What is Trauma and Complex Trauma?

What is Trauma?

Trauma happens when you are exposed to an experience that you mind felt was so distressing or disturbing. That your mind pulls back to protect you. This pulling back takes the form of producing an ’anaesthetic’ so you feel numb. This is disassociation, which is part of the avoidance or escape coping strategies. This numbness protects you and keeps you safe until you had the capacity to safely process and understand the experience. Which is why the flooding approach of bringing you face to face with your fears so they lose power over you of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy does not work in Trauma treatment. As your brain has numbed itself to protect you from the situation until you are ready to deal with it.

Trauma Infograph

trauma infograph

This is a really important point as it isn’t the event that causes trauma. It is how you understood the situation was going to pan out. Based on what you had been told and information gleaned from your nearest and dearest and society. Its this expectation from the experiences of others that allows you to assess how much you can Even though all will tell you that you docontrol the outcome. This becomes super vital when dealing with the NHS Complaints system as others will tell you that you have control over the situation. When it becomes clear this is not the case, you begin to doubt your ability to keep yourself safe and think that there must be something wrong with you, or you are not good enough or you don’t deserve to be treated any better. Which throws up feelings of shame.

The energy to produce the numbing chemicals comes at a price. As your body borrows energies from parts of your emotional, physical and social functions. I liken it to switching on the battery saving mode on your phone, It can still make and receive short calls but your internet and access to your Apps is restricted.

memories keep you safe

in order to deal with trying to make sense of what happened to you and assimilate this experience into your idea of who you are. This may be the reason behind intrusive thoughts. The technical term for this is cognitive reworking.

You start to use the so called coping mechanisms to help you deal with the symptoms of Trauma.

  • Anger
  • Persistent feelings of sadness and despair
  • Flashbacks
  • Unpredictable emotions
  • Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches
  • Intense feelings of guilt, as if they are somehow responsible for the event
  • An altered sense of shame
  • Feelings of isolation and hopelessness

eating, tobacco use, or drug and alcohol use. These coping mechanisms may provide some relief, but they can also simultaneously contribute to anxiety, social isolation, and chronic diseases.

Where experience is

A situation that made you remember either good or bad memories. Which stirred up good or bad feelings from your past and/or the present and moulded how you understood and reacted to the situation. Depending on how you have felt about similar events, your memories and feelings about the experience will be positive or negative.

It is the imbalance of the negative experience/s that cause your brain to produce chemicals that give rise to the bad thoughts, that can cause trauma.

Complex Trauma

What is Complex Trauma Infograph?

what is complex trauama

complex trauma or C-Trauma happens when layer on layer of more demands outstrip your capacity to cope.

dealing with long term threats and triggers makes you feel

Ie when more trauma is heaped on an initial trauma. C-trauma is a reordering of your nervous system to help respond and deal with unknown and/or unfamiliar dangers or environments. To deal with C-Trauma. need to reassure the body that it is safe. so need to calm the body and allow it to feel safe. c trauma can look like anxiety, depression, hysteria, substance misuse, emotionally unstable personality disorder and dissociation

complex trauma

✴️ Disclaimer

strategies to deal with c trauma include dealing with:the emotional down regulation of avoidance or numbness. the emotional up regulation of hypervigilance, flooding, distress

Often happens within a relationship that is meant to be safe and where you have been harmed by a person who was in a position of power and you felt unable to escape. This leads to feelings of helplessness and shame. A prime example would be a hospital – Doctor – Patient relationship. So when this safe relationship becomes unsafe, it is inevitable that the confusion and conflict of the contradiction between a safe space which is a dangerous one. This can affect you see yourself and your self worth. So you start to think, act and behave differently to


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