Understanding the Trauma Vortex

Don't Lose Hope

Does the term trauma vortex mean anything to you?

This metaphor describes the swirling whirlpool of emotions, reactions and thoughts that a trauma stirs in us. It’s where sensations, pictures, sounds or painful memories are triggered unexpectedly, and take us back in time[1]. This is summed up well in the following definition:

Trauma is like a magnet or a black hole sucking us in. Memories of trauma are not like normal memories of something that happened in another time and place, but instead we feel like we are currently in that other time and place. When triggered, our feelings are very powerful and pull us further and further into … a trauma vortex (a whirling mass that draws things towards its centre).[2]

And when an individual feels that they’re being sucked into this hole:

  1. They’re subjected to an onslaught of disturbing thoughts and pictures related…

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Signs that Life is Demanding your Attention

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Signs that life is demanding your attention include:

1. The same themes and patterns (which are usually self-defeating) keep repeating themselves, or reappearing in your life. Notice these patterns, and then ask yourself: “What is this telling me about myself – my wants, my needs, my hurts, and my past?”

2. Hurt, unresolved issues, and problems from your past, are stopping you from living and enjoying your life now. Also, these are triggered more frequently than previously. This could include sleep problems, low self-esteem and relationship difficulties, fears, anxieties and PTSD symptoms.

These indicate repression isn’t working for you, and the past will not be silenced and ignored indefinitely.

3. You have trouble coping with powerful emotions – like overwhelming anger, or excessive crying. This frequently points to a deep and painful loss that hasn’t been mourned and given proper respect.

4. You feel restless, agitated, and feel something needs…

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Some Facts about Trauma

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You can be healing and feel broken at the same time. Healing isn’t a destination we reach where we’re perfect and at peace all the time. Healing is a journey which involves accepting and embracing ourselves as we break, as we heal, and as we reconstruct.” Najwa Zebian

1. Everyone’s trauma is different; everyone’s reaction to trauma is unique. This means there is no “one size fits all” recovery treatment plan.

2. The effects of trauma are profound. They ripple into the future in unexpected and unpredictable ways. This makes it hard to address, work on, and heal from our trauma.

3. Understanding your own reactions to trauma is a long, pain-staking process. But they reveal themselves, and their patterns, over time; and as we gain more insight and understanding, we can try more strategies to help us heal. This is going to take patience, persistence, self-compassion and…

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How to Support a Depressed Friend or Partner

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It can be hard to know how to help a partner or friend who is feeling depressed. The following suggestions might help with this:

1. Find out the kind of depression they are suffering from. Symptoms of clinical depression include sleep difficulties, loss of appetite, a desire to isolate themselves, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, suicidal tendencies and an inability to determine the cause of their depression.

Those with situational depression may have some of the same symptoms but they generally know why they feel the way they do. Also, once the specific issue is resolved, they are able to function normally again.

2. Be available to listen, or to just be there for them. Sometimes you don’t need to say a word. Don’t offer opinions; don’t give them advice; don’t be judgmental. Be kind and understanding; be gentle empathic, patient, accepting and compassionate.

3. Take them out of…

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Quote of the Day

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I promise you, little by little, the healing adds up.” – Ella Hicks

Maybe it doesn’t always feel like it’s true, but every investment in your healing counts. It all makes a difference, over time.

So hang on to that truth when it’s hard to believe. When you’re in the thick of battle and you don’t feel brave or strong.

You are starting to heal. You are different from before.

All that hard work: it is worth it.

Keep on going.

Don’t give up.

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Making Room

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It’s not about simply forgetting and moving on; that’s never how it works.

That’s not how grief works. That’s not how sadness works. That’s not how disappointment works …

You’ve got to make a little home inside of you for those memories and feelings. Whether you want them there or not, those feelings are part of you now … so you have to make room.

You have to allow yourself to feel them all deeply, and accept that they are a piece of you. You will never be able to force out their intensity, their depth, their persistence.

So let them in instead.

Be vulnerable with yourself and allow yourself to feel every raw emotion entirely. Feel them and accept them, and know that even though they are a part of your yesterday, they do not get to define your tomorrow.” – Nikki Banas

Recovery requires that we…

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The Truth About Life …

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1. Things never go according to plan.

2. You’ll always meet with unexpected obstacles.

3. Not everyone will like you, or want to be your friend.

4. We all lose motivation and want to ditch our dreams.

5. Success is transitory, and happiness will pass.

6. We all get disappointed and let down by our friends.

7. Attitude is everything; we choose how we react.

8. There’s always something good, if we will only look for it.

9. There are those who “play it forward”, and who’re helpful, warm and kind.

10. Life is full of chances, new beginnings and fresh starts.

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Quote of the Day: Remember the Fire Within

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Remember who you were when you pulled through the darkest night of the soul.

Remember how you rallied, how you remained functional, even if barely.

Remember how you kept on going.

Remember how you held it all together, as everything fell apart.

Remember all the times you were stronger than you felt and wiser than you thought.

Remember how you had a galaxy within you when you thought there was nothing left.

So that the next time you know you’re going to need a wild fire instead of a match to get through the darkness,

Remember the survivor within.”

– Tanya Markul

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A Pearl of Great Price

Don't Lose Hope

Pain is real; but so is hope.

Oysters are highly vulnerable. They need their tough shell in order to survive. But they also need to eat – so they open up their shell.

Yet this can pose a danger if a grain of sand gets in. For that becomes a source of ongoing pain for them.

So how does the oyster respond to this?

It responds by gently wrapping translucent layers around the grain sand, around the source of suffering. In this way it transforms suffering into something beautiful. Into something that’s exquisite, and that’s highly valuable.

How does this relate to us?

Suffering’s part of life for the oyster on the seabed; and suffering’s part of life for all human being too. We experience disappointment. We experience grief and loss. We experience deep betrayal. We are hurt and traumatized.

Some of this, we put behind us; then…

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The Power of the Invisible Hand

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Never doubt that thousands of invisible hands are helping you at all times. Love is everywhere, even if you can’t see it. The tenderest care will arrive when you least expect it, and from someone whose name you will never know.” Elizabeth Gilbert.

Often, we feel completely alone. We feel rejected, and discarded, and abandoned.

We feel as if there’s no-one who really understands.

I know that I have been there, and I guess you’ve been there, too.

It’s extremely painful. It’s an awful place to be.

But I’ve also experienced the kindnesses of strangers. A community of people on the internet. People who have shared their own heartaches. Their own traumas. People who are tender and compassionate.

Hence, this resonates with me: I have learned I’m not alone.

There are invisible hands. There is tenderness and care from people I don’t know – and will likely…

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Some Tips for Coping with Flashbacks

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It takes a great effort to free yourself from memory.”

Flashbacks are a bit like waking nightmares. They are powerful, terrifying, repeated episodes where the person re-lives a traumatic incident. They occur suddenly, and feel uncontrollable. And the responses they evoke are so vivid and real that it feels like the experience is happening again – even though it is over, and fixed in the past.

Below are some suggestions that can help you cope with flashbacks:

1. Tell yourself you are having a flashback … when you start to experience the distressing symptoms. That is, give a name to what is happening in your body and your mind. This, in itself, can give a sense of control when you feel you’re at the mercy of extreme and powerful feelings.

2. Remind yourself again that the worst is over. You now know the truth. Everything is in…

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Make Today a Beautiful Day

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“Make today a beautiful day. A beautiful day that you’ve created just for you.” 

Today …

Take a few moments to quieten your heart, and to remind yourself again that it’s good to be alive. And to remind yourself, again, that there’s a place down deep inside where you’re grounded, calm and settled. Where you know just who you are.

And then go out from that place into the rest of your day, making sure that you make space for the people you love most. Give your kids a longer hug. Send a message to a friend. Play a song that’s filled with memories, and reminds you of good times.

And perhaps you’ll read some pages from a book that you’re enjoying, or you’ll spend some extra seconds soaking up the winter sun. Or you’ll watch the silent snowflakes falling gently to the ground, or you’ll sit…

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Trauma: The Road to Recovery

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Some facts on recovery from trauma include:

1. We should never downplay the horror of trauma. Trauma is trauma, and its impact is profound … And life after trauma is absolutely awful.

2. Recovering from trauma is slow and difficult. Nothing works for everyone, or every type of trauma. There is no ‘one size fits all’.

3. It is worth trying different types of therapy. If the therapy you try doesn’t really seems to help, then try something else.

4. It is important that we have our story heard. We need to have our suffering witnessed and affirmed. We can’t suppress and hide that kind of intense pain forever.

5. Cognitive approaches are helpful on some level. They can help us to identify unhelpful false beliefs – like “I am worthless”; “I deserve to be rejected.” However, changing core beliefs is often very difficult.  


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How to Develop Self-Compassion

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This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” – Kristin Neff

We hear a lot today about self-compassion. But how do we show compassion to ourselves? What does this look like in our everyday lives?

1. First, acknowledge to yourself that you’re having a hard time. This is the starting place of self-compassion. You don’t have to pretend, and to push your feelings down. This is the time to be on your own side, and to listen to your heart, with empathy and understanding. ‘It feel what you feel’ … and that’s absolutely fine!

2. Don’t beat yourself up for struggling. It’s Ok to struggle and to find it hard to cope. What you’re feeling is normal. You are human – that is all. Understand that you…

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What Really Matters in Life?

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Trauma causes us to question our beliefs. Now there’s sand beneath our feet, not the solid ground we thought. When this happens in our life, we can feel destabilized. Everything’s been stripped away, nothing’s certain any more.

It’s at desperate times like these when the scales fall from our eyes … that we learn important truths … that we see what matters most.

These include:

1. At the end of the day there isn’t much that really matters: but those few basic things really matter a lot.

2. How we treat other people, and how they treat us, is what really matter the most.

3. Life itself is a blessing and gift.

4. There are always a few things that renew our sense of hope. Even if it’s as simple as a beautiful sunset.

5. There are sparks of hidden beauty all over the place. And often these show up…

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Some Thoughts on Suffering

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1. Suffering is universal. It is something we can’t avoid, or completely hide from. It is a fact of life that all of us are going to have to deal with a certain amount of disappointment, failure, loss and grief.

2. We do not suffer equally. There are people who seem to be dealt a much worse hand than others. These are the people who experience one major trauma after another major trauma … or who witness terrible atrocities … or who are hit by serious illnesses – which have a devastating impact, and a terrible prognosis.

3. When we suffer so intensely, we need a place of refuge. Suffering on this level cannot be borne alone.

4. Because suffering is universal, we might expect that other people would be there for us. We might expect them to be kind, understanding, and to respond with sensitivity and empathy.

But all…

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10 Indicators of Unhealed Trauma

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Unhealed trauma can sometimes look like:

1. An inability to relax and feel safe in relationships. Always being afraid that the relationship will end, or you’ll be supplanted by someone else. Having a deep fear of abandonment.

2. Having a deeply ingrained sense of shame. Believing there is something badly wrong with you. Believing you are deeply flawed at your core.

3. Having a fragile self-esteem. Never feeling you are truly good enough. Believing you don’t deserve to be wanted, loved, respected, valued, and treated as well as other people.

4. Craving external validation. Needing constant reassurance from others.

5. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being afraid to relax in case things fall apart. Living with high levels of anxious. Feeling you are always on high alert.

6. Feeling you have to change yourself for other people (in order to be loved, or accepted by them).


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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Soon, when all is going well, you’re going to look back on this period of your life and be glad you never gave up.”

When we’re in the midst of awful, desperate times it can be so easy to lose our motivation.

The struggle can feel endless. Unrelenting. Too ferocious.

And when the war drags on, and doesn’t let up for a moment, it’s understandable that we lose the will to fight.

But when we look back through the years, and we reflect on those dark times – the times when it was hard to see how we could make it through …

We see we did make progress.

And the ground shifted and moved.

For we’re not in the same place.

Something within us really changed.

Do not lose hope. Please believe there are a thousand beautiful things waiting for you.”

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Truths You Need to Admit to Yourself in the Aftermath of Trauma

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“I have a gaping, bleeding hole in my soul.”  

1. What happened to you mattered. It really, really mattered.

2. It wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t ask for it. This is one situation where you truly are a victim.

3. You’re no longer the person you used to be. You’re a shell of the person you used to be. You’re profoundly changed; you hardly recognize yourself.

4. This has turned your life completely upside down … So you don’t know what to believe anymore … And you don’t know who to believe anymore … And you’re afraid to trust … And you’re afraid to hope … And you’re afraid to believe that things will work out for you

5. You can’t relax and enjoy your life as you don’t know when the other shoe is going to drop. At any time of day, and on any random…

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Quote of the Day

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“I pray you heal from all the things no-one ever apologized for.”

We all carry hurts and wounds from our past.

And some of these wounds are very deep and painful.

Damage it is hard to recover from.

My prayer for you is that you find the help you need to heal from these wounds, so your heart can be free.

Even if you never get the answers you need.

Even if they don’t take responsibility.

Even if they don’t, or won’t, apologize to you.

I pray that you will heal, and you will laugh and live again. 

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What are Traumatic Memories?

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Our most powerful memories have associated feelings. Sometimes these are positive, and sometimes negative. Traumatic memories are often very painful, intense, overwhelming, and usually negative.

What else do we know about traumatic memories, and how are they different from more ordinary ones? In summary:

1. These memories are carved deeply into the person’s brain. Thus, they leave frozen imprints which do not get updated. This is very different from our non-traumatic memories which are fluid and dynamic, and tend to change with time

3. Traumatic memories are resistant to new evidence. This is true even when the individual can agree with the new information being presented to them.

Although it logically makes sense, it still cannot overpower and change the old, entrenched reactions and beliefs. The reason is these deeply ingrained memories are believed, and the brain is trying to protect us from real harm.

4. That is, the body…

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Is there Anyone out There who Really Understands?

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At the heart of any real intimacy is a certain vulnerability. It is hard to trust someone with your vulnerability unless you can see in them a matching vulnerability, and know that you will not be judged.” – Rachel Remmen

This is one reason why we feel so alone when we’re living with trauma, or betrayal trauma.

We feel as if the world either pulls back from us … or exercises judgment … or tells us what to do (as it showers us with unhelpful and unwanted advice).

And none of these responses are compassionate responses.

This doesn’t help at all; we only feel misunderstood.

We just feel under pressure to “shut up” and “move on”.

It leaves us feeling worse; it slowly eats away at hope. There’s no-one there to listen so we bear it on our own.

We’ve lived with shock and…

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Finding Hope when you don’t Feel Hopeful

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Sometimes you feel that you can’t face the battle. Sometimes you don’t feel courageous at all. Sometimes it all feels too much. Too overwhelming. Sometimes you feel that you just can’t go on.     

On days like this, when you’re fighting all the darkness, is there something you can do? Are there steps that you can take? It can often be helpful if you have ideas at hand – for you won’t have the energy to think at those bleak times. So here are some thoughts; a few things that you could try:

1. Acknowledge how you feel. Don’t try to sugar-coat it. You need to be authentic; you deserve to be authentic. Also, you can’t keep pretending, or keep faking how you feel. Eventually you’ll crack, and the feelings will seep through.

2. Work on developing a self-care routine. It will give you something to look forward to, and…

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Will this Pain Ever Go Away?

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“If the pain was deep, you will have to let go many times.” Yung Pueblo

We often feel surprised by how long the pain lasts. By the fact that we’re not free – even years after the trauma.

There are no easy answers.

There is no magic bullet.

The memory is ingrained and it doesn’t go away.

Letting go is a process we repeat a million times.

Every time it helps a little. Just a little – not a lot.

It’s a hard reality. A truth we’d rather not embrace.

But we are making some progress, every time we let it go.

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There are Things You’ll Never Forget

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The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

You don’t ever forget that your partner was unfaithful. You don’t ever forget that you lost a precious child. You don’t ever forget the day your whole world fell apart. You don’t ever forget that you’re a victim of abuse.

We may heal to some extent, and build a very different future.

Our partner may change, or we might marry someone else.

We might still have other children.

And our fortunes might reverse.

We might laugh, and find fulfillment, and decide ‘life must go on’.

Even so, we still remember – for we can’t erase those memories.

There will always be an ache for what could, and should, have been.


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It Is What It Is, And You Feel What You Feel

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It is what it is, and you feel what you feel.”

The starting place for healing from a trauma in your life is taking that courageous, and very shaky, step of facing the truth of what happened to you.

That means allowing all the feelings to rise up to the surface, and experiencing the pain all over again.

But what do you do after taking that brave step – because you know, for a fact, that it’s going to feel awful?

In summary:

1. Give yourself time – take all the time you need – to deal with what comes up, and to mourn a million losses.

2. Allow the healing process to follow its own course. You can’t force the pace, or decide what it will look like.

3. Be patient with yourself, and especially during dark days. You don’t know how you will feel; you don’t…

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Things to Stop Saying to Yourself

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Things to stop saying to yourself:

1. “I’m no good at …”

Say instead: “It’s just a skill, and something I can learn.”

2. “I’m such a failure …”

Say instead: “I got it wrong, and everybody makes mistakes.”

3. “There’s no point in trying …”

Say instead: “It may be hard, but I can take it step by step.”

4. “Nobody likes me; I don’t have any friends …”

Say instead: “It doesn’t really matter what these people think of me. There are others who will recognize my value and worth.”

5. “I hate myself. I deserve to be rejected …”

Say instead: “I am beautiful inside, and have value and worth. I deserve to be loved and treated well.”

This is the beginning of loving yourself. Welcome home.”

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Tell me What Happened to You

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“The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn’t be what’s wrong with you, but what happened to you.” – Eleanor Longden          

In counselling we ask that very question.

People are shaped by their relationships, and by significant life experiences. So rather than just treating the symptoms or effects, or diagnosing someone with an inappropriate label, in counselling we ask questions like:

1. What significant event has just happened in their life? Are they reeling from a devastating trauma? Has their whole world just been turned upside down? Is this the kind of thing that any normal person would find disorienting and too much to handle? Do they have adequate support?

2. Related to this, how many other traumatic events has this individual had to deal with? If previous traumas haven’t been properly processed, then they won’t have the resources and reserves to cope with another devastating life event.

3. Have they suffered…

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Relationships, and Recovery from Trauma

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1. World wide studies of disaster response have confirmed that social support provides the greatest protection against being severely impacted by a trauma.

2. Social support doesn’t simply mean having people around you – even highly responsive and compassionate people.

To feel supported, we need to feel we have truly been seen, heard and understood by somebody who genuinely cares.

We also need to feel completely safe with that person. This is absolutely crucial for healing to occur.

3. Feeling safe is not a cognitive decision. It’s not something we can convince ourselves of, or can talk ourselves into believing. We don’t feel safe because we’re told someone is safe.

Instead, safety is something we experience intuitively, and at a gut level.

We need to feel – deep down inside – that we matter to this person, and the fact that we are suffering truly matters to them, too.

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Trauma and Sleep

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Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs.” ― Bessel A. van der Kolk

If you have experienced a trauma of some kind, your brain will now be programmed to expect danger or threat. So, even in the night, it will remain on high alert. It does this on its own, outside of conscious awareness.

In summary:

1. The brain will start to release a cascade of hormones. This disturbs our sleep, and usually wakens us up, as it prepares to set in motion the fight/ flight/ freeze response. This happens even when the risk or the danger has passed.

2. Trauma disturbs our normal sleep architecture. This means it interferes with the way we move through the different sleep cycles. REM sleep is the stage which…

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Lessons I’ve Learned from Loss

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The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief.” – Hilary Stanton Zunin

1. The people we love won’t always be around. Life can change in an instant, and permanently. Once it’s over, it’s over, and there’s no going back.

2. Loss shows us that time passes and comes to an end. The things that used to matter don’t matter any more. Grief crystallizes values and what matters most in life.

3. Grief follows its own schedule and trajectory. There isn’t a right way to work through grief. You take it as it comes, and take it one step at a time. It can’t be planned in advance, and it’s unpredictable.

4. Although life moves on around you as though nothing has changed, it’s OK if you focus on, and honour, what you’ve lost. Your grief is real and valid, and you should give…

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You Don’t Need to Find a Lesson in your Trauma

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“You don’t need to find a lesson in your trauma.” — Jordan Pickell,


1. Because you were never meant to suffer like this. There wasn’t some lesson you needed to learn. You’re an innocent victim; it’s completely undeserved.

2. You need to focus all your strength on your recovery. The damage is extensive, and reverberates through time. You’re not going to heal and recover easily. It’s impossible to cope and live a normal life right now.

3. Just coping with the triggers is a draining full-time job. And you won’t have the energy to deal with other things. You need to take it slowly. Take it one step at a time.  This never should have happened. It is shocking and unjust.

4. Be there for you. That is all you need to do. Don’t try to look for reasons. Don’t ever blame yourself. Self-compassion and self-kindness are your…

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You’re not going crazy, and you’re not alone

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I keep so much pain inside myself. I grasp my anger and loneliness and hold it in my chest. It has changed me into something I never meant to be. It has transformed me into a person I do not recognize.”

Almost everyone who’s experienced trauma will resonate with these painful words. We experience depths of pain we never knew were possible. And we react in ways that shake and shock us to our core.

If you feel this way, you are not alone. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy. And you’re not the only one.

These are normal reactions to traumatic life events. When your world is ripped apart, and nothing’s certain anymore.

What other kinds of things might you be grappling with?

– Re-experiencing the pain at unexpected times. Suddenly being hit by uncontrollable emotions.

– Being highly reactive, and over-reacting to minor offences or neutral events.

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Some Thoughts on Ongoing Traumatic Reactions

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Unlearning trauma also means unlearning the behaviors you adopted and inherited as survival tactics.

Traumatic reactions made absolute sense in the aftermath of something shocking and life-changing. But for many of us there comes a time when being triggered so often starts to feel like a life sentence.

So what can we do when we feel this way?

1. The first thing to do is to acknowledge to ourselves that these were very normal, understandable reactions. In fact, they were necessary at the time. They were your brain and body’s way of taking care of you. They were ways of protecting you from further harm and pain.

2. So, thank your brain and body for taking care for you. For being totally committed to protecting you from harm. What they offered was a gift. And you appreciate that gift. You were there for yourself when it really, really…

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Living with Grief

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As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves.

When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the shipthat was, and is no more. And all you can do is float.

You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float.

After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still…

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It Isn’t Over Till It’s Over

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Four years ago Kelsey didn’t own a bike. She was good at athletics. She loved a heap of sports. But being a cyclist was far from her mind.

In fact, four years ago she was out of job. So, she took anything to escape poverty. She was working spraying weeds in some ditches in Alberta. Yet, Kelsey believed she was destined for more. She dared to believe she could achieve some lofty goal.

Kelsey started to train, and to get back in shape. She ran in her lunch breaks to build up her strength. After work, in the evenings, she went to the gym. And then she decided to take a huge brave step.

She chose to sign up for RBC Training Ground, a program that’s designed to scout potential talent out.

And today, Kelsey Mitchell’s an Olympic medallist. She won the gold medal in the track cycling race. It…

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Why People don’t Talk about their Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope

There are things that nobody talks about. There are things that are absolutely taboo. So when you experience these things yourself, you feel isolated. Completely alone. Judged. Ostracized. Abandoned in your pain. And that is a terrible place to be. Here’s how you feel when this happens to you – You feel as if you’re […]

Why People don’t Talk about their Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope

How to Cope with Flashbacks

Don't Lose Hope

Healing is not an overnight process. It takes time. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re finally feeling better, and then the wound will reopen and bleed. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Keep on taking it one step at a time.”

Flashbacks are a feature of PTSD that are hard to manage, as well as being distressing. Below are some suggestions for helping you to cope:

1. First, tell yourself that you are having a flashback. Give it a name. This can help create a sense of control when we feel we’re at the mercy of overwhelming feelings.

2. Remind yourself that the worst is over. You already know the truth, and you’ve faced up to the truth. So, the feelings and sensations you’re experiencing right now are merely memories related to the past (discovering the terrible truth for the first time). That event is over. It’s not happening…

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No Regrets

Don't Lose Hope

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bonnie Ware’s book: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. This was based on her work in palliative care.

The fact is, we all make choices everyday which affect the trajectory of our lives. These often feel unconscious and insignificant. And yet, over time, they become significant. They can cause us to miss out, and they can change who we become. It happens very slowly …. But it happens, all the same.

So what sorts of things did the dying regret? And what can we learn from their experience?

Regret # 1.I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Some questions to ask yourself ….

“What does it mean for you to be authentic, and true to yourself?

“What exactly does that look like?” Try to be as…

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Ditching the Emotional Baggage

Don't Lose Hope

“Ditch your emotional baggage, and just be.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it. And, honestly, isn’t that what we’d all love to do. But these peoples don’t go on to lay out a plan of how you can quickly to get rid of the baggage.

Because there is no easy way. It doesn’t happen “just like that”.

You’re dealing with layers in the subconscious mind.

You’re dealing with what feels like a mystery. For the reactions you have are often shocking and surprising. They seem to defy reason. They feel outside your control.

And learning what they mean, and how to heal, and then move on, is a massive exercise. It can take you years and years.

So the next time you hear something trite and superficial … Give yourself a break. And don’t pressurize yourself. You’ve probably come further that you realize right now.

And if your mind…

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It’s Time for Some Self-Compassion

Don't Lose Hope

“Things I know about healing: Speaking kindly to yourself helps a lot.” – Unknown

I wonder why we seem to find it so hard to be kind to ourselves.

To listen to ourselves when we’re struggling and in pain.

To cut ourselves some slack when we feel cannot cope. Or when we feel we can’t let go. Or we find we can’t move on.

Those things all take time. They are really hard to do.

You don’t just find you’ve healed.

You don’t just blot out the past.

Making changes is a process. Two steps forwards. One step back.

A journey full of landmines. Full of triggers. Full of tears.

But do you know what makes a difference? Do you know what really helps?

Working on your self-compassion.

Being kind to yourself.

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Some Things I’ve Learned from Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

1. It requires specialist counselling. Although it is essential to talk about what happened, and to have your experienced witnessed by another, a counsellor or therapist needs additional training. They need to know what is normal when you’ve been traumatized, and especially when it comes to managing flashbacks, re-experiencing the trauma, and dissociation.

2. You feel you’re going crazy; you don’t recognize yourself. You fly off the handle at the smallest provocation. You react in scary and unexpected ways; and you no longer live on an even keel.

This is not who you were, or who you want to be. You feel you’ve lost yourself, and you’ve lost yourself forever.

3. You experience emotions you never felt before; and these feelings can be hard to bring under control. They’re overwhelming, intense and can be hard to dial down. And you never really know “what is going to set you off.”

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Yes, You Can Learn to Love Yourself

Don't Lose Hope


You are fine just as you are. You don’t need to prove a thing.”

Life often feels like one long competition. Who is the prettiest, smartest, funniest, most interesting … and so it goes on.

There is pressure to compare ourselves with one another, and that can often lead to massive self-doubt.

So what can do you do when the internal tapes are constantly saying that you don’t measure up?

It takes work to ignore, and to switch off, all those voices.

But you need to feel comfortable with yourself.

Think about it … You don’t want to feel that you’ve spent your whole life attacking yourself, and undermining your self-worth.

With that in mind:

1. Prioritize taking care of your health, and celebrate your body for all it does for you. Pay attention to your diet. Make sure you find some form of exercise you love, and can…

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I Think I’m Going Crazy

Don't Lose Hope

A girl who has lived through trauma has lived through a situation where her body, her mind, her self was not her own. Where she felt disjointed, ripped from her self, safety, and sanity. It was a moment, an experience, a something where her trust was smashed, her worth was gone, and all there was was pain.” – Victor Second

You’ve startled awake again at 3am. You’re shaking like a leaf. Sweat is pouring off your skin. You’re gripped by strong feelings of anxiety and fear, and you remember how you felt when you learned of the betrayal. The sudden punch in your stomach. Being curled up in shock. It’s déjà vu. You’ve been here so many times.

And now the adrenalin is surging and rushing through your veins. You’re completely awake; you’re on high alert. You’re mad that other people will believe that you’re to blame. You feel…

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