What is trauma? During moments when we are overwhelmed, our ability to integrate what is happening is diminished. Trauma is the result of stressors which threaten your sense of security, sense of self, and self-agency and the stress of which exceeds your ability to cope, make sense of, and move forward from that experience. At the core of trauma are often feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, hyper-vigilance, and a sense of pervasive threat, risk, insecurity, or danger.
The essence of trauma is psychological injury – and presents as unhelpful emotional, perceptive, cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal, and physiologic functioning which is persistent and causes distress in an individual’s life.
"Traumatized clients often experience rapid, dramatic, exhausting, and confusing shifts of intense emotional states, from dysregulated fear, anger, or even elation, to despair, helplessness, shame, or flat affect. They may continue to feel frozen, numb, tense, or constantly ready to fight or flee. They may be hyperalert, overly sensitive to sounds or movements and easily startled by unfamiliar stimuli. Or they may underreact to stimuli, feel distant from their experience and their bodies, or even feel dead inside.” ― Pat Ogden, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment
“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” (p.97)” ― Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma