When we have experienced traumas that have yet to be fully resolved, our beautiful autonomic nervous system works around the clock to keep us safe by helping us avoid similar situations.
When we come across something that is similar to past trauma our autonomic nervous system comes to our aid in the form of active self-protection. Depending on our default nervous system state we may drop into our mobilising sympathetic nervous system (a lot of energy / anxiety / worry / anger) or our dorsal state of immobility (apathy / brain fog / hopelessness / lethargy) or our blended state of freeze which is having lots of energy inside but unable to do anything or move.
This is not happening because something is wrong with you. This is a biological response activated autonomously by our nervous system whose primary driver is to keep us safe. Part of the work I do with patients is to slowly titrate the nervous system back to ventral vagal state where you can feel safe, calm and connected.
The path to healing
I come to this work as a TRE Provider but what drives me each day to provide this support is that I am too a trauma survivor. I know what it is like to feel stuck in this endless cycle of a dysregulated nervous system, I know the loneliness of being disconnected in Dorsal Vagal shutdown. I know the shame that comes with wishing I could respond in a different way, but simply couldn’t. I too have felt entirely alone, broken and different.
But, we are not broken. You are not broken. Your nervous system is working perfectly, it is keeping you safe at all costs. Through TRE and somatic experiencing you can communicate to your nervous system that the danger has now passed. Through this process we can help your nervous system lay down its armour of protection, allowing you to rest in the beautiful Ventral Vagal state, where you feel calm, connected and capable of facing life.
Coming home to Ventral Vagal
Through these body-based healing techniques we are able to practice co- and self-regulation, we give the body a chance to complete the incomplete experiences of the past and release old stored traumatic energy. Through this process of titration, we are able to slowly reset the nervous system to its desired Ventral Vagal state.
Living with a regulated nervous system that easily rests in Ventral Vagal has been described like this: Feeling calm and able to face challenges (without feeling poised to attack any perceived threat – this is a response of the hyper aroused nervous system). Feeling connected to your loved ones on a deep level while also recognizing your worth as part of your greater community. You are able to mobilise against threat and disperse any tension created by this event to become calm and relaxed quite easily. You feel at ease with yourself and the world. You have hope for the future.
Now wouldn’t we all like to live like this?!
It is true that trauma can rewire your body and the brain but what is beautiful about the body and the brain is that it is constantly changing and responding to its environment which means it is possible for us to rewire you for safety and connection.
This is what drives me and gives me hope. During sessions with my clients I teach rewiring techniques that clients are able to safely use at home without the need for a provider.