We can probably all think of events in our lives which caused us distress. From even before we are born, we can be affected by trauma. If a mother has extreme stress in the final three months of pregnancy, it can affect her baby. If a child spends time in hospital, even a short time, away from its parents, or if parents are ill and the child is left alone with someone else, this can cause trauma. If the trauma is severe, of if you experience it as severe, it can get stuck in the Limbic System. Anxiety and stress can live there if the trauma is not processed.
When we have more difficult childhood than others, about 20% of us, we can develop issues that are often labelled – incorrectly I feel – as mental “diseases”. Anxiety. Depression. Borderline Personality Disorders. Substance abuse like alcohol or drug abuse or eating disorders.
How do you know you if you have Complex PTSD? You may have it if you find it hard to relax, if you feel have to be constantly busy, if you feel your brain can’t shut off, this is often worse at night and you often have difficulty sleeping. You can become easily overwhelmed, this can cause you to become angry, irritated, or you can withdraw from people, feel frozen, drift off from conversations. You will often be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, even have thoughts of hurting yourself. Some people cut themselves because of they want to feel something (they feel dead inside), or they feel so overwhelmed, cutting themselves calms them. People with complex PTSD often have feelings of shame, they have a low self-image, some people even describe feeling they are “nobodies.” Somewhere along the line somebody makes you feel you weren’t good enough. Parents or siblings can mean well but they can hurt without meaning to.
Here is a great link if you like reading. Complex PTSD Symptoms and Diagnosis. The video below describes complex PTSD from childhood trauma, but it can also occur as a result of repeated domestic violence or other significant traumas in adulthood.
Here is another explanation that can help explain this very important reason for illness.
Many of us who have had childhood difficulties have shame. Shame is that feeling when you feel embarrassed, of that you’ve done something wrong, or you’re not good enough. Shame is an adaptive response. If someone older than you is nasty, to survive, you adapt by thinking less of yourself, because the other person has power over you. Have a look at the video below.
If you are interested in Complex PTSD – here is a link to More Videos on Complex PTSD
Thinking about the past seems to be senseless. It could even make it worse. Which is why when we work with the past, we need help. The trauma needs to be processed, not just remembered. It needs to be worked on so that it loses its hold on us. EMDR is one way to process trauma effectively.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand how we are hurt. We could be traumatized without knowing it by the people who love us the most. If our parents had trauma, no matter how much they love us, they could pass that trauma down to us. If any of our parents used alcohol to cope, or drugs because of their own traumas, they could be unable to take care of our needs properly.
We could be traumatized by older siblings or by bullies at school.
Chronic pain can also cause trauma. Repeatedly being left in the lurch by a medical system which can at times seem cold and unfeeling.
Learning about stress and trauma can be overwhelming. Calming the body down helps calm the stress centre, the Limbic System. I added a few simple Qi-Gong exercises and other techniques to help on the Daily Program. Try to do the program for a few weeks and see if your body feels better.
There is therapy for PTSD. Have a look at the link. EMDR.
Below is long presentation about complex PTSD and its effects.
Many people have complex PTSD because of parents who have been damaged. One of the most toxic types of relationships is when you are involved with a narcissist – especially if that person is your mother.
We now have the technology to track changes in the brain. With new imaging techniques like functional MRIs and PET scans, we can see how the brain changes with trauma.
This is a link to a scan of a traumatized brain.
Link for PTSD
Looking at the photo on the link – note the very alarmed brain – yellow and red taking over areas of the brain that should be calmly thinking and managing your brain. Normal brain on the left of the picture shows soft greens and blues change then to alarmed yellows and reds – way too alert brain to think clearly – a brain that is not shutting down – way overactive.
You will see in the scan – a smaller picture (below the two larger ones) with an area lit up – that is your Limbic area of the brain – 3 F’s – Fright Flight or Freeze – fright.
When you have chronic pain – that area – the Limbic area – is often switched on for most or even all of the day, depending how stressed your body is with pain. Pain causes stress and stress causes pain. The alarm will not switch off.
When your brain’s alarm center is so switched on, you will feel pain that most people’s brains ignore. So when your body is uncomfortable, like maybe your posture is not great, the nerves send a message to the pain center. The pain center receives a message from your cortex that all is well – no need for alarm. The cortex simply informs your body to move without you even feeling pain. For the lucky 70% of us.
For the unlucky 30% – the alarm system is blaring and even the slightest nerve sensations from the brain cause intense pain responses.
Unfortunately certain parts of the brain cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional stress, not even bad stress from good stress. Stress is stress.
Stress disrupts a person’s life, awake or asleep. Try these trips Sleep disorder / Insomnia