It could be said that almost everyone has experienced some type of trauma in their walk through life. It could be due to a variety of issues, loss (death, divorce, health), abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, verbal) motor vehicle accidents, job stress (bullying) financial, natural disasters and more.
Trauma affects everyone in a different way. Some people have huge events happen and their trauma stays hidden for years; others have a smaller event and it impacts them immediately. (no traumatic event should ever be dismissed as having had impact on the mind and the body because it always does).
It can feel sinister in its approach, taking you by surprise and then messing with your emotions over and over and over again.
When a traumatic event happens, it seats itself as an emotional charge in our limbic system. The limbic system is made up of four main structures in the brain and it is important to know that it stores and controls our emotional responses.
Symptoms of trauma can vary from anxiety, mood swings, depression, feelings of being on guard (hypervigilance) all the time, nightmares, shame, difficulty sleeping, inability to deal with stressors of any kind, flashbacks, feeling emotionally vulnerable and overwhelmed with life.
The symptoms can then morph themselves into panic attacks, phobias, feeling spaced out, addictions, hoarding, avoiding situations that may remind you of the event (isolating), extreme fatigue, forgetfulness, self abuse, feeling as though you are fragmenting and crying easily at anything and everything.
These symptoms can and do become disabling when they turn into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At the very least, it discombobulates you as you struggle to figure out why you are feeling off centre.
Sometimes it can be obvious why you feel the way you do. Sometimes, well, not so much (the sinister effect). This is when you need to reach out for help.
Talk to your Physician or look for psychological help. If you can’t afford this, then perhaps you can access free counseling at the health unit (250-549-5721) or the People Place (Family Resource Centre at 250-545-3390). If you are feeling emotionally depleted and need to speak to someone immediately, you can call the People In Need Crisis Line at 1-888-353-2273.
I would also suggest you do some of your own research.
You may find Vernonite Randy Kolibaba’s book, The Lies Behind The Truth, inspiring.
As an RCMP officer who also served in Kosovo for the United Nations, Randy wrote about his experiences with adversity on the job in Canada and Kosovo. He has walked the walk of PTSD. There are other books that may be helpful too. Check out the self-help section in the library or a local bookstore.
Meanwhile, if you are feeling stressed and anxious, try practicing some grounding techniques. Grounding refers to being one with yourself, feeling centred and calm. You can check it out on the internet, and here is a place to start: www.healthyplace.com (21-anxiety-grounding-techniques) These would be temporary techniques to use until you can find some help.
I would like to share what I found on a social media site the other day. It was an entire list that someone with PTSD may feel.
This is my edited version….. “I am tired of crying, yelling, being sad, pretending, being alone, being angry, feeling crazy, feeling stuck, needing help, remembering, missing things, being different, missing people, feeling worthless, feeling empty inside, but most of all, I’m just tired of being tired.”
I believe we are meant to live in harmony within ourselves. Hard to do when you walk around with unresolved issues. Maybe it is time to resolve them and help yourself move forward to a calmer and happier life.
Is it time to reach out? Don’t give up. Hang in there.
Carole Fawcett is a counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist. www.amindfulconnection.com