Lori was sexually abused as a child and didn’t tell anyone until she was an adult. Without anyone to guide her or help her make sense of what had happened, she tried to get rid of any residual sensations herself.
She binged and purged, used laxatives, developed a drug habit, and finally severely restricted her calories in an attempt to numb the pain.
Lori is a survivor of childhood trauma, and her inability to control her emotions, trust her body, or form meaningful and loving relationships is common in people that have suffered trauma.
Most experts agree that trauma’s effects remain in the body. We have all suffered from some type of trauma in our lives, and sometimes we can’t even remember the specifics, but effects stay with us. Talk therapy alone is often not enough, especially if someone has spent years trying to numb their emotions.
Although the mind can relive the event and tell the story, it cannot undo the effects of what happened – the rage or shame that manifests in the body. Learning to re-inhabit the body safely, and experience emotions directly, helps people gain a sense of strength and control.
Unresolved issues can manifest as physical symptoms, such as: migraines, clenched muscles in the neck, jaw and shoulders, a sunken chest, heavy heart, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. People who have experienced repeated trauma often alternate between being very sensitive and easily triggered, and feeling numb or disconnected from themselves and others.
Exploring sensations without judgment, learning breathing and relaxation techniques, and feeling supported in a safe environment, can bring people balance and ease.
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.