Something happened–maybe one horrible thing, maybe many–and you can’t seem to get past it. You’ve tried ignoring it but then you scroll through facebook and see a reminder. You tried reminding yourself you’re safe now but then you walk outside and everything feels out of control. You’ve tried talking to your friends about what happened and they’re supportive but they just don’t get it.
Therapy helps when friends can’t.
There was a time when you’d call your friend at 11pm in a panic, she’d listen and try to remind you that you’re okay now, but after awhile you started to worry she’s getting overwhelmed by you and so it got harder and harder for you to reach out when you’re struggling. Now everything you try to keep everything tied up neatly inside your heart…but you still feel like crap and you think there’s something wrong with you.
There’s nothing wrong with you. Something happened to you.
When horrible things happen, your world turns upside down…and it might take all the strength you have left to whisper “I need help” but there are voices shouting in your head about how you’vre broken, you’ve been ruined and everything is different.
It might feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop it it might seem like you’ll never feel safe again, never feel okay again, and maybe worst of all, you may have no one who understands.
Trauma leaves you feeling hopelessly disconnected.
Just as rainy days turn into sunshine, painful memories, intense anxiety, terrifying nightmares, never feeling safe, and not knowing who or how to trust, can all change when you lean into the discomfort a little at a time and let me guide you to the other side. I won’t tell you it will be fun or easy. At times, it will be painful and maybe even embarrassing and I will always take you as you are. I have training in specific forms of therapy, like EMDR and IFS, that can change how you feel about what has happened to you.
Come, sit with me and let me show you what safe can feel like.
What is trauma?
There are more definitions of trauma than I can count and I used to have a pretty technical-sounding definition full or psychological jargon here…until I realized that it’s most likely your pain that brought you here not your quest for scholarly knowledge.
Trauma is something in the past that sticks with you in an overwhelmingly negative way. The thing is, I can’t give you a list of traumatic events because it is not the event itself that is traumatic, it’s your brain’s reaction to it. Think about any natural disaster–there are people who got frightened yet had the capacity and resources to cope AND there are people whose lives were forever changed, who couldn’t cope, who couldn’t process the horrible thing that had just happened.
You get to decide what is and what is not traumatic, not some list in a textbook.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for “post-traumatic stress disorder” and this is a mental health diagnosis. There is a set of diagnostic criteria your therapist or psychiatrist or doctor uses to evaluate if a person has PTSD or not. Clearly trauma and PTSD are intimately related. Without trauma, there is no PTSD. The picture below outlines the symptoms of PTSD.
Can trauma and PTSD get better?
Absolutely. That’s what I do.
I offer some specific types of therapy focused on healing the overwhelming feelings you have and getting you back to the life you want to be living.
For lots of people, EMDR can be an effective way to treat trauma. By gently stimulating the brain (no touching or wires or creepy things), we can reshape the way your brain reacts to memories of what happened. The memories will still be there, but the terror and paralysis and shame will disappear. Note however, it’s not magic and things you read online will say EMDR can heal trauma in 4-8 sessions, for most people, that’s not the case. If you want to learn more, set up a consultation with me or read through my EMDR page.
If you get paralyzed by fear and shame to the point where words don’t work–expressive arts therapy can help. It can help you find a way to express what’s going on inside when words are too raw or the right words just don’t exist. You can get to know parts of yourself and your story in a different way when you draw, paint, and shape them.
Want to know more about trauma and PTSD?
Check out the various links on my resources page.