Trauma

Something I found on Tumblr a few days back.

Traumatic abuse causes lasting changes in our physiology, nervous system and brain chemistry. In the course of normal development, memories are consolidated as we evaluate each new situation in terms of the cohesive worldview we have previously formulated. When there has been trauma, this cognitive process is short-circuited by the surge of painful and intense stimulation. Instead of “processing the experience” by fitting it into our understanding of how the world works and thereby learning from it, we revert to a more primitive form of encoding—through physical sensations and visual images. Even years after the actual danger is past, the trauma, undigested and locked in our body, randomly breaks through into consciousness. A person who has been traumatized may continue to relive the same event as if it were occurring in the present… Unprocessed pain keeps our system of self-preservation on permanent alert. In addition to sudden intrusive memories, a wide range of situations, many non-threatening, may activate the alarmingly high levels of pain and fear stored in our body. Our partner might raise her voice in irritation, and the full force of our past wounds—all the terror or rage or hurt that lives in our body—can be unleashed. Whether or not there is any present danger, we feel absolutely at risk and compelled to find a way to get away from the pain.

In order to make it through such sudden and severe pain, victims of trauma typically dissociate from their bodies, numbing their sensitivity to physical sensations. Some people feel “unreal,” as if they have left their body and are experiencing life from a great distance. They do whatever they can to keep from feeling the raw sensations of fear and pain in their body. They might lash out in aggression or freeze in depression or confusion. They might have suicidal thoughts or drink themselves senseless. They overeat or starve themselves, use drugs, obsess and in other ways try to numb or control their experience. Yet the pain and fear don’t go away. Rather, they lurk in the background and from time to time suddenly take over.

http://www.tarabrach.com/articles/trauma.html (via survivorsupport)
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