Updated: Apr 21
This photo is 8 years after a tremendous hail storm that decimated our house. We picked up all the glass we possibly could the day after and continued to all through that summer. There seemed to be no visable pieces left. Were the wounds still there from that awful day that destroyed our home, yes. Could we see them any longer? No. But yet the pain of it all had remained, a dull ache. Then one day I spy this piece laying there where nothing was seen previously. Here we are 8 years later and this piece has worked its way up from beneath.
Our mental health can be like this. We go through a trauma and we deal with it. We do all the prescribed treatments and healing and yet it still manages to push something up to the surface. We are not expecting it, yet there is the physical proof. We may start crying or we may find ourselves in a funk for no apparent reason. We may be triggered and then we understand just like this shard of glass something that was not healed has worked its way to the surface.
If left untreated these afteraffects can influence our present life. They come up to tarnish present relationships and affect our thoughts and behaviors negatively. Our bodies remeber abuse and trauma quite literally. We may be unable to respond at the time of the event such as a fight, flight or paralyzing reaction. These sensations become trapped in our nervous systems. This can feel like exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety attacks or physical aches and pains that we can find no reason for.
Steps to heal from truama may include being willing to heal and acknowledging that even though you may feel like you have dealt with something there are still pockets of unhealed wounds. It is easy to tell ourselves this happened so long ago that its over and be unaware that is affecting us. The physical pains may seem so unlikely connected that we are unable to intellectually understand and make sense of them.
Following a traumatic stabbing my son endured I sought treatment for extreme anxiety and insomnia. I participated in EMDR therapy and while it was amazingly effective with my emotional trauma one physical issue stood out and completely shocked me. In EMDR therapy there is a connection to body sensations and I had been having arm pain and numbness from my shoulder through my hand for a period of a year or so. I had physical exams, a MRI and physical therapy and no one could find a source of this pain. When the therapist asked me to notice that pain during processing , like a lightening bolt it hit me that the source of this pain eminated from one of the spots my son was stabbed in his back. When the body brain connection was made the pain was immediately gone and I have never reexperienced it.
Like this shard of glass, that had been hidden for years, these pieces can be hidden from our own consciousness and left to fester. Our emotional and physical wounds are linked through our body/mind connection. An excellent book to read more about this topic is The Body Keeps the Score byDr. Bessel Van Der Kolk.