First – let’s define our terms.
Trauma, here, is defined as anything that is overwhelming to the nervous system. Trauma can be a shocking or life-threatening event, for sure, but you can also be overwhelmed by long term fatigue and stress – your system just can’t cope with the accumulative load.
You can also be overwhelmed because, as a child, your parents were unable to support you when big feelings and emotions were stimulated. (This is not normally their fault!) We can call this developmental trauma.
It means you become an adult who is either;
- easily stressed out by something that shouldn’t be such a big deal, and/or
- easily numbed out, shut down or depressed by life’s challenges.
I’ll keep this simple:
The overwhelm process – the traumatising process – always involves an ancient biological surge of activity in parts of the nervous system that control – you guessed it – the organs of the abdomen and pelvis; it’s in the wiring. The reason for this is that the body is trying to conserve power in order to survive; the surge is an attempt temporarily to switch off the fight/flight mechanism because it’s not being effective. This will conserve vital energy resources.
The Vagus nerve – fashionably in the news these days – is especially affected by feeling overwhelmed.
We are designed to bounce back from threatening events – if we survive, which we normally do. But in modern life, the inability to change the circumstances of on-going stress, added to our desire to ‘keep calm and carry on’ (rather than protest and eradicate the stress) means that the overwhelm continues.
The longer it goes on, the more it dysregulates – that is, disorganises – the gut, or bladder, or organs of sexual function.
If you’ve a persistent abdominal or pelvic pain or dysfunction – look for the emotion(s) that’s not being processed, or the traumatic event(s) that still lurks somewhere in the system….