Trauma means different things to different people: no two traumas are alike.
Trauma can mean having been attacked, raped or witnessed severe violence. It can also mean that you had a very difficult upbringing which has left you feeling not as able to manage life, and all the practical and emotional challenges that life can throw at you, as well as you would like. This is often called developmental trauma and refers to the fact that children are very easily overwhelmed by situations such as a lack of emotional nurturing, violence or threatened violence from a major care-giver, or mental or spiritual manipulation, (whether intended or not).
Symptoms of having suffered from some form of trauma include:
- Severe anxiety, or general anxiety much of the time.
- Long-term depression.
- Panicky feelings that seem out of proportion to the situation, or panic attacks.
- Regular nightmares or sleep disturbances.
- Feeling disconnected with your body or emotions.
- Feeling out of control of your emotions (e.g. anger, fear or sorrow).
- Low self-esteem
- Repeated abusive relationships.
Spending regular time with an experienced and empathic therapist can help you safely explore your distresses. You may come to understand yourself and how you relate to others in a different way; learn how to regulate difficult emotions and change harmful or unwanted patterns of behaviour and/or thought processes, and begin to heal old emotional wounds and develop a more harmonious way of being.
It may be that EMDR therapy would also be helpful for you, or an intensive trauma-reduction workshop, and you can talk to your therapist about these matters and she will guide you through your process.
I also run residential trauma-reduction workshops in partnership with two other well-respected and experienced therapists, which work to reduce the effect of developmental trauma on a person's life. For more info visit the workshops page.
For an informal and confidential chat about what might be most helpful for you please call Helen on 01747 825288 / 07966 002927