Three things very close to my heart. Can trauma be explained simply? Peter Levine does a brilliant job, and I’m going to share extracts from his book Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma. The extracts are all in italics.
I’m convinced, as collectively we move towards “another dimension”, there are so many signs of this shift that they will merge to create this “reality.”
Yes, dear friends, pay huge attention to what you may once have called coincidences. There are no such things, and when you add the word meaningful into the equation you have the definition of synchronicity.
In previous writings, and in several videos, I have maintained that no one is exempt, in 2021, from trauma. Naturally what is unique to each of us, is the impact and the symptoms.
Let Levine explain:
“Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the ‘triggering’ event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; the residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits. The long-term, alarming, debilitating, and often bizarre symptoms of PTSD develop one we cannot complete the process of moving in, through and out of the ‘immobility’ or ‘freezing’ state.”
The triggering event, if sufficiently overwhelming, causes us to shut down. We dissociate (detach) from what is going on around us, and may be in denial of it. The event may be so powerful as to cause us to even (like animals) “play dead,” to facilitate our escape after the danger has passed. If the event is physical, we may feel no pain at the time.
From personal experience, in 1977, I ran my car off the road and nearly killed myself. My memory of what happened is restricted to 1) getting in the car around half an hour before the crash, and 2) coming round in hospital some hours (?) later. There were of course many physical and psychological consequences for me. A few days after the crash, going to see the car, which was completely written off, made me realise how close to death I came.
“However, we can ‘thaw’ by initiating and encouraging our innate drive to return to a state of dynamic equilibrium.”
This innate drive is more than protection. It is what heals us at every turn. Without it, living-if that’s the right word-through the current insanity, we would succumb to the fear tsunami through depression and subsequent illness. Have you looked at the depression and suicide rates…?
Did I mention synchronicity?
Levine uses the example of an impala being chased by a cheetah at 70 miles an hour. He likens what is going on in the animal to a car.
“What is now taking place in the impala’s body is similar to what occurs in your car if you floor the accelerator and stamp on the brakes simultaneously. The difference between the inner racing of the nervous system (engine) and the outer immobility (brake) of the body creates a forceful turbulence inside the body similar to a tornado.”
In the “wild” animals discharge this compressed energy and rarely go around with trauma symptoms! They can release these powerful forces, we struggle.*
“To help visualise the power of this energy, imagine that you are making love with your partner, and you are on the verge of climax, when suddenly, some outside force stops you. Now, multiply that feeling of withholding by 100, and you may come close to the amount of energy aroused by a life-threatening experience.”
If, like me, you have no memory of the ‘trauma’, then it is difficult to discharge the energies. Two of the more obvious symptoms were my torso “seizing up” occasionally when having a shower and a deep semi-permanent feeling of unease. I’m sure there were many others, but at the time I rationalised both of these in a way which separated them from the car crash. Grin and bear it after all it’s only for life. Many years later (nearly 20) I took serious and significant steps to resolve this particular trauma.
Read any book, watch any video, read any article about trauma and you will find a list of symptoms. Being in denial or ignorance persuades us to attribute these symptoms to our lives of quiet desperation. We put up with so much, which massively diminishes our life quality, when it is all so unnecessary. Or:
“When we are unable to liberate these powerful forces, we become victims of trauma. In our often-unsuccessful attempts to discharge these energies, we may become fixated on them, like a moth drawn to a flame, we may unknowingly and repeatably create situations in which the possibility to release ourselves from the drama trap exists, but without the proper tools and resources most of us fail. The result, sadly, is that many of us become riddled with fear and anxiety and are never fully able to feel at home with ourselves and our world.”
We need to pass through, to release energy from the “immobility responses.” Otherwise, we remain stuck.
How is this for optimism (and truth)?
“Fortunately, the same immense energies that create the symptoms of trauma, when properly engaged and mobilised, can transform the trauma and propel us to new heights of healing, mastery, and even wisdom. Trauma resolved is a great gift, returning us to the natural world of ebb and flow, harmony, love, and compassion… I believe that we humans have the innate capacity to heal not only ourselves, but our world, from the debilitating effects of trauma.”
Hallelujah. Let the healing commence.
Jack Stewart, September 13, 2021.
* I find it fascinating, if we look at companion animals. I have been blessed to share my life with two cats in particular (one, Holly, is with me now) who have dealt with trauma very differently. Holly is fine, but it is obvious suffered greatly as a kitten before she lived with me, despite having had a pampered and wonderful life ever since. The other cat, Fleeb, absorbed the trauma of my wife Anne and myself during a very difficult phase of our lives in 2004.