When does stress become trauma? Part two

In my recent post I discussed when stress (a natural, normal, healthy part of our nervous system’s experience) becomes toxic/chronic stress or trauma (a very not healthy experience for our nervous systems!) I discussed how length, intensity and pervasiveness can effect how the nervous system is able to respond to the stressor- defining whether the experience is just stressful or is traumatizing. To put it another way, trauma is any experience that OVERWHELMS the nervous system. Stressful experiences may be hard, and they may be painful, but ultimately we can find a way to cope with and manage the experience. With traumatic experiences our nervous system cannot find a way to manage it. That’s what makes it traumatic. Our normal mechanisms don’t seem to work. Our nervous system uses its various defensive skills to try to deal with the experience- using our social engagement system, our fight or flight response, or freeze response- but still cannot manage the stressor. The nervous system becomes OVERWHELMED and that’s when the experience turns into trauma. Because everyone is different, often this is related to pervasiveness, intensity or length of the stressor, as discussed in part one. But really, depending on the state of the person, anything could be experienced as traumatizing. Especially if the person is in an especially vulnerable position or the person is very young, or has a more sensitive temperament than others. Think about it like this- the same wave might knock someone completely on their back, while to someone else it just jostles them a little, or to someone else they barely notice. It all depends on YOUR nervous system in any given moment and how much it can manage given all the factors in the specific situation. Trauma is personal, and cannot always be predicted or measured. #trauma #ptsd #traumarecovery #ptsdrecovery #nervoussystemhealth #neuroscience #somatictherapy #traumatherapy #ptsdtherapy #nervoussystemregulation #chronicstress #eugenetherapist #eugeneoregon #bodyfocusedtherapy #mindbodyconnection #mentalhealththerapist #mentalhealththerapy #overwhelmed #posttraumaticgrowth #tensionrelease #traumarelease #wellness #mentalhealth

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