Trauma is a universal theme, sadly.
Sitting next to my daughter in the emergency room for several hours turned out to be invigorating in a strange way recently.
I have a day job working on the front lines with abused children, and this year, I’ve been a staff trainer for interventions in addressing the Adverse Childhood Experience Study, the largest study that directly correlates childhood abuse and trauma with significantly compromised physical and mental health in middle-aged adults.
My daughter, nearly twenty-six, should be the picture of health. She exercises daily, eats a clean diet (for an American, surrounded by fast-food, preservatives, and all things processed), and has a solid support system, but she lives in excruciating chronic pain.
Her team of doctors finally rendered her diagnoses:
Fibromyalgia, irritable bowel with possible Crohn’s disease, Celiac Disease, all complicated by a vagus nerve disorder.
Life gets scary quickly for her, and the conditions pit one issue against the other. And then her heart stops beating altogether.
The doctors have been clear that nearly every issue is related to her exposure to domestic violence and later being a kidnap victim as a pre-schooler.
The up-side to having a smart daughter in chronic pain is that she’s open to all types of healing. Just because trauma gets trapped in the body doesn’t mean it has to linger there forever.
Here are a few proven methods that we’ve added to the list of traditional supports like therapy, physical therapy, and medication management that have resulted in less pain and more peace in her life.
Yoga is an amazing salve for emotional (and some kinds of physical) wounds, especially ho’oponopono yoga. The link has a wonderful post by blogger Stacey Shanks that gives more detail.
Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) are new in our world. Our amazing friend Dr. Linda Chamberlain, added TRE to her bag of tools, and led my daughter and I in an easy but impactful hour. Picture this: a zebra in Africa is chased by a lion. The zebra survives, but after the case is over, shakes uncontrollably for ten or twenty minutes. As humans, we’ve learned to stifle those shakes, and in that stifling process, the trauma gets locked inside us.
Massage has been a godsend for my daughter for help living more comfortably in her body.
Trauma leaves an indelible mark on it’s victim, but the symptoms can be both managed and even lessened by embracing the tools available to us. We may not have a choice on some of our experiences, but we always have choices in how we address them.