I wanted to share with you what I have learned about trauma throughout the past 12 months and share with you how I have dealt with it so far. I please know that I state “so far” because trauma and grief have sneaky ways of creeping up on you when you least expect it. For me it is managing the trauma when first experienced, but also engaging strategies for when it sneaks up on you afterwards as well.
First I would like to share with you some of the traumatic experiences I have personally experienced throughout the past 12 months.
What most people would experience over a number of years, we have managed to experience in 1.
In the last 12 months,
- We farewelled my sister’s best mate - her awesome 16 year old dog Indi
- Our Stepfather Douglas passed
- We nearly lost our mother to a very bad case of pneumonia
- We packed up and moved my sister’s house in with mum
- Our older sister had emergency surgery for implant removal (which if left any longer could have ended her life with sepsis)
- Our dad was diagnosed with cancer and had Chemotherapy as well as other complications
- Dad them collapsed in his home and nearly died.
- My sister and I cleared 32 tonnes of garbage from my father’s home (this took 3 weeks)
- I was hospitalised with influenza A and an acute respiratory infection, with pharyngitis
- My sister and I (in between all of the above) have both maintained jobs as well as sold a house each.
I am pretty sure that that summarises most of the big life changing experiences we have been through in the past 12 months. Far out. That is a lot to process. Not all of these experiences have to be traumatic for each of us, but when you have one after of these BIG life changing experiences, you do not have time to process one experience before the next one hits. I liken it to being in the ocean and you see a wave coming, so you hold your breath and duck under the wave. But when you surface, you are faced with a whole set of waves – there is no time to completely catch your breath and it leaves you feeling completely exhausted and gasping for air.
Being unable to process your emotions before the next traumatic experience happens can lead to overwhelming emotions, breakdowns, illness, PTSD and more. You just feel like you cannot come up for air and can find yourself bottling up emotions to “soldier on” or alternatively just shutting down and not wanting to do anything.
One thing is for certain and that is, these experience definitively bring about change in our lives. Something that I have learned is that “change” is not about what happens to us on the outside in our lives. Change is about how we respond to it. Change always brings personal growth – soul expansion.
Some of you may have heard me use one of my favourite lines, “Do you want it to be hard or easy?” Because we always have choice and how we process and react to different situations does matter.
If you think it will be hard, it will be. If you think it will be easy, it will be. It is about how we respond to these experiences. There are times when we will experience things that are hard and traumatic and it won’t feel “easy”. Easy doesn’t mean feeling joy in the face of trauma. Easy means doing the best you can to process the experience. Easy means not fighting or resisting the experience. Easy is allowing yourself to move through your own emotions at your own pace and doing what you can.
What I will also add in here is that Source (God) never gives you an experience that you are not able to handle. You may not be able to “control” them, but you will be able to manage. So be gentle on yourself and those around you when going through traumatic experiences.
So how do you know when you are experiencing trauma?
What I have learned is that it is important to listen to yourself and understand your emotions and any states that you feel yourself being in.
Signs of trauma can include (but not limited to) the following symptoms:
- Shock, denial, disbelief
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Anxiety, fear
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad, hopeless
- Feeling Disconnected, numb
- Feelings of disempowerment, grief, despair
All of the above are low vibrational emotions or states on our emotional scale. What we also know is that when we are in low vibration, this is when we can feel physical pain, become ill and attract even more low vibrational energy to us.
It is okay to feel these low vibrations. We are human and this is a part of our soul experience. The secret is to experience these emotions, but not stay in them for long periods of time.
But what happens when it is just one wave of trauma after another and you don’t have time to catch your breath?
The following points are how I maintained being a high functioning human whilst experiencing 12 months of trauma and low vibration. There were 6 things that I knew I needed to feel in order to move through the trauma and feel as though I could still breathe.1. Being Grounded
Whether practising grounding and connecting within my mind or physically standing on the earth’s surface, grounding was one of the most important practices for me to have. I needed to be so grounded that nothing could sway me. Being grounded meant that it didn’t matter what was thrown at me, I remained resilient and connected into mother earth. Yes. Even in hospital I grounded. Mother Earth provides us with everything we need. If you are experiencing trauma, connect in with Mother Earth energy. Get barefoot on the ground, go for a walk, put your feet in the ocean or even hug a tree. Alternatively, you can practice grounding through creative visualisation techniques.
2. Know that you are Whole
Remind yourself that you are not broken. You are whole. Mind, body, soul and emotions. Trauma does not happened to you, it happens for you, because Source knows that you can manage the experience and grow. Sometimes these experiences are also not about you, they are about the people around you. So come from a place of knowing that you are whole. Acknowledge that you are experiencing low vibrational emotions and that this is okay because you are not broken. While you are in this physical world you will always be whole. You are mind, body, soul and emotionally human.Even in expressing low vibration emotions of grief and disempowerment, I knew that I was whole.
The other thing that “whole” reminded me of was eating whole foods. I consistently reminded myself to eat well so that I still had energy to manage what was going on around me. Even at times I didn’t feel hungry, I still prepared a meal and ate something because I knew that no food means no energy to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate comfort food! However I didn’t tell myself off because I knew that I was still eating some whole foods. (And drinking plenty of water.) So remember to eat well – even if you don’t feel like it. It fuels your body with energy so you can keep going.
Feeling whole also enabled me to just listen when other people needed to vent, express or share. When you feel whole, you don’t feel the need to respond to other people’s emotions or take other people’s emotions on board. Even though you might be experiencing emotions of grief, knowing that you are whole helps you to become more aware of other people and you will discover that you are able to listen to them and allow them to express without reacting to the other persons emotions.
This was an interesting one for me to focus on throughout each of the experiences I had. I felt like I needed to be “connected” – for me this means connecting into Spirit Guides, Source and other people’s energy so I am able to gain insight and provide them with support. Being connected is a natural state for me to be in at all times.
Gee was I wrong! During each of these experiences, I discovered that I was not able to spiritually / energetically connect in as well as I wanted to with family in these situations. In fact, during the time with my father in Sydney, there was no way I could have provided my services at all. It felt as though a thick cloak had been place over me for my own protection and conservation of my energy.
Being connected is all about being connected with other people.
It is having clear communication – and lots of it. Keeping connections with people active and allowing other people to help - this was a big one for me because I am so used to not asking for help and I really learned how to do this better throughout these experiences.
Being connected is also about sharing detail, information and how you are feeling and coping. Being connected is a vital part of being able to manage trauma. Whilst going through these experiences, communication was key for us. Whether it was minute by minute conversations with my sister or communicating my feelings with other people. I had to learn to open up and trust that I was not on my own and that I have an amazing network of close friends around me who want to support me and help.
It’s important to be productive throughout these experiences. And sometimes just for the sake of being busy and having purpose. I certainly needed to feel like I was doing something. (This wasn’t a hard reach as there was plenty to do in each experience) But I did have to get clear on what actions had to be taken as well as having a list of actions that I could draw on so I wasn’t left feeling idle. I learned quickly to write the list, talk with people, strategise, come up with a plan, prioritise tasks and then have the ability to be flexible so I could easily move with any changes. I also learned not to see only one way of doing things – everything needed to be discussed with other people and agreed upon. There are always several ways to go about things. Some of my productivity had strong purpose, at other times it was just me keeping busy.
Make a list of basic activities that you can do that will help you feel productive. Being productive can be as simple as making a meal, having a coffee, making a single phone call, having a shower or even going for a walk or making your bed or as big as how to pack up a house or organise a function.
Do make sure that you also plan some down time as part of your being productive strategy, even if it is just for a cup of coffee or standing on the earth to reset and ground your energy. You might even consider TV time or sleep time for yourself. Down time can often be just as productive as taking action.
We need to know we have a purpose throughout traumatic experiences. This is why having an action plan and strategies (being productive) is important because you can look at this list and work out the purpose – the why it was being or needed to be done.
Purposeful also means taking action that means something to you (or to someone else). Throughout my traumatic experiences, I became engaged in the process of looking at end results – what outcome I wanted from each situation.
It is important to also be clear about the purpose in a positive way, not negative. Sydney really tested me on this one, “Why is it me that has to do this?”, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” I kept this in check by thinking about being purposeful. Thinking about the “why” I was doing this and about end results rather than thinking about me personally. I can assure you this is not easy when there ae so many heightened emotions that you are experiencing, however it kept bringing my focus back onto the task at hand.
The last thing you want in these situations is to feel like a victim. We all go through these hard life experiences and being in a victim mentality really impacts purpose in a negative way. When coming from a victim mentality, we have a tendency to blame other people and react to small things that irritate us. This attitude can prevent you from feeling purposeful. Again, we are never given anything we cannot manage – it is how we respond to these situations that matters.
It is way more effective to focus on ways that you can feel purposeful.
6. Self Love
We can find the practice of self-love hard enough during usual day to day life so during times of trauma, self-love can be something that is not thought about at all. Self-love is of vital importance during times of trauma as it helps us to centre, balance and connect with our higher self (Our soul).
The activities in my “Self-Love Check In” book were one of the ways that I personally managed self-love. My sister and I did these activities every day during each of these experiences. As you may have heard me say, “I never ask anyone to do something that I would not be prepared to do myself.” Knowing that the activities in my book are tried and tested, I employed them once again to help me manage my own self love and pull through these experiences feeling grounded and whole.
Eating well was also about self-love for me but one of the biggest actions to take was making sure I slept. Sleeping is really important when experiencing traumatic experiences. Sleep helps your body to reset, to relax and to heal so that you are able to get up and face everything the next day. I used my 10 point relaxation method each day to help my body relax. The other strategy I use on a daily basis is to write down lists and other activities that needed to be actioned. Dumping this detail on a page allows what’s whirring through your mind to be pulled out of your head and put onto paper. This actually helps me sleep better too as I am able to turn my brain off at night.
The final point of self-love is the art of allowing. Allowing myself to cry, to feel anger, to feel sadness and grief and even throughout all the trauma, allowing yourself to laugh. Tunning into your feelings, really identifying what you are feeling, enables you to express and not keep everything bottled up inside you. Self-Love is so important during these trying times.
If you are experiencing trauma at any level, consider how you need to feel.
Grounded – Either through creative visualisation or engaging with Mother Earth, make sure you ground daily and even throughout the day if you feel you need it
Whole - Know that you are not broken – you are whole. Also eat whole foods! Knowing you are whole will help you listen to other people without reacting to their emotions.
Connected – Be connected with other people. Keeping communication open and frequent. Trust that other people want to help. You are never truly alone.
Productive – Plan strategies to keep you busy. Write lists, communicate with other people what actions need to be taken. Also plan for personal down time as well as simple activities you can do so you feel busy and productive.
Purposeful – Be focused on tasks that provide purpose. Be clear with intended outcomes. Stay out of “victim” mentality. Blaming others does not provide you with purpose. Instead focus your energy on outcomes and what you can do.
Self-Loving – Engage in activities that result in self-love (you can purchase my book here), eat well, exercise if this feels like self-love and try to schedule in sleep for yourself. When you practice self-love, you become more grounded and balanced and are able to tackle just about anything in a positive way.