Understanding Trauma

Trauma can be divided into two categories: progressive trauma and sudden trauma. I compare it to the effects of an earthquake and an explosion. An earthquake arises out of pressure and time; the two plates compressed through force (energy) and as a result there is a rupture on the earth’s surface. This can be likened to continual bad movement through lack of awareness producing an injury/trauma. Sudden trauma, like an explosion, is unexpected; the mind and body have no chance to adjust or prepare and there is usually a delayed response in terms of mental awareness and acceptance of the trauma.

We know that the body is always in the present, even though it will carry the scars of the past along with it and possibly also the physical ‘earthquakes’ of the future, in relation to repetition of a damaging physical action. The mind, however, darts back and forth trying to make sense of it all. It has a filing system which it uses once an experience has been evaluated and dealt with. We can refer back to these files when we want to but mostly they just remain on the system, unless through illness they get wiped off.

The open files are the experiences which our mind cannot make sense of; cannot simply process then file. There is generally more acceptance in a progressive trauma as the trauma itself can usually be explained. Sudden traumas cause the mind (and therefore the body) greater problems. In order for us to be able to understand the trauma, the mind plays the experience over and over again. It is aware that the case or file is still open. The action of replaying the scene is the mind trying to help itself the only way it knows how. Unfortunately it isn’t being very helpful at all.

In terms of energy, the progressive trauma literally produces a progressive rise in energy. As such the fall in energy that automatically follows is a progressive drop. This type of energetic reaction is much easier to adjust to, both physically and mentally. The sudden trauma is an explosion of energy and ,in the same way that the universe was created, this expansion of energy is immediately followed by a reduction or vacuum of energy. Like a bouncing ball, this energy goes from one extreme to the other until the momentum starts to drop. This can take some time, whilst essentially, both mentally and physically, the individual is coping with massive physical and mental instability. A lot of people struggle to cope, understandably, but one of the ways that we can back up our system is through meditation.

Meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on the amygdala; the part of the brain that deals with the stress response (fight or flight). In order for the brain to be able to make the decision whether to fight or flight it must be able to process the information. The amygdala being a part of the brain that is linked to primitive man has an automatic response, which often isn’t suited in the world in which we live today. So the process of meditation helps the amygdala to be less reactive and more proactive by slowing down the response and therefore the energy chain (action followed by equal or opposite reaction.) Added to this is a heightened sense of mental awareness and control which gives the mind greater stability and more response options. We can learn to choose reactions that are more appropriate to the situation. Meditation helps with relaxation but more than this it helps to calm the energy in the brain/mind. This in turn reduces the effect of mental trauma by literally taking the energy away from the reaction; opening the valve.

The best part of all is that you improve awareness and regain control.

Article written by Heather Langley