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Defining Your Own Trauma


  How do you define trauma? 
What elements would be required for you to see an event or situation 
as being traumatic?  
Trauma is a physical wound to the body, but can also be a mental and emotional wound caused by a                                                                                    traumatic experience. 

When I was in Arizona, they were speaking on the radio about 911 dispatchers and the constant stress they are under, taking calls from people in danger.  They get up every day and take these calls.  The only position they are in is to relay the information to the proper agencies to get help to these people as quickly as they can.  Their internal system may develop stress over time because they can not physically help the people in need.  They are in a controlled position where their natural instincts are not able to be fulfilled. 

This is trauma.

There is the young woman whose husband deployed to Iraq and was not directly in an IED explosion, but was in the blast zone and was knocked back.  He now experiences some symptoms of brain injury, but is resistant to own the injury because he was not "in the explosion".

This is trauma.

There is the Mom whose son was critically injured when attacked walking home one night.  She now cannot sleep for fear it could happen again at any moment.

This is trauma.

Let's take a look a the police officers whose job is to deliver notifications to family's who have lost a loved one in a car accident or other such event. 

This is trauma.

Let's consider surgeons for a moment.  They take their job because they want to help people and are fascinated by the human body, but it can be traumatic for them to constantly be under the very extreme stress of literally, holding someone's very life in their hands.

This is trauma.

Consider those that lost homes in natural disasters.  They may have very well been in a safe location and unharmed physically, but to go home and see all that you have worked for damaged and in ruins is traumatic. Memories of a happy home have been washed away with the sea.

This is trauma.

So you can see that trauma isn't just for the people who sustain the physical injuries. 
Many times the overlooked parties who experience a level of trauma are the caregivers, the emergency personnel, and the families.  This kind of stress builds up in the body over time and can wreak havoc on a person's mental health, but also their physical health.  Sometimes they find themselves on so much medication, but yet they are saying they are totally fine.  It's okay to own that something had a deeply profound effect on your psyche and your heart.  We are so programmed to keep that tough exterior that no one gives us permission to feel and process. 

It is also not a matter of holding up a banner to announce to the world that something impacted you.  It's about allowing.  Sometimes there is a misconception that if you allow yourself to feel something that you must also announce it to the world.  This is untrue.  You need just your own personal permission given to yourself to let your soul know it's okay to be human. 

Meditation is the way to do this.  Giving your mind, your heart, and your body a few moments every day to connect with each other can help you to trigger the parts of the brain that offer you this "allowance".  
Without activating the parts of the brain that calm you and let you know that safety exists inside of you, the limbic system continues to fire on high gear making you feel like you are in danger and must hide how you are feeling for fear of being found it.  When someone feels that way they sometimes turn to cigarettes, alcohol, or another poison of choice to mask the stress that's been building up.

A cultivated meditation practice can equip you to better manage the stress and trauma that you have faced both in the past and in the present.  It informs the brain to know that it is time to check in with the heart and the body.  

Healthy living includes balance between the three. 

Meditation allows this to happen safely because it gives you something to focus on while the body is able to release stress, simply by activating the part of the brain that says it's okay to.

So you see, trauma can be defined as a physical wound to the body, but I think the category is far larger than that.

If we don't recognize something as having been traumatic, it often goes un-cared for and stress can build causing a myriad of health issues in the process.

Consider your trauma and check in to see how you feel about it.
If there is something there that bothers you, know that you are holding stress in your body.

Does this challenge your personal definition of trauma?

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