As a trauma survivor, have you ever:
• Looked at your notes after class as though they were written in a different language?
• Been consistently challenged with short-term memory?
• Feel as though you struggle to understand or retain new information?
• Read the same material multiple times only to not understand it?
• Feel as though you live in fog?
Repeated experiences of traumatic events can cause memory and cognitive abilities to seem impaired.
A person may experience feelings of extreme frustration and feel incapable of learning and retaining new information. This, in turn, can lead to anxiety, depression, or both. Believing they are limited in their learning capabilities, a new belief develops that recovery is impossible, giving up hope for learning and achieving their dreams and goals.
Trauma can affect adult learning. When we experience a traumatic event, our autonomic nervous system is activated, causing the cognitive portions of our brain to cease normal functions.
The primitive brain takes over to ensure our survival.
In addition to operating with a primitive brain, adrenaline and cortisol pour through the body, causing it to overwork, our immune system becomes inflamed, and our capacity to concentrate severely impaired. This is part of why it’s so difficult to concentrate and make well-informed decisions in the moment of a single traumatic event.
Recovery from psychological trauma IS possible. The importance of the mind-body connection is gaining attention as we develop more understanding of the impact of trauma on learning.
Studies and new tools are developing rapidly toward realistic, affordable, and safe alternative recovery treatments focusing on the mind-body connection, show positive results in lasting changes and recovery.
A promising field to pay attention to is somatic energy healing. Bodily awareness focuses on bridging the gap — making a connection– between our physiological and psychological symptoms. Somatic energy healing practices assist with self-regulation through healing tools such as journaling, breathwork, meditation, movement.
Each of the four modalities creates a powerful connection between the mind and the physical sensations our memories of trauma relay to our body, by reducing tension and restoring focus.
Realistically, the mind and the body are connected, but an emotional disconnect from the body occurs due to a traumatic event. With consistent use, somatic energy healing practices have been shown to improve self- regulation and emotional release, in turn assisting with restoration of normal brain and body functions.
There’s one more important point to share. This work can be done alone, but my experience through co-regulation — support, encouragement, and mirroring from others — increases the validity that I am not alone.
The more I practice each of these healing modalities, the more my cognitive functions are returning. There are times I am still challenged “brain fog”, and days when my frustration with the inability to grasp simple concepts feels overwhelming. However, I’m seeing the effects of consistent use of these tools everyday as my ability to understand and learn is restored and my fears of being seen as unintelligent are alleviated.
On May 23rd, I’ll be holding a free online session, “Writing for Recovery.” In this session, you’ll learn the importance of journaling and ways to remain motivated to journal consistently. Journaling is one of four crucial healing modalities for trauma recovery. I invite you to join me! Message me for details.
Grow with Love.