Trauma & Your Health | Healing The Past to Succeed in the Present

Episode 61: 
Trauma & Your Health
Healing the Past to 
Succeed in the Present

Full transcription available at the bottom of this post

Is Past Trauma Keeping You Stuck?

When we think of "trauma" we usually think of what's called "Big T Trauma" things like war, violence, sexual abuse, accidents and tragedies.  But far more common and often unacknowledged but potentially just as emotionally damaging are "Little t trauma's"; things like divorce (yours or your parents) bullying, job loss, or illness.  No matter the type of trauma, or how long it lasted, it all has the potential to cause us great suffering and post traumatic stress.  And that stress may be showing up in your life in ways you aren't recognizing as being related to past trauma, so it's important to explore whether or not that's the case for you.  

We often downplay our own little t trauma's, for example: maybe you're someone who has struggled with emotional eating or overeating for years or even decades, but you downplay your own suffering in that trauma, thinking "oh, first world problems" right?   You might think, "I've got a roof over my head, my kids are okay, I have enough food, in fact too much food is the problem.  My suffering in this struggle is nothing compared to HER suffering because of that tragedy."  We downplay the significance of this in our life and how it's truly affecting us because we compare it to a big T trauma.  Comparing the perceived severity of trauma is useless and not serving you at all.  If it's a big deal to you then it is, acknowledge it and treat it as such. Unacknowledged trauma and suffering doesn't just go away, and it WILL keep you stuck in destructive relationships, and habits of thought, emotion and behavior.   

In this episode I'll answer some of the most important questions about healing from trauma:
 - What is trauma? What is Suffering? How do we acknowledge this in our lives?
 - How does this show up in our lives? In our emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and relationships? 
 - What are the signs of unhealed trauma?
 - How do I begin to heal from trauma?  What are the skills, tools and practices I can use to heal and move forward?
 - What can life after trauma look like? How do I get there?

Friends, you can do this, you can move past trauma, you can be bigger and better and stronger than you've ever been. But you have to be willing to stop avoiding and put in the work of healing, changing your thoughts, and drawing closer to God. That my friends is true power. That's the true change. 


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Full Transcript: 

Well, friends August is coming to a close and so is our month of focusing on relationships, and how they affect our ability to reach our health, wellness and weight loss goals. We started by talking about how to deal with difficult people. Then the next episode was about how to get your unsupportive spouse on board with your new healthy lifestyle, then we explored the narcissist relationship and have you might be in a relationship with one and what to do about it. And today, I think we really can't end this month without talking about trauma, and how that's affecting you. Now, by trauma. I don't just mean like a horrific, horrible event and having PTSD from it. I'm also talking about trauma that we might call just suffering or just something really bad, or something really hard that we've been through trauma that we might downplay in our own lives, but it's definitely affecting our health right now. So let's go!

Welcome back to the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life in the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach, a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you take back control of your mind, health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you. I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health. Find food freedom, and finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend, are powerful, and the world needs you to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward. So let's

pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes, let's walk and talk.

The effects of underlying traumatic stress might be showing up in your life in ways that you didn't even really consider struggling with your relationship with food and exercise can absolutely be related to past trauma. So it's important to address whether or not that is the case for you. First, we should talk about what we're actually meaning when we say trauma because we're not always saying the same things. The American Psychological Association defines trauma in this way. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event, like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event. Shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms, like headaches or nausea. 
The DSM, on the other hand, has a much more strict definition of trauma. Now, the DSM is what a psychologist or therapist would use to diagnose someone with PTSD. So there's very strict criteria that you have to meet in order to get that diagnosis. That criteria is this actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence. They go on to say stressful events not involving an immediate threat to life or physical injury, like psychosocial stressors which example divorce or job stress are not considered trauma in the definition, according to the DSM. Now, I want you to take a quick note here that the DSM diagnostic criteria does not include being a witness to a traumatic event, which I would consider could be very traumatic in and of itself. So I just want you to take note that in order to get a diagnosis of actual PTSD, it's a very small window of criteria that you have to meet. And basically, it's that you were in actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence. That's a very small part of what I think encompasses all of the things that could be trauma in our life. 

So the important part here is not whether or not you meet the clinical diagnosis criteria of PTSD. What really matters is your experience of that emotional trauma. Was it trauma to you? That's what really matters. Do you clinically fit the diagnosis of PTSD? Maybe Maybe not, doesn't matter because it still could be causing post traumatic stress for you. So I want to make that really clear just because you don't meet that specific criteria does not mean that it was not trauma. Okay? When we talk about trauma, you may have heard it, put it this way, a big T trauma and a little T trauma. So a big T trauma would be those things that do fit that DSM criteria. So things like war, rape, home invasion abuse, being in a terrible accident, something like that. Those are things that we would think like, obviously, yes, that's trauma that was traumatic. But there's also little t trauma, and little t trauma would be considered more of those psychosocial stressors that the DSM was talking about divorce, illness, bullying, job loss, all of these things can act like trauma to us, in our bodies. And in our and in our minds, little t traumas are often really downplayed as being like not that big of a deal, especially compared to a big T trauma. And I think that is such a huge oversight, because little t traumas can absolutely have a huge emotional impact on you. But because they're downplayed so much, we don't deal with them as well. It's not an obvious thing that we need to deal with. Right? And so we just don't often and us as humans, we often downplay our own little t trauma. So for example, maybe you're someone who has struggled with emotional eating or overeating for years for decades even. But you downplay your own suffering in that trauma, because it's like, oh, first world problems, right? Like you got a roof over your head, you have enough food. In fact, you have too much food. That's your problem, right? We downplay the significance of this in our life and how it's truly affecting us because we compare it to a big T trauma, I don't want you to compare, we're not here to compare traumas. Okay? Here's another example. Maybe in high school, you were bullied or picked on or treated just horribly over and over and over again, by that group of Mean Girls, right? That repeated little t trauma can have every bit the effect on your emotional health and your physical health as that big T trauma Does that make sense? It's still a big deal. And we need to give it the credit for being a big deal that it truly deserves. The attitude here is not to just get over it, right? If that was so easy, we'd all just get over it. But we don't, these little t traumas have created a lot of suffering for you in your life. So the point here is don't compare levels of trauma or suffering, okay? It is not like, Oh, my traumas so much less than her trauma because she experienced this and I'm only experiencing this, stop comparing suffering is suffering, okay, it all sucks. All suffering is terrible, and all suffering sucks. And it's all valid. And it all can have long lasting effects for all of us. Okay, so I really, I just want to make sure that we're on the same page here that no matter what sort of trauma we're talking about, it all is important. 

Now, there's a lot of ways that trauma might show up in your life now. So something that happened in the past, now continually showing up for you in ways that maybe you didn't recognize were trauma responses. So perhaps you're someone who really likes to fix other people. Like, I would like to swoop in and fix that for you. Let me take care of it. Let me help let me handle it. Are you a people pleaser? Do you seem to attract narcissistic people into your life? Do you tend to be codependent? Perhaps you need a lot of external validation. You need people to tell you like you're okay. That was okay. You're doing fine. You're doing good, right? You need to hear that a lot. Maybe you tolerate people being abusive to you. And I don't just mean physically abusive, I just mean people treating you shitty. Maybe you tolerate that a little more than you wish you would or maybe more than someone else. Maybe you have a fear of abandonment, you can't be alone, and you stick with someone way longer than you should stick with them because you're terrified of abandonment or being alone. Maybe you have difficulty setting boundaries. Maybe you live on high alert all the time, just emotional high alert at all times. You know what that feels like? It's like this constant anxiety response all the time. Maybe you deprioritize your own needs that will go back to that people pleasing, right? These are all ways that past trauma might be showing up for you and your emotional and relational life. 

You might also struggle to identify your own emotions. So something as a therapist, right, working with kids a lot and working with my own kids. And now even working with adults being able to name your emotion like I am feeling this exact way. This is how it feels instead of just this vague like I'm not sure how I feel about this right Maybe you don't have the best memory, maybe you forget stuff a lot. Maybe you have a freeze response. And this is one that I see a lot, we get very stuck, you just get very stuck, stuck in a thought loop. Maybe you're avoiding things because you feel paralyzed. You don't know what to do. You don't know how to act, you don't know what's right or what's wrong. Maybe you have an under reaction or an overreaction to particular situation. So if anyone has ever suggested to you like, Whoa, that was like a really big reaction to something that is not really that big of a deal. Or the opposite could be true, you have just a real under reaction to something that warranted you being a little bit more excited about in some way. And again, a lot of times, those of us who are dealing with past trauma, you might just show up in your life as small, right? You don't want to rock the boat, you don't want to, you know, stand up for yourself, you kind of are a people pleaser. You're not really setting and keeping boundaries, you kind of just want to stand in the back, you want to just be as agreeable as possible, like your, I guess, man, those type of personality traits are not always because of trauma, but it can very much be because of trauma. So I just really want you to be aware that that emotionally and relationally if you're showing up in these ways in your life, it could be because of trauma that you have not dealt with. 

Physically, trauma is also showing up in your life. So that is going to look like probably hormonal problems. Okay, so what's happening physically in your body is you have this really overstimulated HPA axis, your hypothalamus, pituitary adrenals. Okay, that is your stress response. So you have this chronically elevated stress level, and that's affecting your stress, sex hormones, your cortisol levels, even your brain neurotransmitters. Anytime you are in this chronically high stress, it's also going to affect your ability to lose weight. You also, because of that chronically high stress will have elevated inflammation. And this might be a reason that childhood trauma is often associated with a higher risk of health issues like heart disease, cancer, liver disease, and more. emotional trauma equals showing up in your body, you cannot separate mind and body you are one whole person. So you cannot separate what's happening in your body from what's happening in your mind. And vice versa. People with trauma might also have more chronic illnesses, especially autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, again, because this elevated stress level all the time, this increase inflammation all the time, those are going to lead to these chronic disorders, especially autoimmune disorders, which is a chronic disorder, you might also have pain, just unexplained pain, chronic pain, or tightness at different parts of your body. If you go back and listen to episode 50, it's called five steps to feeling your feelings. And I talk a lot in that episode about how your emotions show up in your body. And so for trauma, it's the exact same thing, trauma, and the emotions and stress associated with it absolutely are showing up in your body. Sometimes that feels like pain and tightness. 

And then of course, all of this is going to affect you achieving your health and fitness and weight loss goals. So if you've been struggling with your behavior around food and fitness, with obesity or disordered eating, it could be due to past trauma. And again, it doesn't have to be because of the big T trauma, it could be because of the little trauma. In fact, in fact that struggle in and of itself could be a little t trauma for you. Overeating and binge eating are being used generally as emotional avoidance behavior. Now, we've talked about that a lot on this podcast. And we talk about it a lot in the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program of these things, being your buffering behaviors, your avoidance behaviors, you also because of past trauma, might have punishing behaviors. So maybe you overeat and then you punish yourself with a workout to like burn it all off or you've been bad, or by purging or by withholding food from yourself after over eating. Those punishing behaviors often are avoid emotional avoidance behaviors that could be related back to past trauma, because what you're doing is trying to control constantly and that's why you're on always in this state of anxiety and stress, right because you're constantly trying to control because if I don't control and I let it slip I have to deal with this really hard stuff floating around in my head and I am not ready. And I do not want to. And I don't know how. So I must control. 

But the problem with being an over control is that it leads to loss of control every time. That's why you get stuck in this restrict, I can only eat like this, I can only eat these things, and then you binge because then you just go off the wagon, right and you just totally go for it and eat all the things. This restrict binge cycle also could be called a over control and loss of control cycle. And that could have everything to do with you avoiding emotions that have to do with past trauma. If you are someone who creates a lot of rules for yourself about fitness and food that also might be about past trauma. Again, it's this over control, and then loss of control. Those rules are all the ways that you're trying to control yourself to try to control everything. You might also be doing things that seem like super contradictory that you just can't make sense out of like, why am I doing this? Like, for example, maybe you start a diet in the morning, you're like, This is gonna be it. I'm doing it. I'm doing this diet. By the end of the night. You're like binging on Oreos on your couch. Like, you're like, Why? Why am I doing this, or maybe I've seen this too, you might keep like your trigger foods. So let's say Oreos, you cannot control yourself around Oreos like you eat one and it's a major trigger food for you. And you will purposely keep them in your house as like a test. Like, well, if I can keep them in my house and not eat them, then I'm winning. But what happens every frickin time you eat them, you totally set yourself up for failure, because you were trying to what? Over control. And that led to a what?  Loss of control. I'm telling you, it happens so many times in so many ways. But it's the same underlying thing that's happening every single time. 

Maybe you're someone who gets paralyzed or overwhelmed when you're trying to make decisions about food or fitness like, Oh, it's just too much I don't know what to do. I don't know how to do it, I can't do anything, right. If you get really easily overwhelmed with stuff. Again, this could be an avoidance technique that is related to past trauma. So you can see pretty clearly that past trauma is affecting your emotional health, your physical health and your ability to reach your goals in those areas. Now, some really interesting studies have linked trauma to your health. 

There is a clear relationship between BMI body mass index and trauma. One study found that the more PTSD type symptoms a person had, the more likely they were to gain weight over time. Another study looked at the relationship between exercise tolerance, and childhood abuse. This is so interesting. Researchers found that women who had been abused were more likely to avoid exercise, because their higher heart rate made them feel really amped up and evoked feelings of anxiety and fear that they had experienced early in their lives when they were being abused. So the feeling of that amped up exercise feeling actually reminded them of the feeling of being abused and that trauma, and so they avoid exercise. Now, if you think about that, logically, it makes perfect sense. Of course, you would avoid feeling that but you're going to find out pretty quickly here, that avoiding is never going to solve your problem. 

So what is going to solve your problem? How do we deal with this?  

One of the first things that I want you to think about is movement and exercise, it's super easy to do, everyone can do it. And again, if you're avoiding exercise, because it is perhaps reminding you of a trauma, then do different exercise, take a walk instead ride your bike slowly instead, in a do an exercise that doesn't put you in that heightened state of anxiety instead, do an exercise that is calming to your nervous system. Okay, now that's really, really important here. Because what happens is even not just related to exercise, but just in general, we get into this highly stressed highly anxious state, okay, because we're being triggered for whatever reason, or we're trying to avoid being triggered for whatever reason. So exercise and especially just gentle movement is really, really important and great for regulating your nervous system. overstimulation is one of the problems. So working on regulating your nervous system is going to be nothing but helpful. So the way you can do that again, take a walk, gentle stretching, yoga, deep breathing, splashing cold water on your face. All of those will help calm your nervous system and start regulating your nervous system. Now, isn't it interesting that some of the things that we naturally already do to calm ourselves are the things that are correct to do, right? You're feeling really like, oh my gosh, it's building the anxiety is coming, what are the some of the first things that you do, you're gonna go calm down and take some deep breaths, maybe you're gonna splash some cold water on your face, maybe you're just going to leave the situation and take a walk. Those are all the most amazing things that you could do for yourself. 

Another thing that's going to be really important, because remember, this whole month is about relationships. It seems obvious, but you're going to have to get out of those toxic relationships, those toxic relationships are just re-traumatizing you over and over and over again, it's just keeping you in this post traumatic stress. So as hard as it may be, this might be the hardest part for you in dealing with your trauma of the past. But you have to remove yourself from relationships that are continually re-traumatizing you. And I don't even have to describe what that looks like you already know. You are living it. You have been there, you hopefully are not there anymore. But if you are, you know what it feels like you know exactly what I'm talking about. You have to start removing yourself from those relationships as much as humanly possible. If you don't know how to do that, go back and listen to the last episode about are you in a relationship with a narcissist and what to do about it. 

So the biggest thing, then that we're talking about here, in dealing with your past trauma, is you have to stop the avoidance behaviors, the way you survived the trauma in the first place was through avoidance, and that was good. That is good. And it is useful. It is a coping mechanism. Because in that moment, we can't deal. We have to avoid feeling the horror of what's happening to us. Okay, so avoiding at that time is good. It is a positive coping skill that you have. And I'm glad you did it. Because you're here right now, because you avoided then, okay, I want to be super clear that that was so important that you avoided this tough thing in that moment, and in that time.  But now, years later, the big problem is, you're still avoiding, and now it's becoming very problematic, you have to do the work of non avoidance, because long term avoidance creates ongoing stress, and increased numbing behaviors, like drinking drugs, eating social media, etc, etc, all the ways that we avoid buffer numb, the longer you avoid, the longer those behaviors continue, the longer you're not getting where you want to be in your life. 

Avoiding also can look like diminishing something that was traumatic for you, or that you suffered, diminishing your struggle with your weight or diminishing, what you went through in high school with the mean, girls, whatever it was, if you are diminishing that for yourself and not acknowledging that that was truly a suffering experience for you. And it was a bit traumatic for you, if you are not acknowledging that you're that's avoidance behavior. So you have to acknowledge to yourself like that was real, I went through that, and it was really hard on me, you have to experience the emotions that that brings up for you to remember that don't avoid by saying, oh, you know, firstworldproblems, I'm fine, I'm an adult, I should get over it. If it's still present for you, it's still present for you. And you need to deal with that and stop avoiding it. 

So what happens now is that all these years later, you are, I hope in a space, where you could then experience the emotions that you were not able to experience, then you're able to process those emotions in a way that you were not able to, then you may have to relive this, you have to feel all the feelings. This is an important part of the healing process. And I want to just note to you here, I meet a lot of people and especially when I was a therapist who had something traumatic happen, and then for years, they're just rehashing this thing in therapy, we're just rehashing it and rehashing and rehashing it, I want to propose to you that that is not helping you. You should not have to go back and keep reliving this experience more than once, maybe twice, three times at the most, you should not have to go back to it. Okay, relive it so that you can experience the feelings, acknowledge the emotion, acknowledge the pain, understand for you the things that you could not understand then because you had to avoid it, then you do have to go through that but you do not have to go through it repeatedly. And certainly not for years at a time. So if that's happening for you, in therapy, hopefully, then you might need to find a new therapist. You might need to find a new therapist who's going to help you move forward, instead of keep rehashing the traumatic event. Does that make sense? So you do need to experience it. And I highly recommend that you experience it with a professional with a psychologist or therapist, whomever. But you do not need to keep re experiencing it. Does that make sense? 

Long term avoidance is the roadblock to your recovery from this. And all it does is produce ongoing, post traumatic stress if it's never dealt with. So you have to ask yourself really, really honestly, How are you coping with your post traumatic stress? What are you doing to avoid it? What are your avoidance techniques, and this is going to be hard, you have to be really honest. And you might not like your answers. And you might have to, you know, really face some truths about what you're doing. But you need to acknowledge what your avoidance behaviors are. And then you also need to acknowledge like, Have I really dealt with this? Have I really gone back with a professional and experienced this in the way that helps me process the emotions that I did not and could not process back then when it happened? Does that make sense? 

Once you've done that, once you've gone through that process, now, you can start to experience what's called Post Traumatic Growth. Doesn't that sound amazing? Don't we all want post traumatic growth, I think of it this way, there's life before the trauma, then there's the event of the trauma, and then there's life after the trauma. And I think it's really important to separate those into three separate things. There are three separate parts of our life, post traumatic growth, is the idea that the you after the trauma can actually be better, and stronger and more resilient, and more amazing than you before the trauma. Life can be better because of the trauma you experienced, not in spite of the trauma that you experienced. And I want you to really hear me when I say that, life can be better because of what happened to you, not in spite of what happened to you post traumatic stress, which is what you might be going through right now can be the beginning of post traumatic growth, not a permanent label of something that's wrong with you, it can be the beginning of something so much bigger, in thinking about how to grow because of trauma, and how to grow after trauma. 

One of the things that you really need to focus on is your story of what happened. How do you define yourself? Do you define yourself as a victim of Bla bla trauma, a victim of this thing that happened to me when you tell the story of what happened? Do you like the role that you're playing in that story? Are you playing the role of a victim in the story that you're telling yourself or others? Are you playing the hero in the story that you're telling yourself or others? Here's an example: a while ago, I read a book by a guy named John O'Leary, it's called “On Fire”. So basically, the short story is as a child, he was horribly burned, spent months, maybe years in the hospital, like he's covered in skin grafts, they didn't think he was going to live like a horrible, horrible traumatic event for him. Now, the story that he tells about that traumatic event for him is not a story of him being a victim. It is a story of him being a victor, how he triumphed in his struggle, you can change your story, at any time, it's your story. You can never change what happened to you, you cannot change the past, you cannot change what happened or how you dealt with it or how you responded to it, or what you did in that moment. You cannot change any of that. But you can change the story that you tell about it. Now, you don't have to look back fondly at what happened. You don't have to think Oh, thank goodness that happened to me. Because now I'm like this and that. And I've grown so much. No, no, you don't have to be thankful that it happened to you. But you can look back at it and see it as an opportunity to grow stronger, and to overcome. It's all about how you're telling the story. Now, you're in charge of that. 

So you're saying yes, that happened to me. But now what now what? What is the life that you want to create now? And how much are you letting that thing that happened to you define that life? You might be reliving that experience over and over again and this is something that I hear a lot because we all do it whether it's a big T trauma or a little t trauma. We all do this to ourselves. We relive it over and over. We replay it in our mind over and over what you should have done what you should have said how that was your fault how you should have acted. Listen, stop throwing yourself under the bus, you did the best you could, at that time.  If you could have or would have been capable of doing something different, you would have done it, wouldn't you? Yes. But you couldn't, you are not capable of it, then you are not capable then of what you are capable of now. So stop throwing yourself under the bus saying that you wish you would have done this or you acted this way, it's not serving you. Why would you do that to yourself, you would not do that to a friend. If a friend told you about a traumatic experience that they went through, you wouldn't be like, Oh, well, why were you wearing that? Or why did you go with him? Or why did you say that? Why did you do? You would never. So why would you do it to yourself? Why would you keep re traumatizing yourself, by going over this story and thinking about all the things you should have Coulda, Woulda, stop doing it to yourself, you are literally just re traumatizing yourself over and over again. 

You cannot change the past, you did the best you could with what you had at the time. You can, however, change your story about the past and what it means. Now, if you choose to define your story in the past that I did something wrong and that I'm the victim and I was hopeless and helpless. And I still am. And that is the story you are going to continue to live in your life.  Hear me please. The story you're telling about who you were then hopeless, helpless victim is the story you will continue to live, you get to make a choice, this option to tell a different story is available to you. You have the power to tell the story any damn way you want, you can tell it in a way that maybe I didn't have the strength, then maybe what happened then was because of these reasons and these things that were going on, but that was then. But here's how I tell the meaning of that. Now, here's who I am. Now, here's how I have grown from that. Now, you get to tell that story. You have to have your own back, you have to stop throwing yourself under the bus and figuring out ways that it was your fault or that something you could have should have done. Stop throwing yourself under the bus and have your own back tell a powerful story about who you are now instead of a victim story. 

What if you could say to yourself, hey, I made it through that. And if I can come out on the other side of that I can freakin face anything that this life can throw at me. If I can come out of that, and be strong and powerful. And know my worth, I can do anything. Do you know how you get strong and powerful and know your worth? You got to do the work sister and the work happens right inside your brain. Think about survivors of something that you've read about. You see, you'll usually find that there's two types of survivors, right one who lets the thing to find them, or the ones who have overcome and chosen to define themselves. I'll give you a hint, you've only read about the second type. You've only heard about the second type, the ones who have decided to define themselves. You've heard about them for a reason, they had a choice and so to you. 

The fact is that this thing happened to you. That is the fact here. Remember, if we're using the formula for success, the thing that you cannot change the circumstance, the fact that is that this happened to you, everything else is optional. Every thought, every emotion, every feeling every action, all of that is optional. You can choose to be defined by that circumstance and have your thoughts reflect that or you can choose to define yourself and have your thoughts and emotions and actions reflect that. Instead, the fact cannot be changed. The past cannot be changed everything after that. Totally up to you. 

I love when we're talking about trauma. I love this analogy of a vase. And there is a Japanese art called Kintsugi. And if you're Japanese and I murdered that word, I apologize. But Kintsugi is where they take like a broken ceramic vase, and then they put it back together. And in the cracks. They use metal so like gold and silver to repair this vase. And the idea is that they took something broken, and they made something even more beautiful and valuable out of it. And it's actually a philosophy, a Japanese philosophy that they live by where they treat breakage and then repair as part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise or in our case, avoid and I just Love that I think it's so beautiful. So I think about you, before trauma is just this intact vase, just think of a simple ceramic face that is you. And then trauma is the breaking of that vase. And your experience of post traumatic stress afterwards, is you trying to put all those pieces back together the way they were. And it just never quite fits, it doesn't ever look the same as it did, it never quite goes back together the way that it was. But instead of that, what if instead of trying to put it back the way it was, what if you created something new and beautiful out of it? A new creation. That's what this Japanese vases. So imagine you the broken vase now turning into and I'm sure you've seen it, you could look up pictures. But these view beautiful ceramic vases with this veining of gorgeous metals all throughout. I love this, because it reminds me that when you are trying to deal with a past trauma, the broken vase, you cannot go back to what you were before the trauma, you will never be there again, you will never be that again. You can't, you won't. But you could be something even more beautiful, even more amazing. A whole new creation. 

A lot of times when something really bad happens when we suffer when we struggle when we have trauma. We might quarrel with God. And you might ask question like, how could this happen? And why would God allow this? And I don't find those questions to be helpful. To be honest. Those are generally our Go twos. But I don't find them very helpful, because I think it's more helpful to think of it in this way. This thing that happened to you was not because God allowed it. It's not because God wasn't with you. This thing happened because evil exists in the world. It's not because God was absent, it's because evil was present. Does that make sense? I think about Jesus on the cross, and God was with Him. And God was with him in his suffering, and God was with him in his triumph. The same as for you. If you think about it, right, Jesus is God. Therefore God knows what human suffering feels like he felt it he experienced. God has suffered for us, and God has suffered because of us. He knows what you're going through. But he also knows what's possible for you on the other side, he already knows what that new creation is going to look like. The entire history of Christianity is stories about people who have suffered in some way, in truly compared to us in some unfathomable ways. But they use that suffering to draw closer to God not further away. What if you did the same? What if you rewrote your story to be closer to God instead of further away? What if your new story after trauma and after suffering was that you were closer to God and you allowed God to bring forth that new creation that you are? 

Friend, I am asking you, I am imploring you, I am challenging you to be the hero of your own story. God created you to experience the richness and the fullness of this life. But it's up to you to trust that and to grab a hold of it and to live it out every day. Friends, you can do this, you can move past trauma, you can become a new creation, you can be bigger and better and stronger than you've ever been. But you have to be willing to stop avoiding and put in the work of healing and changing your thoughts and drawing closer to God and allowing that relationship to happen. That my friends is true power. That's the true change. 

I hope you found some comfort in this episode. I know that in a 30 minute podcast episode I can't possibly cover everything that needs to be covered regarding trauma and dealing with it. But I hope that you at least got some guidance, some direction and some hope. And if you want to talk further with me, hop in the no nonsense Facebook group. The link is always in the show notes. And I can't wait to see you over there until we talk again my friends, be well.

Your friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and help other people find this Go and I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram. I'm @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there

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