God and Sexual Assault

The Role Of Chronic Stress

It takes a toll on your body.

Taking a small detour today from invalidation but next Tuesday will follow up with that again.

You are a trauma survivor most likely if you’re reading this so you’ve endured a significant amount or stress in your life. Did you know that when your body goes into a fight or flight while it’s enduring trauma that is stress? If you’ve endured it over and over and over, or you’ve never dealt with the events that caused the stress, you begin to live in a state of chronic stress and anxiety.

Your normal becomes a tense, anxious, fight or flight feeling inside your body that seems normal to you. But the role that chronic stress has on our health is horrible. The tense muscles begin to lead to fibromyalgia and constant daily pain. The constant daily pain leads to fatigue. It causes inflammation all over and affects your heart and other organs.  

Teaching your body to not live in a state of chronic stress after years of living that way will not happen overnight. It’s a step-by-step, day by day, minute by minute process. (I’m still not there.)

It involves seeking therapy to process and deal with the events that led to that and then also recognizing when your body feels stressed. If you are unable to sit down for extended periods of time without a lot of anxiety, then you may have something that needs to be processed because that is not “normal”.

If you are unable to sit down and take deep breaths and be okay with the feelings you feel while taking those breaths then there’s something that needs to be processed probably.

This has been very hard for me because it’s hard to process trauma. It’s emotionally and physically draining and it is one of the hardest things to go back and relive. Many people do not want to do that and they want to just forget what happened. But what we know is that your body does not forget.

So, as I’ve begun to process my trauma I’ve also become more aware of my body and what it’s feeling. I need to provide my body more rest than other people my age and than other people 20 years older than me. Because of the chronic stress my body has endured for close to 50 years. I can’t reverse what that has done, but I can begin to deal with it better.

Chronic stress also causes your bucket to be fuller than others and makes it harder to emotionally respond in a calm manner. I experienced this recently and had to come back to why my bucket was so full. Watch this video about your bucket being full. It is enlightening. It will help you and others understand why sometimes you erupt emotionally.

Not that that makes it OK, but it helps you realize what’s going on and how you can deal with it so that doesn’t continue to happen.

Here is how I do that. I stay consistent with my counseling appointments so that I can work through my feelings, the trauma, and take care of myself. If I notice that I am anxious I ask myself what I’m feeling and I begin to take some deep breaths.

If I find it hard to get a deep breath I know I am too tense. I focus on breathing in for five seconds, holding it for five seconds, and breathing out for five seconds. I do that over and over focusing on a truth or a positive until I feel my body begin to relax. If that does not work I need to check in and see what is my body remembering that I might need to work through in therapy.

My challenge for you today if you are struggling is ask yourself why, and if you’re not sure ask God to show you. If you’re not in therapy, I encourage you to seek a good Christian therapist. Try taking some deep breaths today and if it’s a struggle for you, remember that’s normal after years of chronic stress, but it’s not normal to live that way.

You can be free from it, but you have to begin to acknowledge why it’s there.

Blessings to you my friends! Remember you are not alone.

I highly recommend this book for understanding how your body is holding trauma and why it is reacting the way it is. The Body Keeps The Score

© 2022 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.    

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