When we are traumatized, the body becomes a painful place to live. We don’t understand the body and it’s hard to look after or manage, so we lock all the doors and move into the mind; the head, the only place we know where to be even though it’s just as painful if not more. If we can learn how to listen to the body, to understand what it is telling us we can move out of our minds and spread out back into our bodies where we can live more peacefully and knowledgeable.
I didn’t know I was disconnecting from body until I did yoga. It wasn’t the first time I did yoga, or the second or third or 20th! and it was by mistake that I even tried yoga again many years after my first attempts. To my amazement I discovered what seemed like a whole new world; my body. I’m someone who falls into depression easily and often that feels like there is a lack of control so I didn’t immediately recognize that I was disconnected, rather I experienced yoga as a way to regain control and access to my body. I felt a sense of power and autonomy, like there was something I could do that made me feel good. In fact, I felt so good, I didn’t realize how not good I was feeling previously.
As I began to learn about stress, anxiety, depression and trauma I could look back at this experience of yoga and see that it was a way for me to come back into my body. I was reintroduced to my body and empowered to feel safe to live in all of it. I learnt to befriend my body. I can look back on many experiences of aches and illness and recognize that they occurred at times when I was under intense pressure and highly stressed without giving myself an opportunity to recuperate. This illness and retaliation is the body saying no!
How did I unfriend the body in the first place?
For people who have experienced a very obvious trauma such as a major accident, injury or form of abuse or neglect it might be obvious why they would dissociate from the pain of their bodies. For many people, it’s the stress from the pressure of what our societies consider ‘normal’ that are traumatizing without us realizing. Stress occurs when we are overworked, overthinking and overeating and this makes the body work extra hard to keep up with the cycle of stress we perpetuate. When our body doesn’t have the chance to regenerate, repair and restore to its natural state it will quite simply stop being capable of supporting you in one way or another. When we don’t understand the inevitable and eternal mind-body connection it can be easy to become upset with a constantly sick body or a disruptive mind. Somehow, we are not taught to respect and respond to these cues of stress. Instead we soldier on to our deadlines and events and whatever it is we think we need to do regardless of the state of the body. For example, many people who have a headache will take some form of pain killers but these are really just pain masks, so that we can carry on without feeling the message from the body that it needs a break. It is also true, that to understand the pain and stress caused by the way we perceive it is ‘normal’ to live our lives, we must look at those who came before us, our parents and their parents and so on to understand their experiences that they have passed on to us. More on generational trauma and adverse childhood experience in a future post.
On the up side, these days more and more people are recognizing the need for #self-care! More people are becoming sensitive to the needs of their body and not just their minds and the rest of society. This also means more and more people are moving back into their bodies.
If you would like to know more about trauma please visit my Trauma Awareness page. If you would like to connect for support in befriending your body, coping with stress, depression, anxiety or any form of trauma I’d love to hear from you. You can learn more about my Body Therapy sessions and packages here.