was sure if I weren’t driving, there would be another accident and my world would shatter again.
When, as a teenager, a man took advantage of me, I did what most do. I put the incident behind me and, after awhile, didn’t think of it again. What I didn’t know was how that experience shaped me. The world was no longer safe. I no longer had worth. He stole something that night that I didn’t even miss until years later when another experience triggered a flashback of that event.
We talk about loss of innocence, mourn it, and work hard to preserve it in our children. For me, loss of innocence is having a traumatic experience that slants one’s worldview, makes one fear the unknown, and doubt the sincerity of others.
Like spilled ink, trauma invades us, coloring our convictions and eroding our trust. We think we recover. The toe heals. The heart heals. We go on, find a new job, new love, and new hope, but the ink stain never quite fades. It dirties every experience until we find a way to purge it completely. This is hard to do alone.
For years, I thought my creative expression and faith would eventually obliterate that stain. It helped some, but not enough. I didn’t know that my marriage was sullied by trauma. I didn’t know how it affected my children. As they entered adulthood, I discovered I’d passed on some of my fear and pain.
Identifying the long-term affects of trauma is difficult. Here are some tips:
1. Do you worry often about bad things happening?
For example, if your spouse is late and hasn’t called, do you worry they’ve been in an accident?
2. Do you suffer from unexpected anxiety? Is your anxiety proportionate to the event that’s creating it?
For example, you’re to meet with your boss about the monthly sales report. You know you’ve done a good job, but your palms are sweating, your mouth is dry, and you’re having a hard time breathing.
3. Do you find it hard to trust people, even when you know you should?
For example, do you worry about your spouse cheating or someone stealing your work?
4. Is your temper out of control? Do you overreact to small things and then feel guilty about it?
5. Do you always need to be in control?
These are just a few tips for recognizing symptoms of trauma related stress. If these sound like you, there is help available. Look for therapists who specialize in trauma. There are several different kinds of trauma therapy. Brainspotting worked really well for me because it's non-invasive and there's no intrusive talk therapy, but it’s not for everyone. You may also want to read about trauma and how it affects your brain. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is the best I’ve read. Brene Brown also has some great books on shame. Trauma and shame are intertwined and I’ve found her books really helpful.
The books and therapy helped me to realize the trauma wasn’t my fault and to restore a worldview that’s positive and trusting. I’m not waiting for the world to shatter again. Instead, I’m planning a future I could previously never entertain.
To About her book, "The Romance Diet":
Brave, raw, and unflinchingly honest, this book is a weight loss journey, a love story, a heart beating loudly on the page. Every day we battle against something--injustice, our spouses, our weight. Seldom do we acknowledge the real wars we wage. Repressing feelings and silencing our voices, we suffer under the surface, attributing emotional distress and unwanted pounds to the inescapable effects of hormones or age.
But weight gain, anxiety, and marital difficulties aren't always so easy to explain.
In her poignant and touching memoir, Allison doesn't offer recipes, exercise tips, or advice. Instead, she shows us how to stand up, express what we want, and develop empathy for ourselves and the people we love. In doing so, she provides invaluable insight for those seeking to lose weight, save a marriage, or make a significant life change.
Includes a Readers Guide.
To purchase this or her other books: Click here or on the book cover above.
About the Destiny:
Destiny Allison was a professional and award-winning sculptor. Her work is collected by individuals, civic entities, and corporations worldwide. When an injury required her to re-envision her life, Allison did what she always does. She applied her explosive creativity and dog-with-a-bone tenacity to new endeavors.
In 2011 she was named Santa Fe Business Woman of the Year. Her community building efforts and innovative business model transformed a bankrupt shopping center into a thriving community and commercial center.
In 2012 she published her first book, Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life. The book won best independent non-fiction/memoir in the 2013 Global Book Awards.
Since then, she has published two novels and opened a general store. Allison believes that one’s life is one’s greatest work of art. Hence, she flows freely between mediums. Unafraid to make mistakes and always passionate, she lives in Santa Fe, NM.
Facebook: Destiny Allison Books
Thank you for guest blogging Destiny...
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323