There is a song by Lana Del Rey called “Summertime Sadness”. It’s a love song bidding someone we love farewell. It’s stuffed with loss, adrenaline, and recklessness. The video, in as heartbreaking as pop music can get kind of way, encapsulates what it feels like to lose something we value.
I think we can all relate to loss in this way. It might even be a belief about ourselves or about someone else. Whether it feels like our fault, out of our hands, or a complete catastrophe.
When we are safe, we are free to love. Trauma is anything that pulls the rug from under us and steals our freedom in the midst of safety. Then we scramble to take back control in order to not feel our feelings.
Trauma is anything that pulls the rug from under us and steals our freedom in the midst of safety.
You know that feeling when you are having a conversation with a friend about where to meet for dinner then a car rear-ends you? We gasp at the shock of the event and the loss of safety in the present moment.
How about when you are planning a romantic date with your significant other only to find they were seeing someone else? We lose heart in that moment. It’s like being hit in the stomach and the wind leaving your body with a deep heaving sound.
These moments sear pain into our minds. We burn our ideas of safety and make vows soaked in control. We shut down. We rage. We cry. We struggle. We try to get up again. However, it’s hard to rise again because pain and loss now trigger a chain of similar events in our past that are marked and protected with a crime tape of toxic shame and negative thoughts. Then we wholeheartedly attach to these survival beliefs.
For example: “I knew I was always a bad driver. I am not good at anything. I am not enough.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him. I can’t trust anyone. I can’t trust myself. “
Each. Story. Has. A. Root.
Each. Story. Has. A. Root.
The triggered event causes anxiety, pain, physical symptoms, and harm. Trauma comes to everyone one way or another. One way to heal is to go back to the first memory when you first believed the root. This may be as early as 5, 6, 7 years old.
Most people that I have come across in my work hold a story that they continue to play out in their life. Take a root for example. It begins to grow some sick plants that are not flourishing. If the root heals, so does the entire flower.
Unresolved trauma ends up becoming grief that needs a safe place to come out. Once you can identify the first time you began believing a toxic belief about yourself then you are able to truly grieve the loss of your freedom. With some willingness, work and time, you are well on your way to becoming the healthy root system that allows everything around it to flourish.
Once you can identify the first time you began believing a toxic belief about yourself then you are able to truly grieve the loss of your freedom.
Are you ready to start working on unresolved trauma in your life? We can help. Call today to start the process. 615-499-5453.
Christen Johnson is a therapist at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, Tennessee. She spent her post-graduate internship at the Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville where she gained experience working with women in crisis pregnancy situations and with young women and men who struggled with depression, anxiety, relationship issues and personality disorders. She is also trained in Trauma-Focused Behavioral-Cognitive Therapy (TF-BCT).