So what is “Trauma?”
What’s this “trauma” thing we keep talking about? It’s a term that gets thrown around a bit; it’s all over my website, and it’s obviously the basis for my work. What does it mean?
Well, there are a few perspectives we can take on trauma. We can talk about the dormancy of the parasympathetic nervous system;; we can talk about the inability to connect deeply with others; the inability to maintain a healthy relationship. Let’s simplify it a little bit.
I’ve looked up some definitions for you. The first is from Merriam Webster. Merriam Webster defines “trauma” as:
“An injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent; a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury, or an emotional upset.”
Wikipedia actually goes slightly farther, defining “psychological trauma” as “a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. A traumatic event involves one’s experience, or repeating events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.”
That’s pretty succinct, but also very wordy. Let’s simplify this. On a very basic level, just to keep it very simple,
“Trauma” is a significant life event, or series of life events, after which nothing is the same. Life has changed forever in Broomfield, Colorado.
Examples of Trauma include things like Domestic Violence. A spouse or significant other is always attacking the other person in the relationship. And we can look at that and say, “well, why doesn’t the abused party, usually a female, why doesn’t she just leave?” It’s not quite that simple, and we’ll talk about that in another blog.
Another example of trauma is Sexual Assault. Life changes forever after that.
Another form of trauma is incest. These are adults who were molested as children. And that’s another whole blog.
Another form of trauma is people who’ve been in combat, military veterans. They come back from overseas, they come back from combat and their brains work differently. Now notice that I’m not saying that their brains don’t work right, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying they work differently. What I mean by that is that in a combat situation, they perform perfectly. They know exactly what to do and exactly how to do it. But they have difficulty when it comes to reintegrating into civilian life after their brain has adapted to the combat situation. This leads to a host of problems, which again is a subject for another blog.
Stay tuned, we’ll talk more.