Updated: Jan 7
My perspective on trauma.
This is not based on any science or theory or individual stories, but more the perspective I have developed for myself based on my experience with science and theory and individual stories; including my own. To me, trauma is loops. From the minute you are conceived you acquire wounds. If your mum had trauma living on in her
this can be passed down to you before you’re even born. Your birth may be traumatic. You may have spent weeks in PICU. You may be neglected as a child, or suffer traumas that would seem inconsequential to an adult but that are deeply traumatic to a tiny baby. From those early days we go through life acquiring more wounds - medical procedures, shock events, abuse, bereavement, accidents etc. The list of things that may be traumatic is extensive, and definitely not limited to war, assault, or natural disaster.
I believe that for every physical scar there is a corresponding mental scar, and also a corresponding emotional one. You won’t experience a physical wound without having any feelings or thoughts about it. And you won’t have an emotional wound without it showing up somewhere in the body; a knot in a muscle, a tightness, a gripping. Every time there is a scar, we naturally develop thoughts around that scar. Trauma is therefore an issue that affects mind, body and emotion as one. You cannot heal using only the mind. If you recover from traumas as they occur the scars may heal with little evidence they were ever there. The emotions pass through you, the thoughts dissolve. Recovery does however depend on having the right environment to recover; enough warmth, love, and support, and sufficient coping strategies to stay afloat. If your care givers are the ones who harm you it’s unlikely you will have the support needed to recover, and it’s also unlikely those care givers will have taught you effective coping strategy’s in the first place. Childhood wounds therefore run deep. If the traumas are huge, or they come in relentless waves, your ability to recover will also be limited. We often do not have the resources to recover from huge traumas. Even with unlimited resources we still can’t unsee what we saw, unhear what we heard, and unknow what we know. When traumas come in waves it's likely we won’t have time to recover from one before the next one hits. To use one of my favourite quotes: 'squeeze any human hard enough and they will become overwhelmed’. To me, trauma is a form of overwhelm. These scars restrict us. We hold our body in repetitive postures and make repetitive movements. We have repetitive breathing patterns, repetitive nervous system responses, repetitive thoughts, repetitive emotions. We become stuck on loops. We become restricted in body, mind, and emotion; only unable to respond within a narrow range. It is common to go round and round on these loops for years, often unable to see we are even on a loop. Loops may even begin to feel like our personality. This is stress, and in many cases an acute form of stress. The body is stressed, and the mind is stressed. Stress leads to disease. With enough time trauma will often show up as illness in body or mind, or both. In my opinion all illness should be considered with trauma in mind because it is at the very least a powerful contributor, if not a direct cause. 100% of people will experience traumatic events in their life, of varying degrees. The issue is not how big the event, or how many events, but how we recover from each of those events. If we are unable to recover at the time, trauma will set in. When trauma sets in, the loops begin. Yoga is a practice of body, mind, and emotion. When practiced with care and attention it gradually begins to break the loops.