“Since that day I feel like my body is no longer my own. It’s on such high alert that it doesn’t let me sleep or eat. My stomach refuses to digest my food. I have headaches almost every day and I can’t concentrate or remember anything.”

“Even though I strive to put the event out of my mind, my brain betrays me and zeros in on the horror of those moments. My thoughts are spinning, with nowhere to land. My emotional reactions are like a panther attacking anyone that twitches in my direction . . . usually it is my husband and kids. Yesterday I lost it on a co-worker just because she moved my stapler without asking me. I am losing it! I am so embarrassed and ashamed and scared. I just want to run away and hide!”

“I was 17 when I experienced my first panic attack. Soon I was unable to go to work, abruptly ending my modeling career. Things seemed to normalize and years passed where I would realize I was anxious but I did not have a lot of debilitating panic attacks. There were even years where I had few or no symptoms at all, and life went on, for the most part, prettynormally.“

“When the second minor traumatic event occurred I travelled back in time, as though the last eight years had not happened at all. It re-triggered me and I experienced again the original violent movie. When I sought help from a Bayridge therapist I began to understand that I suffered with PTSD and that anxiety and panic were the result of it, not the other way around.”

Most Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the symptoms of trauma?

  • Feelings of shock, denial or disbelief, fear, sadness or shame
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Physical symptoms of nausea, dizziness, headaches, tummy problems
  • Withdrawing from others, experiencing nightmares, insomnia, emotional outbursts, obsessiveness and panic
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Flashbacks

Are There Different Kinds of Trauma?

Mental health professionals use simple terms to describe the two different kinds of trauma – Big T and Little T.

Big T trauma is usually defined as a real or perceived life-threatening event such as an earthquake, a motor vehicle accident, or a kidnapping. Little T trauma is most often distinguished by non-life-threatening events that are challenging one to cope. This could be a sudden death, an affair or divorce, a job loss or abuse. However, a Little T trauma can still cause the same severe symptoms as aBig T trauma.

Trauma Facts

  • There are millions of people who suffer from undiagnosed PTSD.
  • More women than men suffer from PTSD.
  • Sometimes it takes years for symptoms to manifest.
  • Not everyone suffering with trauma or PTSD experiences flashbacks.
  • You do not have to suffer a trauma for you to experience PTSD.
  • Trauma is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
  • When someone experiences domestic violence, they can experience PTSD.
  • Automobile crashes and PTSD often meet by accident.
  • Among juvenile girls identified by the courts as delinquent, more than 75% have been sexually abused.
  • As many as 80% of individuals in psychiatric hospitals have experienced physical or sexual abuse, most of them as children.
  • Nearly 90% of women diagnosed with alcoholism were sexually abused as children or suffered severe abuse.
  • Boys who experience or witness violence are 1,000 times more likely to commit violence than those who do not.

Fact Sheet from the NVIPC at CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/tbi.htm
Ref: Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: A Report to Congress, CDC, Dec 1999

How does Past Trauma Affect Children and Adults Development?

Experiencing trauma at an early age can rewire your brain.

Experiencing some stressful situations as a child, like going to school for the first time or going to their first birthday party alone and meeting new people, is often good for developing coping skills to deal with difficult emotions. However, as a child experiences toxic stress or trauma that they cannot process effectively, the trauma can have adverse impacts on not only mental health but also on the wiring in the brain.

Harvard University reports prolonged toxic stress can send the parts of the brain that deal with fear, anxiety and impulse into overdrive. The main culprit is the stress hormone, a chemical known as cortisol. For young people whose brains are still developing, the release of cortisol overburdens the channels that regulate stress responses in the brain. The channels become hyper-adaptive making children more sensitive to stress as the age.

How is Trauma Stored in our Body?

Sometimes people think it is all in our mind. However, studies from Harvard Medical School indicate that trauma is not just all in your head. Trauma also physically imprints your body. The actual emotional and physical reactions to traumatic events seem to leave us more vulnerable to other health conditions like cardiac issues, stroke, obesity, cancer, addictions, and diabetes.

What is Trauma Bonding?

Bonding is how we attach to another person. It is the glue of relationships. Healthy bonding takes place through high trust, love, play, nurturing, healthy touch and hugging, and shared activities.

Bonding can, however, be achieved through toxic bonding or ‘trauma bonding’. This refers to emotional attachment to another person/family member through repeated toxic or abusive patterns There is usually a highly seductive reward that keeps a person loyal and staying bonded despite abusive toxic behaviours.

Signs of Trauma Bonding

  • You feel stuck or powerless in a relationship.
  • You are made to feel ashamed or less than.
  • You have doubts that you can trust them.
  • When friends point out their toxic characteristics you defend them.
  • You know the relationship is abusive but you just focus on the good.
  • The relationship is intense and complicated.
  • You walk on eggshells.

Get Help

If you feel you are in a trauma-bonded relationship please, please reach out to talk to someone. Our online counselling platform is a perfect way to confidentially begin healing.

Do I need professional help?

Untreated trauma will likely have a long-term effect on your physical, emotional, mental and relational health.

The process of healing is rarely a sprint but more like a long-distant run. While it may be assisted by medication, medication is not the treatment for trauma. Finding the right, experienced trauma therapist is the first step. If it is a Little T trauma, online therapy can work for you. When it is a Big T trauma you may choose to reach out for face-to-face therapy.

At Bayridge our specialized trauma therapists will let you know if online therapy is for you.

What is important to understand is there have been extremely effective therapy processes developed for healing trauma. There are lots of reasons to be hopeful.

What types of therapy are there for trauma?

There is no cure or quick fix for the suffering associated with trauma. However, there is much that can be accomplished through therapy.

Trauma survivors are best served by working with a psychotherapist or therapy that is trauma-focused or trauma-informed. Most trauma-informed therapists will employ a combination of therapy modalities.

Psychotherapy may use exposure therapies to help with desensitization. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps challenge negative thoughts and behavior patterns; EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing uses the strategies of cognitive reprocessing that allows the survivor to reprocess memories and events. Body focused therapies use the body to process trauma. These include Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Hypnosis, mindfulness, trauma-sensitive yoga, art therapy, and play therapy can also help. And last, many people use medications – primarily antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications – which can make symptoms less intense and more manageable while working through the healing process.

How do you know if you struggle with childhood trauma?

Scientists have discovered elevated levels of cortisol in children can also impact their brain’s and body’s ability to regulate important functions like their immune system. It also changes the structure of the parts of your brain responsible for memory and learning. In other words, trauma can have a major impact on their life, right down to their brain structure.

How Does Trauma Affect Our Brain?

If you or I dropped a computer from a seven- or eight-foot height, we might find that the trauma of that impact may affect the effectiveness of how the computer processes and remembers. Our brain is like a super computer. If it experiences trauma, either from a blunt head trauma or an emotionally charged and unexpected event, it does affect the functioning of the brain. In actual fact, the brain begins to regress to very simple methods of recording signals and encoding traumatic memories as pictures and bodily sensations. This process is referred to as dissociation. This is splitting the memories and experiences into fragments. These split off past pieces of memories, smells, and feelings that become embedded like shrapnel in the mind and body, blocking the natural processes of present-day events. The memory and events do not get processed and stored in the correct files. This affects concentration, memory, processing and impulse control.

Trauma can cause our memory processing system to malfunction: the declarative explicit memory system fails, so the traumatic memory isn’t logged and stored properly.