God and Sexual Assault

Trauma and the Body

How do we help our bodies?

It’s been awhile since I have discussed trauma and the body. Do you ever have a hard time explaining how your body hurts when you’re experiencing aches and pains much younger than other people?

Anytime we endure trauma it affects us both emotionally and physically. It can result in fibromyalgia, as I have recently been diagnosed and other ailments. Widespread muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping, a foggy mind are a few symptoms of fibromyalgia.

So, what do we do with how we feel both emotionally and physically? Well, I have found that regular scheduled therapy (counseling) sessions help immensely. I go twice a week for 45 minutes each, and those sessions help keep me going and on track.

Sometimes we talk the whole session, and sometimes we process through a traumatic event. I try to pray before each and ask that God provide what I need that day because I usually don’t know what I need. He has been faithful to provide.

The therapy sessions help with my emotional well-being and eventually will hopefully help with my physical as well. Because as we work through trauma our entire body heals.

I am still trying to find what works best to help with my physical pain. I have tried several things over the course of years. I know some medication I was on used to numb my pain, but then it also numbed my mind which wasn’t good.

Last fall my therapist suggested massage therapy to help with my pain and also because trauma survivors struggle to connect to the body. It has been helpful in relieving some pain and helping me make it through. However, right now with the world shut down that isn’t an option and I truly feel how much it had been helping. (It’s April as I write this.)

I also used to do yoga, but I had heard a preacher say that yoga is not something Christians should practice and so as I debated whether to pick it up again I decided to read into it. There’s a book called “The Shattering” that is written by Jessica Smith who used to teach and study yoga. It tells the story of her life and what happened to her.

I would suggest you read it if you are thinking about yoga as you need to decide between you and God what you will do. (Also, check out http://www.thetruthbehindyoga.com)

I personally have decided to not do yoga anymore and just do stretching exercises. Jessica, the author, has videos on YouTube of stretching that work well.

The reason I decided against it is because in researching yoga I found the ultimate goal of yoga is not to tone the body, but to reach a meditative state in the mind and ultimately yoke one’s consciousness with a type of godhead. And they aren’t talking about the One True God. Invoking other “gods” can lead to bringing in demonic presence and having experienced that in my own life I don’t want to invite those in.

Satan already works hard to keep me out of being useful in today’s world. I don’t want to open new avenues. I am aware that some may not agree with me. I also know I’ve suggested yoga at one time, but I take that back now with the new information I have. I pray you find the truth between you and God.

Ultimately, here are things I have found helpful in dealing with how trauma affects me emotionally and physically.

  1. I journal every day. I also rate my emotions. My therapist has me do these things and I have found them to be helpful.
  2. Stretching exercises for at least 15 minutes, but not longer than 30. I have found it is helpful in small doses, but too long has the opposite effect.
  3. Some other type of exercise that isn’t too strenuous for a maximum of 30 minutes. Such as walking, water aerobics, or a light aerobic video. Again, I have found that too much can make me hurt more so don’t overdo it.
  4. I have a tens unit that I use on my back. I got it on Amazon. However, it is electricity you are putting on your body so please check with a doctor if you have issues it could affect.
  1. Get a massage if you’re able to and can afford it. It helps immensely having your muscles worked on despite being extra sensitive to touch with fibromyalgia. Share your struggles with the massage therapist so they don’t work on you too hard.
  2. Deep breathing for 5 minutes a couple times a day.
  3. Finally, when I am overwhelmed with memories of my trauma coming up, writing out the narrative of what happened helps. Such as the gruesome details and what my mind is remembering. Getting it out helps and if you need to then your therapist can read it without you needing to share it aloud.

Whatever you do to help your mind and body as you recover, take care of yourself. Eat healthy and try to get a good nights’ sleep. (Yes, I know that is hard to do as trauma survivors.) May you continue to take more steps toward healing.

© 2020 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

Susan is an author and speaker who loves to share her journey of God's redemption and encourage others as they look to God. As a former elemetary teacher with a passion for teaching, Susan also owns her own tutoring and consulting business where she empowers students and parents in reading. Susan lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri, with her adorable and grumpy Persian cat, Mia.

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