Often, when we try to define trauma, we think of overwhelming life events such as natural disasters, assaults (physical, sexual, emotional, mental, spiritual), war, accidents etc. You are not wrong in defining trauma around this. The very definition of trauma given by leading experts comes down to an overwhelming event to yourself or others that exceeds your ability to cope. Trauma is any "deeply distressing or disturbing experience." - Miriam Webster Dictionary. This can include abusive relationships, toxic environments, difficult childhoods, or impossible work situations. If something is or was traumatizing to you, then it is trauma. Period.
Trauma also occurs from things that ‘did not happen to you.’ These traumas of omission can occur in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, mental, spiritual deficits. Missing out on care, concern, or affection at any age can be traumatizing. Traumas of omission are just as damaging or more as any other type of traumas.
Trauma is unique to everyone and no person or people are exempt form experiencing it. Trauma brings common symptoms: anxiety, depression, feelings of unrest, feelings that something is off, angry outbursts, sleep issues, trust issues, panic, relationship difficulty...and the list goes on and on.
If these or other symptoms are ongoing, a skillfully trained trauma therapist is an invaluable asset to your life. Feel free to schedule with me today to take a deeper look at your life and start healing now. This is the greatest investment into your 'self' that you will ever make.
Sometimes trauma is severe enough that it causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD is a cluster of trauma symptoms that do not go away within 30 days after a traumatic event(s). According the DSM V, in order to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have experienced a direct exposure to actual or perceived death, serious injury, or sexual violence directly to self or other. These traumas can be directly experienced, witnessed, or even through finding out that the trauma had occurred to a close family member. Common symptoms of PTSD are: avoidance (internal and/or external cues), hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks (dissociations), intrusive thoughts, marked physiological reactions (anger, fear), negative self-beliefs, persistent negative emotional states, irritability, reckless behaviors, exaggerated startle response, problems with concentration.
When multiple PTSD causing events happen in a persons life, or when a trauma has prolonged itself over a period of time (i.e. abuse) then a person can develop Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.
As part of the therapy process, we will discuss various symptoms and I will help you to decide if your symptoms meet the criteria for PTSD (not all trauma does). Keep in mind, regardless of what level of traumatization you have gone through, it is ALL important and will receive the same level of professional care.