There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just traumatized

pexels-photo-54379.jpegMany people think that in order to have been traumatized emotionally that you must have been through a war, killed someone, been the victim of physical or sexual abuse.  Kidnapping is another horrible event that would leave any person traumatized.

Maybe you have never been through any of those events but you can still be traumatized.  First off I am not a Dr.  So please don’t get all scientific on me right away.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of experience with traumatic events.  Well I have been traumatized many times during my life.  Too many to really count all of the times.  And I was never in a war or killed anyone.  But I experienced traumatic events daily at work as a Peace Officer.  Not all of them were physical.  Many of them were something I read about.  Reading about crimes repeatedly can do damage to your psyche.  Your brain does not realize that it did not happen to you.  It just knows that it’s processing it.

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Let’s also just say right away that many people are in denial about their trauma.  There is a real stigma to being traumatized.  You are damaged goods, crazy, something is wrong with you etc.  These are all of the stereotypes about people who have been traumatized.

So perhaps you did not work at a prison and just have a relatively peaceful life.  But maybe someone died in your family or you lost a pet.  A relationship ends suddenly.  All of these events even though they are routine such as death, are all traumatic events.  So people have to learn how to process the grief that they have been through.

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People think it’s so easy to just leave it in the past, let it go, move on, keep going, shut up and just get over it.  Well grief doesn’t work that way.  It needs to go through a process.  You know the 5 stages of grief: denial,depression, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance.

I tell you what going through the grief process is very difficult.  You really need a strong support system and kind, loving people who will be supportive of what you are going through.  But sometimes people act out and then they don’t get help and self medicate.  They end up rude alcoholics, drug addicts, rage monsters, assholes, sex addicts and  porn addicts.  Yikes that’s a lot.

Well I do have some good news and actually it’s kind of a short cut to the healing process.  I always like to figure out the fastest way to do something.  And the easiest way to get through this is to just accept what happened.  Get to the point where you can just say yes it happened, I am sorry it happened, I accept that it happened but now it’s time to rise above that.  What is the lesson and what can I do to get better?  Also the hardest part is forgiving the person or institution that harmed you.

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Then that’s where the real work starts.  Support groups, self-reflection, counseling, crying, feeling your feelings.  Nobody wants to do it because it’s difficult.  But once you get to the other side, you’re like that wasn’t so bad.  And you get really strong.  But you must have a support system.  If you are estranged from your family, go to a church and start making positive connections with people.

Also remember, everyone is dealing with some bull shit.  So don’t think you are the only one.  You are so not alone and people want to help you.  You might have to turn off the TV and the phone.  Just reach out to someone.  A friend, pastor, cop, hospital, teacher, nurse, Dr.   Find out what is available to you and also there are a ton of resources on-line.  You don’t have to stay stuck dear one.  But you must begin the work to heal.  And I am sorry it’s not beautiful at first.  But it is so worth it.
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and yoga Instructor.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  Learn how Valerie is coping here.

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

Originally Published on WordPress.com on April 29, 2016 By Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health
Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.

Ever notice how good you feel — mentally — when you’re practicing yoga regularly?

Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner, who is launching a groundbreaking new Yoga Psychology 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training next month, says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, family of origin issues, and more.

“Yoga is a psychology — the whole practice helps us work with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and our minds,” says Turner, who reveals that yoga helped her recognize and cope with her own low self-esteem. “This course is reclaiming the deeper roots of the practice, not just asana — the mental and emotional benefits.”

See also Let It All Go: 7 Poses to Release Trauma in the Body

Below are 5 ways that yoga can benefit your mental health and well-being and even improve your relationships, according to Turner.
5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

1. It moves you from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, or from flight-or-flight to rest-and-digest. You typically have less anxiety and enter a more relaxed state. As soon as you start breathing deeply, you slow down out of fight or flight and calm your nervous system.

See also The Science of Breathing

2. It helps you build your sense of self. Through yoga, you get to know yourself and cultivate a more nonjudgmental relationship with yourself. You are building self-trust. You exercise more and eat healthier, because your unconscious mind tells you, “I’m worthy of this me time, this effort.” At the end of the day, everything comes down to your relationship with yourself. When you get more confident and become more rooted in your sense of self and your center, you develop a healthy, balanced ego, where you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You become courageous, with high willpower. You’re not afraid of difficult conversations — you know you’re still going to be OK at the end of the day.

3. It improves your romantic relationship. When you’re more centered and more peaceful with yourself, you’ll be the same way with your partner — you’ll view them through the same lens of compassionate, unconditional love. You’re less reactive — for example, you may know that snapping at your partner is not a wise choice.

4. It helps you become aware of your “shadow” qualities. The yoking of solar and lunar (light and dark) in yoga makes us recognize qualities in ourselves that we were not aware of, helping us be more mindful. A lot of my work centers on the shadow concept from Carl Jung. How do we look at those places in our bodies where we hold tension, tightness, knots of energy? That’s typically where we are holding our psychological or emotional energy. We work from the outside in, so asana is so important. A backbend will open your heart and release the stiffness between the shoulder blades — at some point, you will have some sort of emotional release, which you may or may not be conscious of. It’s about doing the inner work to shift or change and be open to doing your best with your weaknesses and faults.

See also Mandy Ingber’s Sequence to Heal Your Heart + Embrace Joy

5. It helps you deal with family of origin issues. Essentially that’s our karma — we can’t give back our family, we’re born into it and that’s what you get. It’s about owning what I call sacred wounds (rather than blaming) and taking them on more mindfully. You’re the only one that can change — the only thing you can do is control your actions and your behavior. Other people will inevitably be forced to show up in a different way you’re showing up in a different way. Think of the Warrior poses — yoga helps you rise up and do your best.

See also Pillars of Power Yoga: 10 Strong-Core Poses for Confidence