• Kathryn Hulland

Trauma & the Nervous System

Below the image and in italics is a copy of the Facebook post by Angela Dunning which started me off writing this.

It's easy to underestimate the effect trauma after trauma has on our body, especially the nervous system. The fact that you can go to the doctor time and time again and be fobbed off so many times for years and that they don't even mention the nervous system is very worrying. It needs talking about more, it needs much more recognition and awareness. I worked it out for myself with research and reading books like The Body Knows the Score and The Meaning of Pain; I learned mindfulness, meditation & reiki and noticed the positive impact they had on soothing mind and body.

My trauma was medical, and I had no awareness of it until 2 years ago. I'd worked out ways to help my fatigue and pain but I was oblivious to the origins, once I knew this I was able to heal on a much deeper level as awareness brings more acceptance. .

Medical trauma hit me time and time again starting at 18 months old with full degree burns, at 8 I was diagnosed with an auto immune condition that required blood transfusions, stays at Great Ormond Street Hospital and various other hospital treatment throughout my life, sepsis with kidney abcess, spleen removal, excruciating bone marrow tests, c-Section, tests, scans and many many more! They've been constant throughout my life and there was never any recognition of the long term impact that trauma was having on my mental health and nervous system, or even suggestion that it's something to be aware of.

I've spent the last 2 years focused on the recovery of my nervous system following chemo, operation and radiotherapy and facing the fear of dying and leaving my daughter motherless, what I've discovered is that it is possible but you have to tune in, have support, make sacrifices and that's not available to everyone. I'm very privileged that the time and gifted funds was afforded to me to properly heal and find what works for me.

What works for me may not be the same for others but this is my recipe: Reiki, Mindfulness & Meditation, Nature, Horses & Ponies, massage, reflexology, stetching and vagus nerve exercises, talking, essential oils, quiet time, asking for help, being in tune with my body so I cancel plans rather than push on when needed, doing work I love and that fits in with my life rather than the other way around, good diet with plenty of fruit, veg, ferments and not much dairy, reflexology, time with good friends - that is using energy on those people that you want to see, community, dancing, singing, laughter, gratitude.... I have so much gratitude for this amazing gift that is life. ❤️

Chronic illness is life changing, the triggers vary from person to person. Recovery may be possible but it may not. For me it's been about finding a balance of living with it that works so I can enjoy life again, it's the middle ground!

We must never under estimate the impact life experiences have on our bodies subconsciously, and how our body will often find ways to bring it to the surface. With these conditions can come much emotional turmoil, depression, grief, guilt, anger, frustration, anxiety... the list is endless.

Reiki and meditation help massively in calming our nervous systems, taking time to switch off and relax is so important to bring the nervous system down and soothe it. It can take practice, especially if we are in a massively heightened state in our bodies and minds, it's not easy to come down from that, but it is possible 🥰

via Angela Dunning. All links to her website are below:

"For those who’ve experienced early childhood developmental trauma and/or additional traumatic experiences as an adult, we can go half a lifetime, and sometimes even longer, with our nervous system in a constant state of high alert. It becomes so normal to us that we don’t even recognize anymore just how much tension we are holding and carrying around all of the time, and how this state of alertness impacts our every decision and action.

Not only is it exhausting living like this but it also compromises our health and well-being in so many ways: chronic pain, fatigue, illness, disease, mental health challenges, our capacity to fulfil our truest potential, and inevitably our relationships also suffer too.

So, there comes a big life-changing moment when we realise that what we need to do more than anything else in our life is to heal our nervous system. THAT needs to become our priority over all other roles and obligations, plans and timescales, wishes and desires.

Our nervous system’s healing is now essential.

And, like a tender mother turning to her fraught little baby, so too must we now turn towards ourselves, our body, mind, soul and spirit and ask: How can I best support myself now? What changes do I need to make? And what conditions and environment are going to help me heal, soften and turn a corner at long last…?

After years of heightened stress this healing is long overdue and in the end, is probably the most important thing you will ever do for yourself…"

Angela Dunning

The Horse’s Truth

If you'd like to support my work take a look at my new page offering inspiring personal development articles and support for equine facilitated/assisted practitioners:

#Trauma #Recovery #nervoussystem #nervoussystemarousal #anxiety #tension #chronicpain #wellbeing #health #healing #thebody #somaticarousal #midlife #relaxation #childhoodtrauma #developmentaltrauma

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