Danielle Thurman, LAMFT
Before becoming a therapist, I didn’t think I had any trauma in my life. Trauma was for people who had been through extreme experiences like an earthquake or being held at gunpoint. What I now realize is that everyone has trauma; most people, like me, don’t recognize the trauma they have experienced. Yet, it is shaping our lives. This is especially true for people who have experienced trauma as a child. It can be caused by extreme, one-time events as well as an exposure to long-term experiences in our relationships like:
· Emotional neglect
· Mental abuse
· Physical neglect
· Sexual abuse
· Lack of safety
· Being separated from a loved one
· Medical conditions
Trauma rewires your brain and can even cause brain damage. This leads me to a question I have been asking myself a lot lately. How do I know if it’s trauma?
Trauma puts you into survival mode. According to renowned trauma therapist Michele Rosenthal, survival mode is initially good; the problem begins when you can’t get out of it. You begin to live your life this way. You no longer recognize who you are. You can’t experience joy. Your viewpoint of life and of others often changes as well. You go from thinking life is good to thinking the world isn’t safe. “I can’t have the life I want.” “I can’t trust others.”
Some of the signs and symptoms of trauma are:
· Ruminating thoughts that you can’t get rid of.
· Not being able to let go of memories or events.
· A cloudy head, not being able to focus, or feeling confused.
· Anxiety and fear
· Mood swings
· Guilt and shame
· Blaming yourself
· Not holding others accountable
· Withdrawing and disconnection
· Abnormal sleeping patterns (too much or too little)
· Being on edge and waiting for things to go wrong
· Physical pain and muscle tension
The biggest problem with trauma, according to Brené Brown, is that it takes away our ability to be vulnerable with others. Without this ability to be vulnerable, we are unable to live a happy, healthy life. We are unable to truly connect with others. We often times also find ourselves in multiple abusive relationships.
While it may seem like a lot of work to resolve past issues, the benefits are tremendous. You can see lasting results fairly quickly. Some of these benefits include:
· Living a more fulfilling life
· Healthier relationships
· Recognizing and breaking harmful patterns that may seem normal
· A better understanding of yourself
· More fulfilling sleep
· Mood stability
· Less fatigue
· Being able to be present in the moment
· To find more joy out of life
· Being able to move on
At The EFT Clinic, we have made it our mission to uncover hidden trauma and help our clients understand how they get stuck in their patterns and relationships. Let us help you learn to create the kind of life you deserve.
Dani Thurman is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at The EFT Clinic and is currently accepting new clients. To schedule an appointment with Dani or any of our many experienced therapists, call our office at 385-695-5949.