Trauma can be defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Some people’s trauma can be the result of childhood experiences (abuse, being bullied, etc.), and some can happen in adulthood (divorce, loss of a loved one, and even a car accident). Trauma can cause depression, chronic pain, and even chronic disease. The body is stressed and therefor releases the stress hormones, which over long periods of time can fatigue the body lowering immunity or possibly causing pain.
Trauma has been shown to lead to depression because people can relive the trauma over and over again. In Teal Swan’s book, The Completion Process, she discusses how the brain doesn’t know the difference between past and present, so in reliving a traumatic experience the brain doesn’t know if it is happening right now or not and your body reacts. Over time this can cause depression and anxiety. Trauma is also linked to chronic illness. The “cell danger response,” or CDR, is when the body’s nervous system is overloaded by environmental stressors and the body then experiences change in cell function and physiology, which can result in chronic illness. The body’s immune defenses are taxed, therefor causing cellular breakdown. Many of the diseases associated with trauma are autoimmune diseases. Finally trauma is linked to chronic pain because of the mind/body relationship which links emotional pain to physical pain. If the emotional part of the person is suffering and in pain, then the physical body can take on that pain as well.
So how can we work to heal trauma, illness, depression, and pain? First, if you are suffering from depression and/or PTSD always take your medication as prescribed. Anti-depressants can be a reset button and can help you and your brain remember how to produce your own feel-good hormones and regain your life. Other ways to help heal trauma is through meditation. As discussed in my blog on meditation, research shows there is link to calming the mind and body through meditation, which can benefit you if anxious and/or depressed. Diet is also huge in healing your mind and body. If you are eating highly processed foods, sugars, and inflammatory foods your body will feel sick, which in turn can cause depression. Switching to a whole foods plant based diet can truly help heal your mind and body. Exercise can also heal the mind and body because when you exercise your brain releases endorphins helping you feel good. Ever hear of the “runner’s high?” That’s endorphins. After cardio exercise some people feel “high” or extremely happy because their brain has released hormones that help them feel good. Finally, seek counseling. Having someone to talk to about your experiences can help relieve pressure and pain.
Every person has experienced trauma because it is any time you haven’t felt safe. Trauma can be life changing and if left unchecked it can over take you. Allow yourself to feel what you are going through and take care of yourself. Just as every person has experienced trauma, I believe every person can overcome trauma. The journey will vary from person to person, but trauma doesn’t have to define who you are.