Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, denied, misunderstood and untreated cause of human suffering. Peter Levine.
This week I read about two police officers who recently committed suicide. The suggestion was that stress and trauma related to their work was the likely cause. I’m sure that is true.
There is stigma in society as a whole around mental health; among the police, military and emergency responders even more so.
All too often, those who have managed to cope with the effects of trauma expect everyone else to be able to do so. It can be seen as weakness to need help when suffering from shock and mental or emotional overwhelm; certainly not something one wants on one’s personal records to imperil future promotion. Yet it is not frowned upon if a person seeks medical help to heal from physical and visible injury such as burns, a broken leg or cancer.
Research shows that trauma alters the functioning of the brain affecting the prefrontal cortex known as the “Thinking Center,” the anterior cingulate cortex known as the “Emotion Regulation Center” and the amygdala known as the “Fear Center.”
It can be extremely frightening, after the impact of trauma, to find that one’s thoughts and emotions have shaken out of balance. I know, both from my own experience after a car accident and from the many people I have helped overcome the effects of stress and trauma. It’s bad enough having to deal with the practicalities and handle injury and physical pain. It can be very frightening indeed to unexpectedly find one is forgetful, emotional and fearful of everyday situations. The good news is that with increasing research comes greater understanding.
The brain, as well as the body, can heal. There are practices and protocols to relieve and recover from trauma and thrive.
I will be posting more information on trauma relief and recovery over the coming weeks.