Different Shapes of Trauma

The use of the terms, mental health, mental wellbeing, etc. are becoming more frequent and accepted in today’s society. Some believe it’s because we have a better understanding of it and its effects. Others think it’s because we have a culture that no longer has developed the resilience to bounce back; therefore, we don’t have tools to move past an event that could leave us traumatised. Some believe the definition of the word trauma has become diluted. What was known to be a traumatic event in the 1960s was an event that could have been a violent atrocity such as a murderous rampage or a horrific and terrifying event such as continuous sexual assault or abuse. In contrast, now a minor car accident or being bullied is labelled as traumatic.

I believe like hero’s, trauma comes in many disguises, shapes and sizes and depending on the person, the event, and their coping mechanisms.

What may be a traumatic event for one person may not be for another. I believe this is where we need to be more understanding of others. There is a need to comprehend the true meaning of trauma and to understand that despite being different traumas for different people, it would still ensure the same disturbing psychological outcomes.

A single life-changing event for a person such being in a car accident, a bad fall, loss of a loved one, failing an exam could be a trauma for one person.  Or it could be continuous, or ongoing like a like sexual or physical abuse, bullying, a relationship break up, a divorce, a natural disaster which is all equally traumatising.

Trauma is a response to a trigger that may or may not be significant. Any event that leads a person to believe that the occurrence has debilitated their control, betrayal, abuse of power, sense of injustice, confusion, helplessness, loss of self-esteem, means that the event has potential to induce trauma.

Trauma affects at least three different areas in the brain by under-activating the thinking centre (the prefrontal cortex) and the emotion regulation centre (the anterior cingulate cortex) and over-activating the fear centre (the amygdala). The neurological system of the brain is disturbed, and the system responsible for controlling emotions becomes disrupted.

Therefore basically those who have suffered from a traumatic event or experience continuously do not feel safe!

Trauma impacts the wellbeing of an individual and can result in different psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger issues, depression, sleep disorders, anxiety and substance abuse. A person may exhibit some physical symptoms of trauma such as dizziness, headaches, migraines, bowel problems, and others.  The list is not exhaustive, and many other issues can be brought on by trauma which may vary from person to person.

In some cases, the symptoms may subside on their own and condition may improve while in other cases, they may need professional help and care.

Our brains have a remarkable capability to regain lost strength and skills, and with the right set of professional help, any traumatic event can have a resolution. The individual can regain their ability to feel safe, be happy and lead a fulfilled life.