How Shelter in Place may Trigger Past Trauma.

If being at home was not an emotionally comfortable nor safe place to be, this shelter in place can be a trauma trigger. This is because if a childhood trauma is re-triggered, the fear of something scary or dangerous, and the shame of whatever we lived through, re-emerges often with little or no awareness of the reason for these fears. 

Suggestion: Read Part 1 of this blog first to learn valuable resourcing strategies to avoid information overload and trauma triggers.

Instead one may respond by having: 

  • A feeling to want to get out the house, even accompanied by flashes of heat or sweats if staying inside too long. This makes sense if one tended to flee from the original trauma at home.
  • A feeling to want to increase one’s isolation by not reaching out to others to connect, and not wanting to leave the house at all, and may even include hiding. This makes sense if one tended to freeze in response to the original trauma at home.
  • More of a tendency to anger and rage, from feelings that have been held back and are being touched whether the source is known or not. This is also the fight response that may be needing to be completed by the mind/body from an earlier feeling of being stuck or trapped.
  • A high amount of anxiety can show as excess fidgeting, shaking, excess talking or other strategies to avoid settling one’s system. Calming and grounding can be scary if we are avoiding feeling what is too big or scary to feel and tolerate.
  • An obsessive compulsive response in order to gain some sense of control of one’s life and surroundings.
  • Shortness of breath that is emotionally charged. This can arise from high levels of anxiety and/or a specific fear or memory around not being safe or being able to get enough air, especially clean air. This may come from an experience dealing with smoke during the fires that have occurred.
  • This may come from very young, early memories, even from the womb, that are not necessarily remembered and yet have made an impact in our body. We have all developed strategies for best ways to behave to make sure we are safe and belong, which are our basic needs.

Remember you can return to any of the tools and suggestions listed above. Here is a reminder of one you just learned and a few new ones!

Helpful Strategies & Tips

  • A Helpful Reminder: Breathe in slowly and imagine all the fresh clean air entering your body, allowing you to relax. You can add an image of a beautiful flower or something you find pleasant, to enhance this relaxation response in your body/mind. Exhale out slowly and steadily all the stale air you no longer need.
  • A New Resourceful Tip: Sound, especially the sound Voom, which creates a vibration on the lips and a sensation down to your belly, will be helpful to bring your nervous system back into a parasympathetic (relaxed) vs sympathetic (fight or flight) state. The brain and belly connection really exists! Placing a hand on your belly and bringing the sound and breath down into your belly and hand may also help.
  • Another New Tip: Gargling helps our vagus nerves relax ; bringing us more into a parasympathetic state. It is also good for your immune health!

Online Therapy Sessions Can Help

Individual Somatic Therapy, including working with Family Systems, can help to anchor and bring context and understanding to our family history. When we make more sense of our lives, we gain the capacity to make a new blueprint for our habits, conscious and unconscious, and thus, bring more freedom and ease into our life.

Using these suggestions and having the awareness of what may be going on for you or for a loved one, maybe enough to support you at this time.

If more support is needed or wanted, whether to help process old trauma patterns out of your emotional body and nervous system, or simply to get some more personalized support for yourself, please reach out. I am here and welcome your call.

Your 15 minute free consultation is a great way to begin to connect. 

Contact me for Individual Support. Or read more about Individual Therapy.

Read more here about : Healing Trauma, and Healing Generational Wounds.