Recently, I took a Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) certification course. During these classes we learned to drop the D because in the Wellness Profession, we don’t see Post Traumatic Stress as a disorder. It is an injury. An injury that hit the psyche with such force that it shatter a coping mechanism. This injury is internal in the psyche. A protective layer is built during the time of the injury. This layer is called the trauma membrane. A special barrier that the body, doing its job, built to defend the psyche against further injury. Our body truly has grand abilities. I mean when we break a bone, it is not the doctor that heals the bone; it is the doctor that resets the bone so that the body can heal it. Seems so magical.
The interesting thing about the forming of this protective layer, or trauma membrane is that it perceives all external events as potential new trauma or harm. Now, it is not a true physical layer around the psyche, but rather a new way of perception. The trauma has altered the psyches ability to perceive good and bad. Even the events that are joyful and are not harmful at all, become misunderstood and triggered with this new perception of protection built out of necessity to survive.
Basically, a person starts as them, their true self. Then after a huge hit to the psyche, or, after a traumatic event (or repeated trauma events) the stress rises and a defense is built. The person changes with the stress and not only becomes different to themselves, but to those around them. A loss is felt which can be confusing to all involved making it easy to question many things. However, the true self is still in there. There is hope to get back to personal beliefs, faith and wellness.
This wonderful insight allowed me to deepen my understanding of the anxiety, confusion and all-out-loss that is caused and experienced after a significantly impactful traumatic event, or repeated events. Not only is the memory of the event trapped inside, but new events trigger feelings, reactions or qualms from the trauma. Life becomes drastically harder to navigate. A blow that hits with such force that it shatters our natural ability to cope is an injury to the psyche and the loss of the self is disorienting.
Most often PTS is treated as a disorder using external methods to facilitate healing. There is great work being done using these external methods and they have been giving space to support those wounded by PTS. As part of this healing Wellness Professionals have discovered the immense need for internal healing to happen alongside the external support.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress I invite you to heal internally. The internal approach is where the psyche can reconnect with the true self. The defenses are down because the defense mechanisms are not protecting the psyche from an external event or trigger. From the inside healing can happen within the terms of the individual. What are these methods?
- Physical movement through a designed series of postures that will stop the trauma wound from “bleeding”. Again the wound being a trapped injury in the psyche and the bleeding being thoughts and reactions to this wound.
- Deliberate Slowing of the mind through connection with the breath and during deep relaxation (mediation or nidra). This will “dress the wound”. Breathing techniques aide in taking energy to areas that need healing. Breath techniques also help perform many other intentional functions. Meditation and/or yoga nidra provide a safe quite space to connect with the true nature of self.
- Commitment – through continued practice we are able to see change.
As a Wellness Practitioner with a degree in Mind- Body transformational psychology and as a certified yoga instructor that specialized in Post-Traumatic Stress, I more than ever see the need for the medical world and the wellness world to work together. Especially when it comes to treating and serving the underserved population of veterans, first responders and at-risk PTS citizens.
Much Love Through Wellness,