Is Unhealed Trauma Impacting Your Life?
Have you ever experienced having an emotional response that seems out of proportion to a situation? Or maybe you’ve found it very difficult to trust people, or even difficult to trust your own instincts about someone or something? Perhaps you’ve been told that you’re too much, too angry, too emotional, even too sensitive?
Intense feelings and emotions can feel overwhelming. A lot of times we’re left unsure where to ask for support, or how to gain insights into why we are feeling this way. Emotional struggles are not a one-size-fits-all situation. But we all deserve to feel safe in talking about our need to heal. We’ve all got trauma that we need to heal from, yet it’s a totally human reaction to shy away from the word trauma.
What is Emotional Overload?
In recent years, we’ve become more aware that it is not just people who have experienced the worst types of trauma who are in need of healing. It’s a normal response to discredit our own emotional overload as not that serious. But sometimes, a series of experiences can accumulate into an emotional overload. For example, we may experience something when we’re young and now as an adult who has more resources and more intellect to handle things we find a need to heal from that experience. It’s possible that something may not seem traumatic at the moment, and then later we discover we’re suffering from the after-effects of that incident.
Clues to Emotional Overload
Past trauma often has a way of showing up in our closest adult relationships. For example, in your relationship with your romantic partner, or in your relationship with your closest friend. Suddenly the other person will do or say something that triggers a memory from your past that you never took the time to process.
These are the clues that there is something there that we need to heal. When this happens, you may find yourself struggling to identify whether you’re dealing with the person right in front of you now, or the person from your past experience. And that’s where we can begin to struggle with trust. When we’re uncertain, or afraid, we instinctively do things to protect ourselves. And this can manifest itself in not trusting those around you, even when they’re someone you did trust immensely just a short while ago.
This is, of course, where the need to heal a past trauma or an emotional overload can wreak havoc in our current relationships. If you suddenly stop trusting your partner, or your best friend, or your siblings, then that will definitely have a negative effect on your relationship with them.
Coming to Terms with Having Trauma
Popular thinking can tend to believe that trauma only happens when a blunt force object hits someone in the head. There, now they have trauma. Right?
But the truth is that emotional trauma can happen as well, and each person will process those things differently. For example, an entire family can experience a traumatic event and not everyone will experience emotional trauma that needs somatic healing in order to process it. That’s okay. The important thing is that each person is allowed to process their experience the way they need to.
“Whenever we discuss our emotions or our nervous system there’s an idea that we’re supposed to be okay all the time. And that anytime we’re feeling overwhelmed or overloaded, or confused, that we’re doing something wrong. Which isn’t the case.” ~Airial Clark
Whether or not you choose to embrace the label of trauma is up to you. The important thing is to embrace the idea of healing.
Healing Your Overwhelm & Trauma
One popular method to heal trauma in your emotional overload is called somatic healing. Our emotions and nervous system both live inside of our body, so the somatic healing approach begins by healing your physical body where the trauma is affecting it.
Somatic healing allows you to take your mind “off the hook”, to allow you to step off of the treadmill of trying to figure it out. By seeing your physical body as the thing that needs to heal you can allow some of your emotional trauma to heal.
Where is your trauma resting in your body? Clenched jaw? Headache? Tension in your shoulders? Understanding where you carry your emotional pain in your body is actually a first step toward healing the emotional pain.
So right now, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Identify where you’re feeling tight, constricted, or tense. Try and direct your breath to that place in your body. Send that breath into your tight shoulder muscles, or your tense neck, or clenched jaw. By being simply aware is the beginning of healing any overwhelm, or overload your nervous system may have.
Learn More about Trauma & Trust
In the audio series, Trauma & Trust by Sanity & Self expert, by Airial Clark, the connection between past, unhealed traumas, and struggles that happen in our current lives. Ms. Clark leads the listener through a 10-step journey toward identifying their past traumas and healing them.
“This has helped me greatly in learning to love and trust myself. Thank you for helping me to understand that my needs are valid and that me experiencing emotions does not make me “too much”. ~Deb
“There isn’t an emoji and no words can express how helpful this was to me. THANK YOU!” ~Erika
“The emotions I released during this series…felt like I was finally beginning to peel back the layers to get to the fundamental pain of unacknowledged trauma. It’s been so powerful in how I deal with my current life and interactions. I realized how forgiving and kind I am to others but never allowed the same consideration for myself. WOW. I will listen to this series many more times as I continue to heal.” ~Frenchon
About the Author
Angela Keck is the content & community manager for Sanity & Self. You can always find her hanging out on the Real Convo tab of the app, on our social media pages, as well as right here on the blog. In addition to being passionate about self-care, Angela is also a wife, a mother of two, and a writer (in her spare time).