Estes Valley Crisis Advocates provide counseling at no cost to survivors of abuse, sexual assault, other crimes and/or trauma. Counselors are available Monday through Friday by appointment.
Trauma is described as a stressful occurrence that’s outside the range of usual human experience and is markedly distressing to almost anyone. It would include the following experiences: “serious threat to one’s life or physical integrity; serious threat or harm to one’s children, spouse, or other close relatives or friends; sudden destruction of one’s home or community; seeing another person who is or has recently been severely injured or killed as the result of an accident or physical violence.” Trauma involves emotional states of extreme discomfort and stress resulting from memories of an overwhelming catastrophic experience that shatter an individual’s sense of vulnerability to harm. It involves feelings of intense fear, helplessness, loss of control and threat of annihilation. Trauma might arise from a specific event like physical or sexual abuse, an accident or a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake.
People often say, “Why should I do therapy for a traumatic incident? I just want to forget about it and move forward.” Unfortunately, we just don’t forget about it. Trauma stays with us. We can try to “wall off” the feelings and emotions until something happens that “triggers” a Traumatic Memory. We might even avoid situations that remind us of the Traumatic Event which limits our ability to live a full life. Memories of the Trauma might appear in nightmares, waking memories or images, and possibly in “full-blown flashbacks.”
Other symptoms of Trauma-exposed individuals might include;
- Hyper-vigilance and Hyper-arousal: Being in a state of constant alert or on the lookout for possible signs of danger. This state results in a very sensitive nervous system and can be exhausting. It may even cause serious sleep problems.
- Numbness: The unconscious decision to “block it all out.” A person might experience “Depression” or to “Feel Alive” seek out adrenaline inducing experience such sky diving, fire fighting or other at-risk behaviors.
- Substance abuse and other avoidance strategies: Self-medicating to numb or distract from intrusive Traumatic thoughts.
- Affect dysregulation: Emotions getting out of control and feelings becoming so intense that they become uncomfortable or intolerable. There is little ability to contain oneself.
If you find that a past Traumatic Experience is “running your life” and limiting your experiences, give us a call and together we’ll work through it.