Triggering trauma: why your trauma should be addressed in health and wellness
I had just returned from my 15-minute allotted breaktime at my kitchen shift working at our local Waterpark. My friend was trying to get a hold of me, and as soon as she began speaking, I knew there was something wrong. She informed me that one of our closest friends had passed. As my eyes welled, my breath started to shorten, my heart raced, and my world was immediately shaken. I knew that in the blink of an eye my life would be changed forever. I was 17 years old when one of my best friends drowned unexpectedly. This is what trauma looks like.
I had recently moved to Bellingham, Washington from Salt Lake City, Utah and was looking for a job to help with expenses and keep a roof over my head. At a church basketball pickup game, I met a Chiropractor who had a new business and needed help with a bunch of paperwork. What’s more, he was willing to pay me under the table. I seized the opportunity because it was quick, easy cash. One month into my new secretarial position, I was managing my duties at the front desk and printing out some documents when I felt a pat on my rear. The only other person in the office was the chiropractor, who was standing a good 6’ 5” and hefty (explains why I met him at a church basketball game). I shrunk inside and literally panicked. The lump in my throat was probably the size of a golf ball. I don’t remember what I proceeded to do, but I know I didn’t acknowledge it for fear of what could happen next while I was alone with him. I quit the job immediately. To my knowledge, he is no longer in business. I was 22 years old when I was touched without consent, unexpectedly. This is what trauma looks like.
I was casually going about my airline ramp procedures, enjoying conversation with my co-workers when my cell phone rang. My mom was calling, so I took the chance to have a chat. The voice on the other end of the phone was my older brother Tyler. “Kevin (my step-Dad) is missing. They can’t find his plane.” It was like I was 17 all over again. I don’t remember anything but my brother’s first words, and I knew within the very pit of my being, my Dad was gone. He crashed his plane over the Denali National Forest while piloting a Piper to Gustavus from Juneau, Alaska. I went a few years later, and my Dad’s plane still rests atop those very trees. I was 23 years old when my second father passed away unexpectedly. This is what trauma looks like.
Trauma can strike at any time. Anywhere, and always UNEXPECTEDLY.
Trauma is an important part to analyze in anyone’s health and wellness journey because trauma impacts all areas of your life. Your trauma can be part of you without you even knowing. I know this to be true because I have lived through trauma, and I have the seedlings of trauma induced behaviors. If you’re thinking you don’t have trauma, I promise you everyone deals with trauma and none of us are invisible to it.
“I promise you everyone deals with trauma and none of us are invisible to it.”
Most traumatic events occur before the age of 18, but as I said before: trauma can strike at any time. It does not have to be a catastrophic event and all of us react to trauma differently.
For myself, I have learned to live through very traumatic events. I have not shared them all because in many ways I have not healed fully or completely to share them. With the stories above, I feel I have had the needed time to heal and can comfortably and compassionately talk about each.
Learning about my trauma has given me the ability to cope in a healthy way. My husband likes to remind me of how strong I am, dealing with the events that I have. I like to remind him that I still am sad but because of my strong support system and role models I am able to be strong. Not only that, my own self-care practices have given me huge benefits for coping with trauma. Some of the ways I care for myself are:
Reading self-help and fiction
Journaling Gratitude, Desire and Awareness Practice
Getting outdoors through walking and hiking
Finding new hobbies like houseplants
By empowering myself with these tools, I am able to understand my feelings better. I am able to see that there is positive in my life. I am able to cope in a healthy way. When you don’t implement healthy ways to cope with your trauma you rely on your body’s own inner workings to figure it out.
You may not be able to positively handle that, and this is where you could create and exacerbate an issue. Psychological symptoms of trauma left unchecked, look like:
Inability to focus
Feeling unimportant or unworthy
Low self- esteem
Difficulty sleeping or eating
The ramifications of psychological trauma can have far reaching effects. All of the above listed will affect your health and wellness. This is why it is important to talk about trauma. This can not be medicated out of you; it has to be worked through.
Other physical issues that can ravage your system also include cardiovascular disease due to chronic inflammation, indigestion, insufficient detoxification, hormonal imbalances, muscle tension and sexual dysfunction. The list goes on and on.
Trauma is at the core of many of our very own problems with our health and our everyday lives. It isn’t something that is talked about in the health and wellness sphere, but I have come to realize through my training at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, just how debilitating trauma can be.
As someone who has suffered trauma from a very young age, I will tell you it is not easy to not have your thoughts and beliefs shaped by trauma. An example in my own life where my personal trauma plays out is:
When my husband leaves for work every week to fly, I am generally anxious, stressed, sad, lonely, and nervous about him leaving and returning. I have always wondered why I have these feelings, but they did not subside, and they still continue to rise up. This is my trauma of my Dad crashing his plane, as well as it being my second dad to pass. It feeds my fear that something bad could happen at any moment and that I should be hyper vigilant to seize any moment I can with my husband.
This wound has been re-opened with a recent death of someone who was a sister to me. Even with coping mechanisms and practices, your trauma can surface, but it is better to be prepared for when it does start to bubble over into your life through symptoms and physical issues.
As the frontline of the airline world, airline employees should address their own traumas. The stresses of a variable schedule, dealing with people of all backgrounds, and being of service to others consistently breeds an environment that can become a big trauma meltdown. Your body can only serve you as well as you serve it. Transforming your trauma story can be a big step in finally achieving the sustainable fitness lifestyle you desire.
“To combat the stresses of trauma, adding movement and solid nutrition into your day can be of invaluable service to you.”
To combat the stresses of trauma, adding movement and solid nutrition into your day can be of invaluable service to you. This is part of transforming your trauma and finding healthy ways to cope with said trauma. I would love to work with you through my 12-week ready set resistance program, or cater to your nutritional needs with my Milehigh Mealprep E-book. Or feel free to set up a call with me HERE and we can talk about how to transform your trauma.