I was cooking lunch today and had the time to notice my thoughts. The ability to stop and listen is a considerable gift with three children, a busy household, and running a private psychotherapy practice. But I had the time. So I stopped and listened. What came to me was the answer to a problem I had been contemplating for some time.
Why did I come up with this answer while making lunch verses when I was actually concentrating on figuring out a solution in real time?
It was the silence. While no one was home, I was just breathing. Watching the vegetables saute’, listening to the oil crackle in the pan. And there it was.
I have realized more and more the importance of being able to slow down and get quiet with ourselves. For many trauma survivors, this is a luxury that does not come easily.
Often there is a cacophony of noise in their brains made up of past voices, memories, or experiences that are constantly creating noise. Many times survivors don’t even realize the possibility of silence. They can often be flooded by sensations or actual images of past trauma causing physical symptoms including sweating, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, or complete disorientation.
Trauma memories can be triggered by specific places, smells, people, or times of the year. Triggers are specific to each individual and can vary greatly. The goal of treatment is not to erase these memories, but to be able to recognize, tolerate, and work through difficult bodily or emotional feelings to effectively cope with the present moment.
I feel humbled and honored to be a witness to my clients’ trauma stories. Their courage, resilience, and tenacity inspires me with each visit.