“It is normal to simultaneously experience conflicting feelings or thoughts. The fundamental issue in resolving traumatic stress is to restore the proper balance between the rational and emotional brains, so that you can feel in charge of how you respond and how you conduct your life.”
-Dr. Bessel van der Kolk — The Body Keeps The Score
Trauma is a disturbing, widespread epidemic that is being largely ignored. Research has shown that the leading causes of death in adults are largely the result of traumatic events. As Dr. Gabor Maté says: “50% of adults have chronic illness, and every one of my patients with chronic illness says the same thing: they had severe childhood trauma.” But trauma doesn’t necessarily need to be severe, and it can happen at any point in your life. In fact, trauma doesn’t need to happen directly to you to have an effect — even witnessing a disturbing event can cause traumatic stress. Perhaps you don’t personally feel you have trauma, but we all have stress in our lives.
Unfortunately, many people feel that medical professionals are failing us and themselves by ignoring the hidden epidemic of trauma. Western culture tends to focus on “cures” like pharmaceuticals, while we stigmatize the internal, spiritual aspect of healing. Doctors are trained to ‘know best’ — to have all the knowledge necessary to heal you. But as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk says, “Being a patient, rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self.” I am not a physician, but getting in touch with your inner sense of self and participating in your own healing process are key aspects of life coaching.