It’s startling how quickly a small thing can bring back the full-on physical and emotional response of a trauma.
Yesterday brought a scare to our town when a “soft-lockdown” was instituted in the schools after a threatening call to an elementary school in town. Everyone is safe. No one was injured. All is well. But my hands still shake as I type this and all I day I have been remembering the events of the morning of December 14th. Please continue to pray for the families in Newtown.
The thing that keeps striking me is that my family and I are at least a few circles removed from “ground zero” of that event. We are not anywhere near as directly impacted as so many around us. Yet, the fear is real and palpable, even for us.
Fear is more than a simply a mental state. If effects both the physiology of the body and the chemical balance of the brain as well. When people are afraid it generates stress. Extreme stress can manifest itself physically in a number of ways.
It’s as if the whole town is in the midst of PTSD. I see the signs all around me.
The first recommendation for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder is psychotherapy, “talk therapy.” Part of the reason that this kind of therapy is beneficial is that it can educate on the effects of trauma, it can also help us to learn to relax and find healthier ways to handle the stress of fear and anger.
Another very handy tool to remove the charge from fear is the releasing fixed attention exercise from a book called ReSurfacing by Harry Palmer. Releasing fixed attention can help you free up the stuck thought patterns around a fearful or traumatic event. It works the way we already operate… talk about the trauma, talk about something else, talk about it some more, talk about something else, and so on. But the exercise does it in a more efficient and deliberate manner.
I know ours is not the only trauma in the world today, lately we seem to be surrounded by it. I feel it’s more important than ever to reach for a future filled with kindness, compassion and peace and we all know it’s the Man (or Woman) in the Mirror who can begin to make that happen.