Sexual violence not only affects us long-term emotionally but for many, it also affects us physically.
I’m referring to the weight of shame we carry — the visible weight. It’s a sensitive topic, even for me, but it’s a topic I feel called to write about.
First, before you react, I am all about being who you are most comfortable with your body.Many people are comfortable with the extra weight and are absolutely beautiful inside and out. However, I am now physically aware of the personal health risk my weight poses, especially as I move along in years.
If, like me, you believe there’s the authentic version of you deep inside you have tried to free yourself from the mask of your weight, I encourage you to keep reading or listening.
Many trauma survivors have an ongoing war between the mind and body. We have tried multiple weight loss approaches, dozens of exercise routines. We may even lose a substantial amount of weight, only to have it return rapidly, further reducing our motivation to keep trying.
Recently I have given serious thought to “why” I have not been able to apply the same loving attention to my body as I have to my emotional health. My question led me to information many survivors aren’t made aware of.
Survivors are aware of the emotional impact of sexual violence. Still, not many are aware of the long-term physical effects, the first being many of us see being overweight as a solution, not a problem until it affects our physical and emotional health until the weight becomes too much to bear.Our solution of letting our body go is connected to our needs for inner safety. We don’t regard our lack of proper nutrition as the problem. The issue is the desire to find relief and protect our psyche from depression, anxiety, anger, fear, triggers, amd shame; however, instead, it leads to a severe disconnect of the mind from the body.
We sever the connection and disregard anything about the body. We cover ourselves in the protection of extra weight, believing if we are overweight, no one will be interested in harming us. This begins the painful cycle of slow self-destruction of which we may only be partially aware.
Here’s where it gets interesting. We are only in control of what we eat, but our trauma brain sets the routine for what happens to our bodies, nervous systems, and emotions after we eat. Trauma causes the continual release of an overabundance of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to weight gain. As long as the brain believes there is a threat, the process of dumping hormones and remaining in survival mode continues.
It’s not your fault! No matter how many diets, exercises, or ways we find to shame ourselves into losing weight, it won’t happen with long-term results until we understand the mechanisms and the connection, release our anger, and embrace with compassion our wounded adult-child.
For purposes of trauma recovery, it is vital to take an approach that focuses on both mind and body. Somatic energy healing combined with education is one way of closing the gap between the mind and body.
Somatic energy healing provides benefits such as reduced stress, increased body awareness, improved sleep patterns, emotional release, trigger reduction, high energy, emotional and physical detox, improved sexual performance, and reclaiming motivation and desire to connect with yourself and others.
I cannot promise this will be effective for you. As with all things, you get out of it what you put in. Commitment to recovery must be your choice — as much as it is for the lifestyle and body you choose.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, I invite you to reach out to me at the link in my bio, and let’s have an open and honest conversation as to how you can step into the journey of recovery.
Grow with Love.