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Trauma Memories

I don’t remember seeing her for the first time. I just don’t. I can not pinpoint it. I know exactly what she looked like, I know every detail of every line and tube she was hooked up to, but I do not remember the moment I went into the ICU room and saw her. I vaguely remember squeezing her hand, which was roughly 3x the size of her regular hand, and getting no response of any kind.

By Matt Goertzen

This is a quote from a family friend, Matt Goertzen. In February 2019, he and his wife faced a life altering experience. I borrowed this quote, with Matt’s permission, as what he wrote here is a heartbreakingly beautiful description of the brain reacting to a trauma moment.

This experience is one that most people would indicate that, “of course that is traumatic”. However, everyone has moments in their life like this – the moments may not seem like they are traumatic at the time, which is due to many factors, you believe it should not be traumatic, you are just focused on getting through the moment, or the world tells you it should not be traumatic.

You know you have a traumatic moment caught in your brain/body system when you spend a lot of time trying not the think of memory, but it keeps coming up. It may impact the rest of your day or week. You may feel angry, bitchy, sad, etc., or maybe your body reacts, with an upset stomach, headache, your brain feels foggy, or your chest hurts, etc. Another way of knowing is that something reminds of this experience and you react intensely, and it feels like an over reaction.

Traumatic memories get stuck for many reasons; however all are some form of trying to avoid to the memory. The main thing a person needs is people that will really listen to them when they talk about the situation. People who will help them look at the trauma from different angles and help them go over it multiple times. Therapists are not required to deal with traumatic memories, but a therapist’s knowledge and skills can help a person process their trauma in a more orderly fashion, which for many people means the trauma processes faster.

When we have bad memories that have been processed completely, we can look back at them and realize that moment sucked and be glad that we are no longer there. Sometimes we can look at that situation and acknowledge that even though it sucked we learned something, usually about ourselves.

Humans are not made to do life by themselves they are built to need people. It is clear when dealing with trauma it is necessary to have others to share it with – even if it is not something the person wants!

If you have any of these memories please do not hesitate to reach out to someone who can really listen. If you do not have that person or just want someone outside of your immediate circle, please reach out to me or anyone in this clinic. We all have experience with helping people work through their trauma.

PS. It does feel better when the memory is processed.

#trauma, #trauma memories, #trauma treatment

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