Three Ways Trauma Changes the Brain

The treatment of trauma can be some of the most complex work practitioners face.

And for years, this challenge was complicated by not having a clear picture of the impact that trauma has on the brain.

But scientific advances within just the past few years have opened the eyes of practitioners to what actually happens in the brain of someone who has experienced trauma.

And according to Bessel van der Kolk, MD, there are three major ways that the brain changes in response to trauma.

To find out what they are (and their impact on the body), take a look at the video below – it’s just 3 minutes.

Bessel is one of the world’s leading experts in trauma and PTSD. Because of his research, we have a deeper understanding of how trauma impacts both body and brain.

And this is crucial – it can help us target our interventions more effectively.

So now, we’d like to hear from you . . .

When it comes to the treatment of trauma, what do you want to know most? Please leave your comment below.

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1,158 Comments

  1. Jodi Copa says:

    I would like my children to feel and experience joy again. To find good things about themselves. It seems as though only negative experiences stick out to them. We could have fun all day long and one negative thing happens and it spoils the whole day and that’s what gets stuck on. Sometimes we can never do that activity again.

  2. Sharnene Cahenzli-Pickering says:

    Hi I’m a 58years woman a few years ago ì was hurt in a bus accident. I been using gamma waves beats to lift my brain out of the trauma is this a good thing to do

  3. David George says:

    Hi y’all…
    I say “retraining the brain” too. The clinical term is ‘hyperplasticity’… or so I believe. I did swimming, cycling, journalling and a lots and lot of group work. My thinking is much less cloudy than it was- sooo… numbing.

  4. Phynn says:

    I want to know how to retrain the brain, so that there is better focus on what is revealant or the priority. This would be helpful for skilled individuals who have to return to work in hostile environment s with toxic employees and managers who engage in sabotaging their targets. this has been my experience everytime I start a new job. My response is now to resign, when it should be to stay in my passion Healthcare and how to clearly deal with the toxic coworker and engaging in strategies to correct the behavior or have the chaos creators leave.

  5. Faye Brook says:

    I would like to know whether an experience of present-day traume tends to trigger historic trauma. Whether out ability to deal with present trauma is inhibited/constrained by past experience. If so, how we can work with that?

  6. David George says:

    Mariko…
    I started a conversation… I have C-PTSD too. Could fill a book with my story… … I neither judge nor condemn you. Rather the opposite- for having courage!

    By sharing your dilemma you are owning your own story- as it is now. I respect you for this- 100%. Someone stopped out of the crowd and spoke to me. And with me. They listened.

    That is all we kin do- pay it forwards… … …

  7. David George says:

    To MARIKO

    I always say: “Hurt people hurt people.” It goes on and on down through the generations. Some time someone has to put their hand up- and say- “enough is enough”, this must stop with me.

    Owning your own story, my friend is a really good start. None of us is perfect. Reaching out- and keeping reaching out is all we can do.

    • Mariko says:

      I don’t understand owning my own story comment? I thought I did. I dont want pity I want to function and not live the way I do. I don’t care about my childhood, I don’t care that I survived one D.V. incident, I guess maybe those with my children being taken and job loss I feel helpless and think those around have compassion fatigue and here I am. Ive got a lot of symptoms that are stated on here and believe maybe I might find help here as its not been accessible. Literally, I have had more doors shut on me than I can count. I have started seeing a psychotherapist recently. An access center signed me up for government insurance. All that I know is 3 years ago I had a family and a Career, friends, Brand new vehicle and was accepted by society. Now I’m just existing under what feels like glares of disapproval. No criminal record, I do not run around and party. Hell I’ve gone weeks without human interaction at points in isolation. Lastly, I do not act in malice. I’m not a bad person and want to just be part of society again.

    • Katrina says:

      I think it is dangerous to generalise..

  8. Mariko Harris says:

    I grew up in dysfunction as my mother was a transient and father n addict and registered sex offender. I was very blessed as I received a lot of attention attention in my late teens due to this and felt I had a bright future. I teetered on addiction and was a bit odd but had a career in healthcare two kids and even my teenage daughter told me she thought I was successful. 3 years ago I had a domestic violence incident where my partner snapped. It was bad and included stomping on my head although I only remember the initial one. He also punched my 8 year old son for trying to help me. After that he sent to prison. I held my ground and he got 2 felony convictions but even though I felt okay I have sense isolated so badly I barely have contact with the world. My ex was awarded custody of my as the risk was to great to the courts I may find another guy or return to the one who hurt us. I convinced myself it was okay to have an affair with one of the Doctors I worked for which led to my termination and last thing I really loved being taken. I’m alone, no one seems to have answers, I feel like every one thinks I’m a bad person and I have this obsessive fear that I’m going to die soon that I can’t shake. I feel everything I try fails. Any feedback would be more than welcomed.

  9. Karen says:

    I was terrorised as a child living in a extremely violent family with an
    Alcoholic father ,I have struggled with this for many years I am now 55 and feel I need some sort of counceling and was wondering what sort of counceling you would recommend that I should look into as there is so much out there to choose from .

  10. Tammie Haworth says:

    Hoe Vegal nerve plays a part with mid line brain structures to cause body to feel bad after trauma. Interventions on vegal nerve to decrease the bad feeling in body

  11. David George says:

    Being re-traumatised has been a big issue for me. My big instinct is to just go back into myself and stay there!

    I work daily with other sufferers. I find that- in groups- we trigger each other left right and centre. My response- is to regard this as a necessary rite of passage. It is extremely difficult to get involved with other people like myself. Difficult- but not impossible.

    It filters out people not able or ready to change. It enables survivors- at their wits end- to come forward and to attempt change.

  12. David George says:

    Based on his book “The Body Keeps The Score” Dr Bessel merely touches on autoimmune disease. Pp 291-292.
    He refers to a study on rheumatoid arthritis by Dr Nancy Shadick.

  13. Katrina says:

    Has Dr Bessel researched a link between the post traumatised self-sensing system and autoimmunity?

    • J.M. says:

      I’d like to know this also. I’ve had severe trauma since I was born. I’ve had a lot of therapy, but new traumas reverse that. Now in my seventies, for the last two decades, I’m suffering from many autoimmune diseases. The isolation makes the PTSD and depression worse.

  14. Liz Bailey says:

    Does time have any impact on how to treat trauma, for example a recent trauma or a trauma from years ago

  15. David George says:

    I think there is a continuum… with the knocks and bruises of life- which creates the personality- and creates motivation and vision. And along this continuum are people like you and I who have trouble, at times, managing; passing through the natural rites of passage.

    I have sat in meeting for years- where I encountered people far worse off than me- and, at times, I felt worse off- at the least- in the moment.

    The issue is- what can be done to mitigate the awful anxiety a lot of us encounter- on our way through life? The answer is to reach out- and begin to talk about it. At least, reduce the level of isolation.

  16. GP says:

    This is spot on! So nice to hear someone describe the symptoms so perfectly! I have been to so many therapists that have no clue what I have been going through my whole life. I finally found a therapist who works with abused families and was traumatized herself. So understands me.
    My trauma started from day one- a narcissist mother and a volatile father, who had been traumatized himself. They created the ultimate team for terrorizing and traumatizing me and my bother. My poor brother has never really been able to function well and I have scrambled and fought against my trauma but still it keeps me down. I don,t trust anyone, have a hard time keeping friends and can,t function in work place settings. When younger I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t capable of being successful in a profession when I worked so hard. Now I know it is from all the trauma. To my mother me and my brother are failures. Sadly she had a lot to do with that:(

  17. David George says:

    I am currently reading “The Body Keeps the Score”. At the same time I watched this landmark case, here in New Zealand, of a person who suffers from PTSD, but who is highly functioning. Could this person be suffering from some sort of attachment disorder? Well this is a facetious question… but a really kind one. Our first people suffer, like many- from all the grim statistics- and this narrative takes place against a backdrop of attempts to mitigate, or remedy this issue. As a fellow sufferer from C-PTSD I watched this with tears welling up- which for me- is a sign of healing. Please tell me is this was inappropriate to post here. Thanks.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/i-am/episodes/s2018-e6

  18. I would like to suggest training material to help police be sensitive to people with disabilities. My son, who has brain injury from a brain tumor in infancy, has had many police interactions. Some were peaceful, many were not. Now when he sees a policeman coming toward him, even if they might just be walking past him, he gets very stressed out and over reacts. If he is being questioned, and if the police are not trained to talk with this population, they can easily put him in a state of stress where he is uncooperative and aggressive.

    I would like to know if this type of training for the police is available somewhere. If not, I will be hoping to train the campus police at a nearby junior college with my current knowledge.

  19. Wendy Brown says:

    I am reading the body keeps the score and using a DBT workbook .

  20. Amanda says:

    Hi I would like to know what i can do to help myself heal from Trauma and correct my brain responses.

  21. Becky Schluter says:

    I have had 2 head o juries. One in 1990 when we had head on with 2 horses. They rared up and came through windshield. Have struggled a lot. Then about 5 years ago lost balance coming home late at night. Fell off high porch and landed on top of head. Landed in gravel. Drove to hospital and they said went to at least skull. 12 staples and some stitches. These last couple years more and more memory ptoblems and depression. Also lots of anxiety.

  22. Teri says:

    I’d like to know what are talk therapy and behavioral therapies that can change the brain and body response patterns into healthy patterns. Specifically I wNt to find therapists who will not try to prescribe pharmaceuticals, but will agree to other therapies. What should I be asking for/looking for?
    The mainstream will not accept that I don’t want or need drugs.

    • David George says:

      Hmmm… sense you are in the right place here… the NICABM group of professionals favour natural methods over drug intervention. Not to say that medication is essential sometimes. But with C-PTSD and long term recovery- I found that allowing the body to heal itself, for me, has been a really good option.

      I have followed the NICABM team through watching you-tube videos- with a wide range of presentations. It offers hope- people out there are on the case…!

      I do not live in the USA- and i don’t really have assess to the help I need.

      Most of us are very resourceful- born survivors… I believe that we are all a part of the solution!

  23. David Schorah says:

    Not sure what to say.
    have i had trauma?
    i suspect so…..
    13 years ago I lost everything financially, was sliding into 24 hour drinking (am now nearly 8 years sober in AA).
    had a very bad next 5 years as 24 hour alcoholic.

    in my 8 years in AA , i have wondered about ‘blocks’ to well being or continual development hence my interest in your video on the three areas affected / show up in people with trauma. I particularly identified with point 3.

    so thank you for your work, I look with interest.
    namaste

  24. Dominique smith says:

    How to stop shutting down

    • David George says:

      First First Aid. Deep conscious breathing- works for me.

  25. Iliahi says:

    How to calm down the inflamed emotions in my brain.

  26. Deborah Moon says:

    How to help a child who was diagnosed with PTSD.

  27. Tedd Cadd says:

    He didn’t have much to say about how to target the interventions. That would be helpful.

    For me, the trauma began at birth. For the first six weeks of life (obviously, I don’t remember this), Every time I was fed (breast fed), I experienced extreme pain as I was allergic to her milk. It took that long to figure it out and find a solution. It’s easy to postulate that the infant was learning—very well—that expressing a need was met with pain. The limbic system was probably programmed well. I still have trouble asking for what I need—the more important the need, the harder it is to ask.

    The emotional abuse started at 4 when my mother started telling me she hated me. And it had to do with sexuality. That continued in one form or another until her death. The sexual abuse started around 5 with my dad telling me, “This would be more fun if you were a girl” and threatening to kill me if I ever told. That lasted until I was about 12 or so. There were three other sexual predators, one around 5 or 6 (I don’t know how often or long), one at age 8 for the summer before 4th grade, and one that lasted until I was 20 but rather infrequently (an exhibitionist close woman relative who teased me and invited me to partake).

    The one at age 8 threw me out when he didn’t want me any longer. I didn’t figure it out for decades but he thought I was pubescent and, when he finally figured out I wasn’t, he threw me away.

    I learned that I was so dirty that even the dirty people didn’t want me. I carried that assessment for about 40 years.

    I don’t have flashbacks any longer but there are vestiges remaining. I have learned how to avoid one mental path that brings an intense flashback that includes scent, taste, size, and texture of his genitals. They also include a level of anger that I learned to keep hidden since age 5 due to my dad’s death threats. The last time he threatened my life, I was 17. He was in a cult and I was trying to help him see his need to leave. Unknown to me, he kept telling the cult leaders what I was doing and saying. On their orders, he told me they were going to kill me if I didn’t quit. So I quit and maintained my silence for 36 years. I learned later that it was a sex cult and my dad (many years later) confirmed to me that he had betrayed me and that they were fully capable of murder (“they were very dangerous people”)—and he thought it was funny.

    I find in the abuse survivor groups I co-lead, that a lot of the intervention needed is simply telling their stories in a safe environment where they are loved and accepted. In these groups, we do not function as counselors but often will refer a participant to a counselor. We make that clear up front.

    So another useful piece of information from you would be how to identify those interventions that need more than a support group can offer.

  28. Anne Torrens says:

    I can relate to this. I have suffered from Trauma since I was a young person growing up. I live in fear all the time. I also find it hard to relax. To travel very f
    Ar on my own. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I also get a lot of tense Ness in my shoulders and neck. No one seems to understand this. As they see me as fully functional when I talk to them. I would like to be able to break the cycle. But it’s been a life long fight. I’m now 59 years old.

  29. Mary DeMarco says:

    How do I help my granddaughter succeed academically while her behavior due to trauma has impacted her education? My 28 yo daughter Alicia and her newborn baby Arianna passed away 11-20-2014. Alicia’s OB took
    her off of clonazipine and subutex at 8 1/2 months pregnant. Eight days later my beautiful daughter and precious granddaughter died from an overdose of straight fentynal. My granddaughter Alexa was Alicia’s first child who I have had in my care since her birth. Alexa loved her mom and so looked forward to having a baby
    Sister. Alexa was only 4 yo when we lost my daughter and baby Arianna. We have since adopted Alexa and she will be 8 yo 7/12/2018. Alexa is a very bright beautiful little girl. However she has social issues. She is very unhappy at school. Currently she has an IEP and was placed in a Therapeutic Classroom, which she does not like. Alexa try’s to control most situations in school.

    Thank you for your time !

  30. Wendy says:

    I would like to know more about the treatment of Complex PTSD

  31. Laura Wiener PhD says:

    My 23 year old daughter was hit by a car while jogging 15 days ago. She was in a coma for a week and woke up after 6 days. Her left frontal lobe was injured and she needed a craniectomy. She is recovering well physically but her memory is very scattered. She is very depressed and will barely eat anything. Is this normal and how can I help her. I am reading your book about PTSD and believe she is suffering from it.
    Thank you,
    Laura
    (Mother)

  32. Karen G says:

    If trauma alters how one perceives data in the environment,
    are you suggesting it creates a hyper vigilance of sortd? And
    what happens to perception when other trauma occurs-
    does it become worse? It is disabling to fail to interpret
    situations greater than they actually are. It is like being reactive
    to so much, hindering greatly interactions with others.
    It would be so nice to not be hyper vigilant and function
    with a different perception of the environment. I’ve experienced this
    for decades and am unsure if an old dog can learn new
    tricks. I wish this information existed 50 years ago.
    Had this been known eons ago, I am sure life for many
    would have been far different and allowing one to live
    to their full potential. How different that would be!

  33. Robin Darrow says:

    I have experienced ridiculous amounts of trauma, from childhood neglect, a molestation, verbal abuse, physical abuse and a list that goes on and on. I was a depressed, anxious and suicidal child, yet nobody addressed, supported or assisted me. I swear I’m still here only by the grace of God!
    At 18, upon seeking medical attention on my own, I was put on Prozac, which led to 20 years of subsequent diagnoses, from bi-polar, borderline, anxiety and depressive disorder and years of therapy, which typically dealt with issue of the day and I was prescribed dozens of medication cocktails, for nothing seemed to really help me overcome. I had an addictive nature (food, co-dependent self-sacrificing to my alcoholic family), all the makings for a nervous break down.
    Eventually, I left my 17 year marriage, my family and went off the deep end, burning bridges in my wake. I became very suicidal and alcoholic myself. After 2 years I found treatment, AA and ACA, which started to help. After a few more melt-downs from erratic self-sabotaging behavior, I found a good therapist, who scratched the surface of PTSD in 2014.
    I managed to stay sober and then became a basic life anorexic. I couldn’t keep a job, couldn’t focus at trade schools. The needs of my aging and ill alcoholic mother were exhausting me and adding stress. Finally, in 9/2017, after insisting that a limping romantic relationship attempt counseling, a therapist heard just the beginning of my story and diagnosed CPTSD and recommended a book by Pete Walker.
    Just reading it triggered me. The information and awareness helped immensely. I am no longer in the relationship or seeing that counselor as she has retired. My mother passed away 2/2018. Walker’s book described my feelings, behaviors , triggers in such a way that I realized I had been in regressive episodes both acutely and chronically a good portion of my life. Huh!!! No wonder!
    Long story short. I happened upon Van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score”, and it has changed my life. Mysteries solved. Thoughts of insanity and ineptness quashed. The education of how the brain reacts and body stores the trauma, along with explanation as to WHY I was not diagnosed previously, as well as offering direction, literally make me weep with gratitude. Self-compassion, self-care and immersion into self-regulating practices, and seeking of alternative therapies are the order of the day. I have refused to take medication or to even seek disability these last 4.5 years because somewhere down deep, I knew it was all about the trauma and pain of childhood and subsequent traumas and being ill-equipped to navigate through life. I just turned 48 and though I still struggle, I have hope and faith for a future I would never before dare to dream of. I will recover and I will be a survivor who lives! Thank you.

    • Wendy says:

      Thank you for sharing….I was diagnosed whith cPTSD a year ago and “the body keeps the score” was HUGE in understanding my physical responses…eliminating the physical reactions and suicidal thoughts was just the start….it is an ongoing adventure of revelations!

  34. Michele Massa says:

    Hello and thank you for your work. I would like to know:
    1) Can the broader impacts of trauma be minimized with some specific treatment immediately following the trauma, for example within the first week, and what are the steps?

    2) Can the subconscious fallout from trauma be erased or lessened?

    3) If left untreated for years, is there a specific form of therapy that can significantly help a person recover from PTSD?

    4) Is anyone doing anything in the field to try to change the language around PTSD, such that people don’t continue to call every experience that they don’t feel comfortable in, PTSD?

    Thanks

  35. Lisa says:

    Thanks, I am interested in helping clients via my nursing profession cope with traumatic injuries and diseases to assist in their recovery /healing process.

  36. David Toner says:

    I want to understand why the smallest things trigger my PTSD and how/if I will ever get my memory working again. It has cause the loss my career as a teacher and almost my own life by attempted suicide/s. I would also like to know how others cope. I dealt with my condition with the help of professionals but my ex-wife found it difficult. Eventually, I found remission and returned to work only to be handed a divorce after eight years of fighting and lost my whole life. Do others suffer similar fates as a result of a lack of understanding that one’s behaviour is not a choice, its is driven by a pernicious condition that takes over your life?

  37. Carol Feben says:

    Thank you for this very helpful video.
    I’m interested in how this links with grief after the death of a loved one, particularly a spouse or a child. I believe this event to be a trauma, an even more serious trauma when it happens suddenly or with very little warning, and the life changing effects add to this trauma.

    I there any specific research or information available on this link between grief and trauma? I have met so many people who either try to numb the effects of grief by keeping excessively busy or who sink underneath the weight of it and can’t recover. I’m becoming passionate about finding routes to recovery for people who’ve suffered in these ways.

  38. Sherrie Cox says:

    Through my own research and confirmation by two therapists, I have ComplexPTSD. Viewing this video is like describing my thought process. A few years ago, I went back to school and now teach special education in inclusive settings. This is such a healing process for me. I read a lot and have active positive relationships in my community and with family. I am a middle age women so I have made an appt with my gyn to be sure hormones aren’t causing issues. There are family members that I find particularly difficult as I have learned that traumatic memories are triggered around them or even the mention of them. I am a very caring person trying to live interdependent while allowing my children choice in the teen years being accountable for their choices. Can you recommend a good source of study?

    • David George says:

      My first port of call was Dr Judith Herman’s book- “Trauma and Recovery” Basic Books, 1992. Watching all the you-tube clips, coming from NICABM practitioners bought me up to date and filled in the gaps.

  39. Toni says:

    While I had undergone complex ptsd treatment over several years and was much better, I was recently DXed with metastatic breast cancer to the bone. My ptsd is back and I wonder if I will die before ever getting it under control again.

  40. Cindy Ary says:

    How do I get my Children to not believe my narcissistic EX that I’m just crazy and it’s not a real illness. Everyone has avoided me like the plague and no one talks to me anymore I have a new grandbaby in my daughter has not been to see me in 5 years and doesn’t even try to come see me I am disabled and having severe spinal problems

  41. Lillian says:

    Thank you for the knowledge, it helps with understanding behaviours

  42. Julia Roy says:

    Betsy. I recommend you work with a professional who will evaluate how you react to timuli and give you specific instructions to change your reactions to such stimuli. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a brief time out to regoup…not to be used to avoid difficulties though. It seems your “I’m unsafe” regulator is set on sensitive. Remind youself that you are safe, you can take care of yourself and it is not tge same sitation as before.

  43. Betsy says:

    I want to know what to do, when feelings of anxiety start coming up while in a similar event or with a memory or someone referencing the incident or a person related to it.
    How to best approach not letting that anxiety , feeling of being paralyzed and incapable of taking any action, come about.

    • David George says:

      Hmmm the lay response- is to be present… and if at all possible, be present with others, whenever possible. There will be a clinical response, which should rest in tandem with the lay response…

  44. Mind Boggles Therapies says:

    I’m interested in Addictions and Trauma.

  45. Rhonda says:

    treatment options? is recovery possible? is psychodynamic therapy useful? is psychology useful? is a praxis support worker helpful ( what do they do).

    • David George says:

      My view… it is possible there are a number of treatment options- but the industry technology in treating trauma is very young. Some will say that trauma is actually untreatable. Last year I updated my knowledge in the field by taking a series of NICABM short courses. I do lots of group work with Adult Children Anonymous much of this groupwork was done online. In theory groups like these work in tandem with the health professionals. Our groups seems to work okay with people who are highly motivated/desperate.

      I have managed to recovery a lot of memory- my motions are improving, and my primary relationship is going fairly well. We include basic concepts like boundaries, for example. Over time I believe that close collaboration, over time, will bring forward new ideas and initiatives.

      Another interesting and dynamic factor is that there is a flow between the professionals and “the client group”. In other words some people belong to both entities. I believe that this is a strength… it is authentic and real.

      Thanks- a good topic.

  46. Jody says:

    How do i make sense of everything? After i found my husband dead i believed he was still alive and ignoring me. Once i came to terms with the fact that he’d died i Still have trouble keeping everything straight since almost immediately after i was doored while biking and suffered an acquired brain injury.

    • Rhonda says:

      get in touch with your gp. ask for a referral to social services. use wave trauma centre. praxis mental health coomunity wellbeing counselling on challenging your thoughts lifeworks for one to one support womens aid cruise bereavement care occupational therapy disability action citizens advice lifeline the samaritans local food banks befriending services in your area the church yoga crafts diy gardening find a hairdresser who can call to your home access local carers for practical help round the house and with personal care age uk about keypad and if no next of kin get social services to access your home. Good Luck my dear xc

  47. Sd says:

    In addition to my recent comment is it healthy to go back to or even possible to forget that event hopefully permanently all other issues I can deal with but remembering I tell you what very serious situation and in my opinion a blessing to live many yearsnot remembering even though I did manifest health issues from that as internally my systems my body didn’t forget even though I did. Anything alternatively I can try to help with too many thoughts and also forgetfulness

    • Rhonda says:

      lifeworks will teach you how to chase the thoughts away as soon as they come.
      use a diary set reminders on your phone talk to your dr ask friends to help you ask for a mental health support worker go to wave trauma centre phone lifeline try yoga to control your thoughts through meditation.

    • Julia Roy says:

      Do you feel safe? You can remind yourself each time the memory comes to light “I am safe. That is not occurring now. I want to live and forgive. I choose to be content.” If you believe in God, pray. Ask for comfort and peace. Replace the negative memories with prayer. You can also adjust your thought of the past trauma with positive memories. You can do this!!!

  48. Sd says:

    It is 30 years after my traumatic event. I recently had a trigger that was devastating to me. Believe that I received treatment and believe it forgot and even denied that event happened my family though confirmed it is indeed truest happened to me. It’s been 4 years now remembering. I get agitated thinking about it in any way many difficulties I’m wondering if and I feel as I’m getting slowly worse very scary. I don’t feel supported appropriately people don’t want to take on such issues is it true I may be in fact disabled now I’m worried my mind will go crazy for lack of better way to describe it very difficult to even talk about withou extreme agiration

  49. How do I start believing in myself after 50 years of continually criticising myself,self sabotage and abandoning my inner child?

    • Rhonda says:

      we all have a critical parent in us a nurtuting parent in us an adult who we show to the world and an inner child. start nurturing your inner child seek counselling lifeworks one to ones wave trauma centre social services carers if youre so unwell

    • Julia Roy says:

      Julie…How do I start? Do now concern yourself with how. When? Today.. orgive self and others. State Affirmations. “I am a person with dignity and worth.” “I am not an inconvenience”. Write out a list of things you have and are…you may need help with this from a caring person. Repeat each day. Read the comments on this post. There are some wonderful suggestions. Love others and yourself.

      • Rhonda says:

        thats so true julie x

  50. Linda Feeley says:

    How to recover,

    I have had significant 2 events, happening well 3 at the same time. My trust, in people, 0 was stalked, also a gp was sexually abusing me, while usings emotional blackmail on me, with my life threatening very sick daughter. I was only 20 at the time. it went on for 9 years. They only gave me, small dose of anti depressants, I feel to make my head, not fuction properly, so I wouldnt report a fellow colleague, or if I did, I wouldnt be believed. I reported it 4 times, and the police didnt take a statement. So its now a historic abuse case. So trust is a big issue. As police are supposed to be people you should be able to trust right!? and Your gp right?! No, not in my mind. My mother lied, and didnt really love me. So When this person this gp, did all he could to break my mind, even making silent phone calls. Even to suggest I was the lowest of the low, to psychiatrists, ect,,, how do you mend, with something like that, Im facing them all now!! 300mg of venaflaxin So how do you,, recover?? I also lost my memory, , cant get words out, or blank spots, or I remember a face but no other factors unless someone says something to jog it.

    • Nichelle Stanley says:

      Linda, you have experienced a lot. Police and other authorities do not always do as they should, it means you have suffered, but it does not mean you have a victim mentality or that there aren’t methods which could help you. See a different counselor or psychologist, if funds are an issue look into free or reduced cost counseling through universities. I know it’s a lot to deal with, but if you had s counselor you trusted to discuss your issues, I think that would go a long way in helping you to deal with them. I wish you the best and I hope you find some solutions soon.

    • Jane says:

      I think maybe you need to back the truck up. You sounded as though you were an adult when this GP “abused you” – why did you allow that to happen? I would humbly submit that there was some prior abuse or deprivation that caused you to go along with this GP in the first place. Maybe you need to start with looking at that?

      “They only gave me, small dose of anti depressants” – yeah, but that’s preferable to a large dose of anti depressants, surely?

      TBH, I find your post triggering as you seem entirely bought into your narrative as a victim.

      In my model of the world, you’re not a victim, you’re a co-creator. You may well have been coereced into creating things you didn’t want to create, but now you can choose your creations, including staying attached to your narrative as a victim. But you will reap the resultant consequences.

      • Nichelle Stanley says:

        Also Jane, why do you “allow” yourself to be “triggered?” I find your narrative as a troll has “triggered” me into saying that you are awash in your own self narrative of imaginary victimization.

      • Nichelle Stanley says:

        Jane, in your “model of the world,” you seem pretty harsh. You make a valid point that Linda may have experienced victimization as a child, that would make her more vulnerable, not more deserving of blame. people with trauma need some empathy. I doubt that your advice is the least bit helpful, just judgemental and in my opinion extremely misinformed.

      • Carol T. says:

        Does blaming the victim make you feel more powerful, as though this can never happen to you?
        I hope you are never in a situation where the police ignore you once, let alone four times. I have ben there and no way did I “allow” it.
        You sound young – under 40, anyway – or you would know better. Hope so. If you’re older than 40 then we’re moving from ignorance to cruelty on your part. Please listen and learn from others’ lives. It’s easier than having to learn through experience.

    • Julia Roy says:

      Linda, I am so sad that this happened to you. You are strong. Strong enough to tell your story. Strong enough to move forward. Strong enough to forgive those who did not help you. Strong enough to forgive those who hurt you. You can heal, but it will take time. Have an attitude of gratitude. Feel blessed…you survived! You are strong. Let go so your abuser and the abuse is no longer in control of your feelings. Talk to Gid and ask for healing, comfort and peace. God is love and can reach you to love despite the pain.

  51. Anita Robinson says:

    I am a First Resonder and am always looking to learn more so I can best treat our patients.

  52. Sue willmott says:

    I think trauma prevents u from being in the bubble you were once in.

    • PAM THOMAS says:

      yes it does, the rose tinted world you used to live in has burst and you see life as it really is. its how you deal with it is the answer, me I wanted to understand how it happened and how I could trigger past memories, i was quite surprised because you always think you are on your own but your not.

  53. Sue willmott says:

    I want to be loving and caring to my next partner but my bad mememories keeps me from letting go. How do u convince yourself that it wont happen again. The power of positivity?

    • David George says:

      Sue… I look at my wife… she does not touch or hold much- at all… good with kids and grandkids- but with a fair bit of physical distance. In my late teens and 20’s hugs were the rage… sometimes a bit forced and artificial- but a start… today I see dads pushing prams around town- and holding and hugs seem to be the norm.

      A country lad- my mum would say about a split- ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’. Old Wive’s Tales. Learning to live and to love is an art… as much about letting go, as learning. I wish you well- we all do deserve it!

      In my world taking time out- to listen and to notice, is important. To take some account of the wreckage of my own generation… as I see it… and to take some account of ourselves- with care and compassion- I wish you well…

      • PAM THOMAS says:

        Weird isnt it how it takes something so little to jog a memory, I find it quite fascinating because I never know what memory is going to surface, but when I get people bring up their childhood memories or family I have a complete blank on that one. And if you push it you end up with a bad headache so I stopped doing that the doctor said if the memory is supposed to come back it will but we think it was because of the violence, abuse and emotional trauma leaves me where I am today. I have no feelings and emotions towards my grandchildren in fact anyone and at least I dont get hurt anymore.

      • Sue willmott says:

        Thanks david. Thats very kind words. Blessings and love.

    • PAM THOMAS says:

      Have you tried using mindfulness, there are boodles of book around. The other thing you could do is refocus your mind on lovely things you enjoy doing. I found I am always busy which dosent give me time to dwell on the past, not that I can remember it. Any bad thoughts I change over to nice ones. dwelling on the past dosent help, you cant change it, so what I do is everything I do has to please me and make me happy. You have to have a conversation with yourself or have you tried using an affirmation, it really works. Something like; the past is gone and forgotten, life is good and I like who and what I am, this is just a suggestion and if you say that everyday for a month the change should start to take place both within and without. Its about being positive and not letting negative thoughts in.

      • Julia Roy says:

        Pam, your self-affirmation is lovely. I might add…1. Focus on what you have, not what you do not have. Be grateful that the abuse has stopped and that you survived. You are unique. You know so much now. How can you help others with what you learned about trauma?

        • Hello Pam,
          Thanks for the positive suggestions and I’m already benefiting from what has been advised, letting go of the pain and resentment has held me captive longer that it might have if I hadn’t kept on blaming and looking for reasons! Julia

  54. marius says:

    the trauma experienced by a 1 year old, (as e.g by parental neglect) is totally different from the trauma experienced by, say a 22 year old Iraq war veteran
    Mr. Bessel means well, but has not got a clue!
    Marius

    • PAM THOMAS says:

      Did you read the book The Body Keeps the Score, I started it last night and I agree with you on that. Im looking for information that explains exactly how trauma of any sort affects the brain, although since I started having flashbacks and have been reading a lot I can now speed read, most of the books I read are about the brain and everyone has different situations brought about by brain trauma, mine was brought on by the loss of both parents, best friend and stress on stress on stress all crammed together brought about by different people yet all in one year, then I had more stress on top of that, got depressed suffered anxiety attacks panic attacks and went to the doctor and got help and it worked. I turned my life around although I have no recollection of my past and changed my surname because that part of the family was all I had memory of. I still have big chunks missing and have also lost my feelings and emotions. I also found out there are a lot of people out there who have been through loads of stress and there is a website you can go on which might be of use to you. its called . http://www.experience project and what it says on it that my sort of memory loss is called TRANSIENT GLOBAL AMNESIA CAUSED BY STRESS, THIS IS TO DO WITH AMNESIA AND THEY DONT KNOW WHETHER YOU WILL EVER GET IT BACK AGAIN.More stress on top of that where you lose feelings and emotions that is called EPISCOPAL AMNESIA. I suggest you go on that website and have a read, I found it great made me understand things more although it dosent help getting your memory back. I also had a violent past and was abused by my sister but was able to deal with that with help from a counsellor and taking courses. When my memory went completely I lost all the violent memories but unfortunately everything else went as well . I think you have to go hunting and read different books before you hit on the one that relates to your case.

  55. PAM THOMAS says:

    Since I started getting my memory back via flashbacks it has made me stronger than before. My sleep is amazing, I don have insecurity and call a spade a spade, dont take any crap from anyone now and am quite capable of dressing someone down anywhere. I did have issues about going out on my own but seem to be able to do that now although I think this change has taken effect over the months. I find I also dont want people in my space, its okay as friend but I have a tolerance level of distance probably because most of the people I know have issues. I also have learnt not to have any friends that bring me stress because I pass out when I get too much. My learning curve has kicked in again so looking forward to that, paint watercolour pictures and have completely changed my life for the better. As for the other things I cant change the situation if the memories come back they do and if they dont, nothing I can do about it. But I love the comments on here because its nice to know there are other people out there who have been through similar situations and how they cope. Im also still doing meditation, and mindfulness and other forms of life changing therapy, you cant have enough of that.

  56. Sue willmott says:

    Hi, i have trauma. Still wont move out of the family home too scared. Worried it will all happen again and it was 18 yrs ago. Still wont get into a new relationship. Cant really remember my childhood. Am very indecisive and worried i will make the wrong decision again and get ill. X

    • There’s no doubt trauma leaves it’s marks & scars! Making a decision to change, move your body & mind in a new healthier direction is a good place to begin the healing journey. Take your power back, learn what you can from the past & leave it there, let it go, don’t carry it into your present or future. Live FREE in one day “today” – plan for a happier future & live today knowing life is a precious gift. If someone hurt you deal with it. Forgive one & all so you can heal. It doesn’t mean to have allow toxic people into your life. Learn to discern safe people from unsafe people. Trust your gut. Life is an adventure filled with joy, struggle, temptations, pain, hope, loss & more. Life is a miracle. Build the best life you can with what you have along the way. Don’t carry other people’s crimes in your body or into your future. You are the only one who can live & direct your life the way you want. Take charge. Put the wrongs other people did against you back at their feet. Their wrongs are not yours to carry.

    • PAM THOMAS says:

      iTS BEEN 11 YEARS NOW SINCE i LOST MY MEMORY AND NOW IT COMES BACK IN FLASHBACKS AND CONFUSED DREAMS WHICH CAN TAKE A FEW DAYS TO SORT ITSELF OUT. i DONT HAVE ANY FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS, STILL CANT REMEMBER ANYTHING TO DO WITH CHILDHOOD, PARENTS ETC ALTHOUGH i DO HAVE PHOTOS BUT NO MEMORIES ASSOCIATED WITH, ALL i HAVE IS MUSIC WHICH i KNOW THE WORD TO AND THATS IT. i HAVE BEEN ON A LEARNING CURVE SINCE IT HAPPENED LEARNING ABOUT THE BRAIN , TRAUMA AND STROKES, I AM NEVER TOO SURE WHAT SORT OF MEMORY WILL POP UP, DONT HAVE CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS AS I REMEMBER A CHAP IT WAS GOING OUT WITH WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN ACCELERATING THE STRESS THE WHOLE SCENARIO BROUGHT ABOUT, LITTLE DID HE REALISE HOW ILL HE MADE ME THEN WHEN I REALISED THERE WAS THIS VOID AND NOTHING, ITS BEEN A LONG JOURNEY TO GET HERE. ALL THROUGH MY JOURNEY I HAVE WRITTEN NOTES TO MYSELF AND AM WORKING ON WRITING A BOOK TO HELP OTHERS WHO HAVE AND ARE GOING THROUGH THIS. PEOPLE JUST DONT GET IT, THEY DONT REALISE HOW WE FEEL, WHAT WE FEEL AND THE APPREHENSION OF WHAT IS TO COME. HAVE JUST BOUGHT THE BOOK THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE, MIND, BRAIN AND BODY

      • Victoria carter says:

        What thoughts do you have on why some patients who experience trauma in childhood end up extremely empathetic as adults, whilst others going through a similar experience learn to turn off their feelings towards themselves and others and become the complete opposite selfish and withdrawn . I wonder what decides the choice between withdrawal or the desperation to please – have you seen any distinct differences between the ways boys and girls/men and women cope ? Working as a hypnotherapist with the RTT Method it’s possible to free most clients in one session so I don’t get to build a long term relationship to research the whys very often but as a survivor myself who went down the ‘fix everyone else people pleaser root’ my husband had gone the the opposite way to selfishness /withdrawal as an adult . It’s good to be well I feel like my systems can finally stop searching and be still, I feel light and calm .

  57. Dana says:

    Great video, and 100% nailed the the people with trauma go through

  58. Fiona says:

    Dissociation and PTSD or dissociation linked to Asperger’s? What’s the difference – they share the same symptoms!

    • David George says:

      Oh yes I agree! Strong correlation…

  59. PAM THOMAS says:

    I suffered memory loss for 12 years through stress and trauma and am still getting some memories back. Lost all my childhood, in fact only have fragments. I would like to know and understand what trauma does to the brain. With me I have learnt that by meditating and living a stress free life I am able to get some more memories back. I dont remember what it was like to share xmas with family, have no recollection of them, only know what my mother and father look like from pictures and its only with the help of people who know me I am able to gather more information on a daily basis. have no recollection of being married, have no feelings and emotions

    • David George says:

      Sometimes teenage years, and middle age changes everything- and what we take back is a struggle. I used the NICABM theories, and my programme, to address stored trauma to regain memory, restore confidence, and to live in the present moment… …I was very resilient, motivated, and had many survivor skills. I followed the line of neuroplasticity, or ‘retraining the brain’.

      I had lost a lot of my recent memory through middle age- and was getting very doddery. I used you-tube clips, form every year and era of my life to massage my memory banks. I did some singing myself- in a choir… …this, along with physical fitness, and the outdoors.

      Time with other people was essential too… especially people like myself!

      It is working well so far. I slip backwards, sometimes, but never so far…

      I wish I had contact with practitioners but I live a long long away from urban centres, and could not afford a lot of help.

  60. Nancy Smith says:

    what is sexuality? How do I get my mental health worker to understand that I have suffered PTSD and extreme trauma in my past and how can they help me overcome without putting me on drugs that DON”T WORK with me but against me?, please

    • David George says:

      Sexuality, sensuality, and sensitivity ought to work together. I am 67 years old. At age 17 I was out on massive doses of drugs for migraine and it re-traumatised me. The pundits in NICABM say there is no cure for C-PTSD. It was first names by Judith Herman in 1991 with her book “Trauma And Recovery”. So the experts and the enormous client group work together to try and find solutions.

      Our younger generations are going ahead in leaps and bounds with child raising, gender equality; in a way my generation did not have. Overall this gives me hope for the future. In the meantime we have to pick up the pieces of our lives- and try to find answers… reaching out- putting our hand up and saying “me too!” is a really good start… … …

    • The work of personal healing from PTSD is coming to terms with all you’ve survived, looking for the gift/s of what you learned from such experiences, forgiving one/all for everything that happened “knowing’ you survived, and moving forward “knowing” you don’t have to repeat the past, take on labels, or stay stuck. Deep heavy traumas & losses change who we are, that with courage allows us to go forth into the future of our lives deeper better more sensitive people, who can understand others on amazing levels. The damages we all survive can become the strongest parts of us.

  61. jacqueline says:

    I suffer from PTSD (X2) and would like to learn how to get rid of fear if that’s even an option.

  62. G.J. Craig says:

    Thank you for sharing and caring. I would like to know how to wake the memories of my past. I have tried a journal with no success.
    My best,
    G.j. Craig

    • I don’t believe it’s wise to try to dredge up memories if they aren’t obvious.

    • David George says:

      I developed an online technique I called ~squirrelling~. Group based journalling with similar people. I found it gave me much more leverage and traction… :D

  63. Venus says:

    I’m interested to know about the long term effects of trauma that has occured in early childhood. For example, is the fear of being shouted at left embedded in a toddler or does the fear become erased as the child grows?if it does become erased,when dies that happen? How does that fear affect the child’s teenage years?

  64. Denise says:

    How trauma of being removed from parents affects learning, general health,how he sees himself, and if it places current health issues at higher risk of a event?? Atypical autism, absence seizures, chrons/colitis?? How can we help him while he is still in care?? He is 10 and has an extremely close bond with parents, but now noticing flashbacks, reassurance he will come home, constant asking when he will be home, are parents still trying, is he missed, etc..thank you

  65. Michelle Tremblay says:

    given I have brain damage as a result of a stroke while having had brain surgery, I suspect I have ptsd therefore with respect to treatment would it be better served if I was to see a social worker or someone within the “Neuro field.?;

  66. Ani Buckland says:

    I would like to know re art therapy interventions to process the emotions of trauma which are most currently found effective if there is this evidence?
    Thank you so much
    I supervise Art therapists who work with ptsd in children and young people in UK
    Also I am thinking also of supporting therapists who experience secondary trauma from their work with patients .
    Ani Buckland , annbuckland@icloud.com

  67. Hi . I have found this article really fascinating.
    I want to try and be to the point ..basically from being a resident singer who prided herself on becoming an resident entertainer for hotels around the east coast of Norfolk ..due to a badly installed fitting of impoverished poor hair extensions..left me in a state of shock as they during gig matted up and took 4 hrs to dethatch …wearing half the hair for another gig 10 days later.. exactly same thing happened…my scalp at back of head was badly traumatised and own hair was badly damaged.. thou stylist and coleagues trying to detangle mess . I was left from 2014 to 2017/8 hair in state of flux ..shock to system left me as if by a knock on affect very unwell ..jaw infectuons depression and no longer loving life and the things especially wanting to sing for my career
    ..all gone. Please can you give any advise on this …as it was my livliehood shot down in flames not my physical being ..going through war trauma…but trauma doesnt necessarily have to be un a literal life threatening scenario….does it..I would really apprecuate a priffesional point of view on this as my life has changed drastically.

    • Victoria carter says:

      Contact me for information.

  68. JEN COGLIN says:

    best response for teen daughter with anxiety and overthinking patterns that leave her feeling unhappy and a bit disorientated . i believe it could be connected to seeing me flip out a couple of years ago and then move out of the family home for good. she is asking me for help and is open to support from outside people and has taken some action through meditation to help herself. she is nearly 18 x
    what first?

  69. JEN COGLIN says:

    best response for teen daughter with anxiety and overthinking patterns that leave her feeling unhappy and a bit disorientated . i believe it could be connected to seeing me flip out a couple of years ago and then move out of the family home for good. she is asking me for help and is open to support from outside people and has taken some action through meditation to help herself. she is nearly 18 x

  70. Michelle Simpson says:

    How to overcome lack of resilience

    • David George says:

      …reaching out… works for me…

  71. Debbie says:

    I would like to know how truama affects the cognitive abilities of people .

  72. Elizabeth Footitt says:

    How can you get better

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