Trauma and PTSD
Trauma and PTSD make your world very small. They remove people, places, and activities that overwhelm you. People who you feel safe with are harder and harder to find. Crowded places like movie theaters, restaurants, or concerts, places you once enjoyed, are now too claustrophobic and may send you into a panic attack. Or things you once enjoyed doing don't hold the same joy, life feels like a practice in just surviving and removing those things that might trigger you. Mental clarity escapes you and life feels muted at times, and other times it is like the volume is turned up on everything. When you get triggered the source of the trigger is often insignificant such as a loud sound, having to make a sudden stop in the car, a certain color shirt, or a person of a specific build or height. There is no immediate danger to your life, but it feels like something very bad or wrong is about to happen, or that you are very bad or wrong. Whether the event is a one time traumatic event (i.e. a car accident) or something that occurred over a longer period of time (childhood neglect, physical, or sexual abuse) the results have deep and profound effects on your life, body, emotions, and the very structure of your brain.
The treatment and recovery from trauma often follows a structure in three phases:
Symptom reduction and resourcing
Processing of traumatic memory
Integration of "new self" after trauma has moved through