Dear Past clients, Current clients, Future clients & Anyone else who just needs to hear this message...
I know it can feel like you're broken, but I can assure you: You are not broken.
Trauma can really change your life in so many ways. It can have a lasting impact on you and it can feel overwhelming. But I want to assure you that there is hope for change.
If you are someone who has experienced trauma of any kind, "Big T's" or "Little T's"- you most likely have a hard time seeing and experiencing the world through the lens you once were able to.
You may experience:
Flash backs or nightmares
Feeling hypervigilant, easily started, or scared
Difficulty trusting yourself, others and your surrounding environments
Issues with memory
Increase of maladaptive behaviors (substance use, self-harm, and other destructive behaviors)
Physical symptoms (headaches, stomach aches, chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, etc)
Our brains literally change when we have been exposed to trauma.
Some examples of the physical changes that can occur post-traumatic experience include:
Increase in stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline)
Damage to the hippocampus (this is the area of your brain responsible for memory and learning)
Overall inflammation in the body (may lead to chronic pain)
Increased activity in your amygdala (leading to fight/flight symptoms)
Damage to the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for decision making, problem solving, emotion-regulation)
All of these changes are just symptoms- they are not definitions of you.
The beautiful thing about our brains is that they have neuroplasticity- meaning:
it can change it's connections over time and re-wire itself depending on learning.
You are not broken- you are malleable, resilient and capable of healing.
Trauma informed therapies including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help re-wire the brain and create new neural pathways to promote healing from trauma.
Remember to have curiosity and compassion rather than judgement with yourself. You have experienced enough pain and it may be difficult to access feelings of hopefulness. Remember that there is not something 'wrong' with you- something happened to you that created these changes.
I write this to hold that hope for you that there is room for things to change and get better. You are not stuck with these symptoms forever and you definitely are not broken- it just takes some time and the right care to help you heal.
Annabella Lipson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling in Scarsdale, NY.
She enjoys working with young adults & adults who are dealing with grief, constant sadness, anxiety, PTSD and other heavy emotions that make it difficult to enjoy the present moment.