When a traumatic event overwhelms your ability to handle it, the memory is stored as direct sensory information, rather than being processed and stored in the usual way. The physical and emotional shock of the event is also stored in the body.
The body and spirit do their best to work around the unprocessed memory and shock, but there is a continuing toll on energy, emotional well-being, and physical health. Over time, signs of unprocessed trauma urge you to seek healing.
Some signs of trauma include:
- Chronic pain or recurring injuries which aren’t responding to treatment
- Sensitivities and intolerances to foods and chemicals
- Constant tension, inability to relax
- Finding it challenging to keep up with basic self-care (laundry, meals, showers)
- Consistently shallow breathing – from the chest rather than the belly
- Chaotic, painful relationships
- A sense of insurmountable isolation
- Feeling fundamentally broken.
- A fiercely critical internal voice that just won’t quit
- Strong startle response to unexpected touch, sound, or light
- Feeling anxious, panicky or terrified a lot
- Feeling numb or blank a lot
- Apologizing for everything
- Doubting your perceptions
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings
- Avoiding emotions by overuse of alcohol, other drugs, sugar, exercise, overwork, etc.
- A feeling of impending doom even when life is going well
- Dissociation – consistent spaciness, feeling distant from current experience
- Flashbacks – re-experiencing a past event through one or more senses (hearing, sight, emotions, etc.)
Please Note: People experience a full range of conscious memory after trauma, from complete details to complete amnesia. If you have some of these signs, but don’t remember any trauma, trust your inner wisdom as the final authority about your experiences.