Are You Haunted By The Past?
No matter how hard you try, do you feel as if you can never move past something that happened to you? Are you feeling constrained by the painful experience, as if it now defines who you are?
At some point, we all go through an experience that seems to shift who we are as a person. But how each individual person is affected by trauma can vary. There is no single definition of what can cause trauma, besides something that drastically affects us emotionally.
Trauma is often best understood when it presents as PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Generally, there are some specific experiences that can lead to trauma, these include:
Abuse (Domestic, Sexual, Physical, Or Emotional)
Not having your emotional needs met
Witnessing or Being A Victim Of A Crime
The Death of Someone Close
Hatred And Violence Against Marginalized And Minority Groups
Returning From War
If someone has gone through a traumatic experience this can cause any of the following symptoms:
Avoidance of anything that reminds someone of the trauma, which can include people, locations, or specific events
Feeling hopeless about the future
Anger or irritability
Not being interested in activities or hobbies
Memory problems or loss, especially as it relates to the painful experience itself
Shame or Guilt
Not everyone will experience every single one of those symptoms, they can be any combination of them. Furthermore, symptoms of trauma can appear at any time after the event. It could be one month, one year, or a decade later. There is no specific timeline for when trauma symptoms first appear.
No matter how much time has passed, we want to be from the pain of the past. We don’t want to always be affected by the events that happened, but this can be hard when events have such a profound effect on us. When you want to overcome and heal from your wounded past, trauma therapy can be a powerful catalyst to help you get unstuck.
Society Does Not Help With Healing From The Past
Unfortunately, society plays a major role in how well we can heal from the past. Beyond the causes of trauma we outlined above, many experiences that are traumatic go unnoticed by society. Trauma can be triggered from feeling unsafe, feeling unloved, or unwelcomed by society.
Racism, especially, is something that isn’t widely acknowledged by society that can cause trauma symptoms in Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.Trauma can also be experienced across several generations and passed down. Even if you did not directly experience trauma, it is possible to be affected by the trauma and traumatic responses from those who have come before and influenced you.
That’s the thing about trauma - it is often complex and messy. It is a tightly woven tapestry that can be hard to unravel on our own. As a trauma counsellor, I want to be part of the support system for anyone who has gone through painful experiences. As your therapist, I want to make sure you always feel safe and not judged by the trauma that is haunting you.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal Your Past Wounds
Whether it’s been months or years, the past can be overcome. Trauma Counselling does not tell you that you just need to get over your trauma. Rather, it starts with acknowledging that you went through something frightening that affected you immensely. We do not minimize the event or ever imply that what you went through should ‘just be gotten over.’ Instead, therapy gives you a chance to see the past for what it is, acknowledge that it affects you, and find ways to lessen the effects of trauma.
It helps you to make sense of what happened and reprocess memories. When a traumatic event is happening, our brains almost shut down as a way to protect us. However, when the event is over, our bodies and brain still remember it happening. But sometimes, this memory becomes cloudy which can alter how we perceive the event.
Further adding to difficulties is the fact that we naturally push traumatic memories away and try not to think about it. That may seem like that is beneficial, but in the end, it keeps us stuck in a painful place,because while our minds aren’t processing it actively, it is still there affecting us in many ways..
As challenging as it can be, talking and thinking about the traumatic experiences you have gone through can help.
I use a variety of approaches to trauma therapy. One of the most evidence-based trauma therapies is EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing.
During our sleep cycles, our body goes through one called REM (Rapid Eye Movement.) REM is the sleep cycle where our brains heal and process memories and experiences, even if we aren’t dreaming about them. During this sleep cycle, scientists discovered that our eyes will actually dart back and forth behind our eyelids. What does that have to do with trauma?
EMDR uses these eye movements to reprocess painful memories. Using guided bilateral eye movements, a therapist who specializes in trauma walks their client through the memory they are trying to process. Eventually, as the sessions progress, the memory is processed in a way so that it does not have such a profound effect on the mind and body.
Therapy for trauma can help the mind and body become more grounded in the present, instead of feeling stuck in the past. It helps you to live the life that you want to without fear.
The fear of reaching out to someone to talk about what you went through can be debilitating. You may have held this in for so long that you criticise yourself for letting it affect you. If those in your life don’t understand why experiences are still impacting you, you may even feel angry or frustrated. You may have even thought that no one could understand why you are so impacted by the past.
But as a therapist, I really do get it. While you may have lived alone with your experiences, that doesn’t mean you have to continue to do so. Therapy gives you a chance to feel understood about what triggers your trauma, where it is coming from, and how it affects your mind, body, and soul.
When you are ready, I would like to offer you a free 30-minute video consultation so we can get to know one another. Not only to briefly discuss why you are interested in therapy but to see if I am a good match for you.