What is trauma?
It's a buzzword we hear a lot about these days, so, what exactly is trauma?
Most folks would define trauma by identifying situations such as fighting in a war, being a victim of a natural disaster, being kidnapped, etc. Maybe that's what you think of when someone says they've been traumatized.
But what if I told you trauma happens to all of us, every day?
When therapists refer to trauma, we are really talking about any significant event which causes a substantial emotional and/or physical impact.
In this way, unfortunately, trauma is far more inclusive.
Maybe its losing a family member to cancer, witnessing your parents being physically violent, experiencing sexual assault, being in close proximity to an act of school violence, or enduring emotional abuse in a romantic relationship.
In any event, there are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a trauma. The most important thing to keep in mind is this:
if it impacted you, if it is something that you continue to revisit in your thoughts/feelings/behaviors, if it is something that left an overwhelming collection of emotions in its wake: then it is considered a traumatic experience.
Next week, we'll dig a bit deeper into healing trauma, stay tuned. -Meredith Mertens Hegedus