Did you know there is a strong link between Fatigue and Trauma?
As a reiki practitioner and energy healer I see many people who have emotional memories in their bodies from past traumas. Those emotions can be from physical, sexual and emotional traumas that they have experienced during their life, from their parents lives (genetic memories) and, some believe, from past life experiences.
Whatever your belief system, or the origin of those emotions, they can become lodged anywhere in our bodies, cause a disruption in our energy and lead to physical dysfunction.
They weigh us down, and can trigger many issues including aches and pains, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and often fatigue. They sit like a heaviness inside us, creating lethargy and despondence and an inability to live life with the joy we deserve.
The first, most important step, to resolving this fatigue is to acknowledge the the link between Fatigue and Trauma. We are often afraid to admit to weakness and expose our vulnerabilities. Many of us would rather seek a physical reason as it is more comfortable to deal with that.
Discovering the link between Fatigue and Trauma was eye opening and the first step to healing for Bill.
At 41 years old he came to me suffering unrelenting fatigue, pressure and pain in his chest, palpitations and digestive issues. Up until a year before he had been fit and healthy.
Despite extensive testing, the medical profession could find no reason for his symptoms. His work and family life were suffering and he was desperate to find some relief.
A friend who had been to see me recommended he ‘give Reiki and Energy Healing a try’. He was very skeptical, but desperate for relief so willing to see if I could help.
I found that he carried a huge amount of sadness and grief, along with some fear. This was mostly sitting in his chest, heart and large intestine. He said that his life had been great; loving parents, no major traumas or events that he could remember.
I then asked him about his parents. He told me that his aunt had died of a terminal illness a couple of months before his birth. His mother had nursed her for several months before she died, and during the earlier part of her pregnancy. He said she had never really got over the death.
He also said that not long before his health declined their child’s pet rabbit had died. Of course this was a sad day, however, it caused an exceptional amount of grief in him totally out of proportion to the actual event. He said he couldn’t understand why he had reacted so strongly.
This does, however, make sense to me… he was carrying his mother’s fear and grief, which he had soaked up whilst in utero. The death of the rabbit had then triggered that memory in his body, causing an excessive reaction. He was still living in that memory.
Over several sessions we worked to release that fear and grief. Bill gradually felt lighter, felt the joy coming back into the world. His fatigued lifted, his mood changed and his digestion slowly returned to normal. He no longer has palpitations or the pressure and pain in his chest.
He still comes to see me once in a while ‘for fine tuning’ as he puts it, to address life’s everyday stresses.
We all carry emotions relating to memories that are our own or our ancestors..
At times these memories are triggered, and brought to the forefront. Finding ways to release and resolve the emotions associated with these memories can greatly enhance our quality of life, and ultimately our overall health and well-being. We cannot change what happened in the past, but we can let go of the emotions and file those memories away in the filing cabinet that is our history.
Do you know someone like Bill?
Reiki and Energy healing or other types of Energy Medicine may be just what they need!
PTSD seems to be such a common condition these days. So is it possible to heal PTSD?
The short answer is “Yes, you can heal PTSD!”, but it is a process and there is no quick fix. It requires effort on your part, a multidisciplinary approach and a lot of patience.
By “heal PTSD” I do not imply that you will return to being the person you were before the trauma. That unlikely to happen. However, you can regain peace, purpose and enjoyment in your life, find a new direction. Using the trauma to learn, to grow and move forward. For some it becomes a gift in disguise.
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, even the worst nightmares.. if we can meet them with an attitude of love, acceptance and ask “What can I learn from this?” Bringing an intention to leave the anger and fear behind and to see the silver lining in our experiences helps us to move forward and to heal.
Who can have PTSD?
It is not just the military who will suffer from PTSD. Witnessing or experiencing any traumatic event that triggers intense pain, fear, horror or feelings of helplessness can result in PTSD. These events can be the death of a loved one, serious illness or injury, or abuse (sexual, physical or emotional). However the experience is unique to the individual and there are no rules as to what will cause PTSD.
It is important not to compare yourself to others or to belittle your own experience. Yes, some people survive the most horrific events and seem to be unaffected, whilst for others a seemingly small event will result in full blown PTSD. We all carry memories from our ancestors (genetic memories), from our previous lives, and of course from our own life experiences. These all influence how we react to the events we witness or experience.
Do you have PTSD?
The body can express the trauma in many ways and everyone is unique. The symptoms fall into 5 main categories. Sufferers may experience one, some or all of these types of symptoms and they may come and go.
Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense mental or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
Avoidance and numbing such as avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, being unable to remember aspects of the trauma, a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others and feeling a sense of a limited future.
Hyper-arousal, including sleep problems, irritability, hyper-vigilance (on constant “red alert”), feeling jumpy or easily startled, angry outbursts, and aggressive, self-destructive, or reckless behaviour.
Negative thought and mood changes like feeling alienated and alone, difficulty concentrating or remembering, depression and hopelessness, feeling mistrust and betrayal, and feeling guilt, shame, or self-blame.
Pain. It is not unusual to have chronic, unexplainable headaches and body pain that comes and goes.
PTSD symptoms in children
Unfortunately, children can also experience PTSD following events in their lives. They will show different symptoms of their PTSD. These can include the following:
Fear of being separated from their parent or care giver
Regression such as needing a bottle again and loss of previously-acquired skills such as toilet training, bed wetting
Sleep problems and night terrors
Play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated. Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings
New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma such as fear of monsters under the bed
Aches and pains with no apparent cause
Irritability and aggression, mood swings, disconnecting from the present. It is not unusual for them to receive a diagnosis of ADD, ADHD or Autism.
So How Do You Heal PTSD?
I have worked with many sufferers of PTSD and Trauma and have had great pleasure in seeing them move forward and enjoy life again. For most it seems that a multi-disciplinary approach works best when seeking to heal PTSD. It is necessary to address the mind, body and spirit. Many modern approaches address the mind by using medication and counselling / talk therapies. Of course this has immense value, but it is just the start for many sufferers.
For most clients we find that the following pieces are beneficial. There is no particular order and they may work on one aspect, move to another then return to the previous. Each person needs to listen to what they need at the time and allow the process to be fluid and flexible, it is their own unique journey.
Develop ways to function and get back to everyday activities, find a sense of normality
Nourish the physical body and reduce inflammation with good diet and nutrition
Release the trauma from the Mind
Release the trauma from the Body
Therapies to Heal PTSD
Here are just some of the modalities and therapies to be considered when you want to heal PTSD.
Mental Health Professionals and Medication
Counselling and Mental Health
There are many Psychiatrists and Psychologists along with Counsellors and Psychotherapists who specialise in PTSD and Trauma.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a psychiatrist at the Boston University School of Medicine and one the world’s leading experts on trauma, is convinced that talk therapy isn’t that effective, and psychiatric drugs don’t get to the root of traumatic issues. He is not the only one to believe that medication is best used as crutch, to get over the worst, and allow healing to begin.
He says: “The study of trauma shows that you cannot “knock sense” into people by talking to them. Trauma is not an issue of cognition. It’s an issue of disordered biological systems.”
Body Centered Psychotherapies, such as Somatic Experiencing, also recognize that trauma causes memory to be somaticised, or stored in the body.
Based on my experience, I agree with this. You may be interested in the book by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk; The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. The book talks about how the brain is shaped by traumatic experiences, how traumatic stress is experienced by the entire body, and how this knowledge needs to be integrated into conventional treatment.
Relax, meditate, calm the nervous system…
Deregulation of the brain areas associated with emotional regulation and memory is a key contributor to the symptoms associated with PTSD. This is in addition to the overactivity of the fear centre, the amygdala. Mindfulness reverses these patterns by increasing prefrontal and hippocampal activity, and toning down the amygdala.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a widely available eight-week program (with meetings once weekly) in which participants learn techniques promoting self-awareness, the integration of body and mind, and non-judgmental acceptance of their experience in the present. MBSR, based on Buddhist and other ancient meditative practices, was introduced as a program in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts. It has been found to be effective for a broad range of issues, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, substance abuse, and adjustment to life stress, such as serious illness.
Gratitude practice. Take the time to count your blessings. Write or say out loud as many things as you can think of for which you are grateful. This could be a spouse, child, friend, the sunshine, the nice meal you had, music, flowers, a pet, a thoughtful act or words by another.. the list is endless. If you can only find one or two to start that is all good.
Meditation. Try a home meditation app or audio, join a group (there are many), book a one on one meditation session. Then have the intention to spend some time every day, starting with just a few minutes and work from there. And the days you find it really hard or it does not happen at all? Do not judge, be kind to yourself.
Nourish the physical body and reduce inflammation with good diet and nutrition.
Removing inflammatory foods such as wheat, sugars and processed foods helps calm our physical body. Ensuring plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruit also reduces inflammation and provides essential nutrients. A Registered Holistic Nutritionist can help you with making changes and a diet tailored to your needs.
Taking supplements such as magnesium and curcumin can help with inflammation and pain, and melatonin can help sleep. A Clinical Herbalistcan also help you with herbs for nutrition, pain, cognitive function, sleep, and inflammation.
Exercise is so important. It stimulates circulation, clears the mind and nourishes us. Move in any way you can.. a walk, ride, swim, Tai Chi or Qi Gong exercises, yoga.. Going outside is great if possible for you, if not consider an online exercise program you can do at home. Try to join a group / class and have the added benefit of other people.
It is possible to heal PTSD. Accept it will take time. Start with small steps and do not judge when you appear to take a step backwards. Seek help from others, and put together a team of people / modalities that nurture you over time.
Have you ever had a really stressful week or a period in your life when everything seems overwhelming and you react to the silliest things? This is the perfect time to use Reiki for Stress.
Why are you reacting?
It may be “now stuff”
The reactions may be obvious, and due to current, everyday stresses such as your ignorant boss, the pressure of deadlines at work, relationship issues (work or home) or events in your family life. Try taking the time to sit and to be still, look at what is happening in your life and bring awareness to any issues that are triggering you. Are they worthy of the response they trigger? This can help bring an appreciation of why you are stressed and is often the first step to doing something about it.
Maybe we are simply overloaded with ‘stuff’ in our lives at that time, and the small event that triggered that huge response was the final straw, the one that pushed us over the edge.
Or it may be “old stuff”
We all carry memories and emotions from past events in our own lives, our parents’ lives or maybe soul memories. For some of us these can be quite intense and strong, for others less so. It does not always have any relation to the size / number of the trauma / emotional events. I have met people who have experienced the most terrible traumas who have been able to let it go, and to put it in the past, and others who had apparently less traumatic experiences who cannot move beyond them.
Choosing not to react
Whether its “now stuff” or “old stuff”, or a combination of both, I recommend that you try Reiki for Stress.
I have had quite a number of clients who say, “I have done years of counselling so it can’t be anything to do with that trauma..”
But it can.. the talking works with the mind, and rarely addresses the emotions and memories stored in the body. It is a wonderful modality that helps you to develop coping strategies and to move on, to live your life, to function and often achieve successes. For some people it is all they need, and it resolves the emotions in the body too.
However, for others it is less effective at addressing those emotions held in the body. It can be likened to packaging things up in boxes, and storing those boxes in the closet. They are out of sight, out of mind, but they are still there, festering. At any point another event in your life reminds you of what is in those boxes and out they come..
Reiki for Stress
Reiki is a wonderful tool. It brings deep relaxation and grounding, Helping the body to release the current stresses and events. People report feeling more calm, more ‘Zen” and better able to cope with things that were overwhelming prior to the session.
It also goes much deeper. Reiki is all about facilitating whatever the body needs at the time. It is not about forcing anything to happen. It helps the body to open the closet and to bring out and dispose of the boxes stored there. It is not necessary to open the boxes, to go back and relive the event / trauma in the way many talk therapies work. It is enough to acknowledge the emotions involved and to let them go.
I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with quite a number of clients with PTSD and serious trauma in their lives, and to be a part of their healing. It is often an amazing journey we take together.
I have had a client recently who had experienced terrible abuse in childhood. They were suffering from acute anxiety and a lot of physical pain, particularly in their back and legs. A simple journey to run errands was an ordeal of anxiety, and if family were coming to dinner they were exhausted before anyone arrived just from the stress of organising the dinner. We have worked together now for several months, releasing the emotions and shock stored in the body. There have been sessions where there were tears, and some when they shook violently as the body let go of the tensions created by all that fear.
Their friends have noticed a softening in their face, a relaxing, they can now do an errand to a new place with just the normal amount of anxiety, and having family to dinner is a breeze, something to be enjoyed not endured. And the pain? Well, that is so much better. Fear and trauma often relate to back and leg pain.
Using Reiki for Stress For Yourself
We can all benefit from regular Reiki sessions (me included). You may wish to come once a month or so for maintenance to help you remain calm and relaxed. Many of my clients do this, booking every 3-5 weeks.
For deeper traumas it is often more beneficial to come weekly at first, however, this is a process and we both need to respect the time required in between sessions to allow the body to process. There is no set frequency, no expectation of how often you will come, and we will discuss at each visit when would be best to return.
Find out about what to expect in a Reiki session HERE.
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