trauma symptoms


traumatic brain injury

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

brain injury and intestinal damage

Educated brains recover better after injury

Half of US veterans with brain injury are jobless

Effect of cannabis use on outcomes in traumatic brain injury

Cannabinoid agonist rescues learning and memory after a traumatic brain injury

How our brain hides (and gets back) scary memories

Rescripting Memory, Redefining Self

A necessary and crucial step in healing is to allow traumatized people to talk about their trauma.

In human culture expression of trauma in informal settings, such as women gathered around the stream to wash clothes or men working together to build a structure for the newlyweds, has always been the release mechanism.

Allowing people to talk about what has befallen them allows them to connect with their emotion and process the trauma.

American culture now falls afoul of this ancient human tradition by telling the victims of trauma that they just need to 'man up'.

"Focusing on children who are not abuse victims let us consider an ordinary childhood event that developed into trauma, rather than just fright or hurt.

Take a few moments to view things through the eyes of five-year old Dylan, who gets off the school bus at the wrong stop.

Dylan started kindergarten on Tuesday.

Today is Wednesday.

He is riding the school bus home for the second time in his life.

He feels a little intimidated by the big ten-year-old sitting beside him, he misses his mother, and he is not at all sure that he knows how to be a school bus rider.

Nearly everything during the past day and a half has been new, and Dylan is worn out, and eager to get back to the homey sofa in the den, and his Quack Pack videos.

His mother promised that she would be waiting for him at the bus stop, just like yesterday. He looks expectantly out the window as the bus travels by places that look dimly familiar.

When the bus finally stops, bunches of loud, laughing, pushing children migrate hastily toward the door.

The children disembark in an impenetrable tangle of thrashing heads and arms, Dylan among them, confused but earnestly striving to be a good bus rider.

There are some adults by the side of the road.

They greet the children, and in a matter of seconds, the bus has departed, and everyone has moved away from the bus stop.

Dylan's mother is not there.

And as people walk out of sight, chattering and swinging each other's hands, no one notices that one five-year-old boy has been left standing alone.

The boy does not even think about calling after the people.

He is too stunned, and besides, he does not know them.

He stands right there, for a long time, hoping that his mother will appear.

He looks like a tiny statue at the edge of the road, until a monstrous truck, air horn blaring, zooms by just a few feet in front of him, causing him to lurch sideways into some trees.

He looks around at the wooded area, and decides he had better hide there until his mother comes.

Dylan sits down under an elm, where he is concealed from the road by a small embankment.

He puts his legs out in front of him, and leans back against the tree.

His new backpack, which he still has on, cushions him a bit.

He stares straight ahead, and begins to tap his new sneakers together.

He is scared, but he knows his mother will come soon.

He sits that way for about half an hour, the length of one Quack Pack video, and then he thinks the unthinkable: maybe she is not coming.

As soon as this thought occurs to him, he feels clammy all over; his stomach feels shaky, and he begins to cry.

Soon, the tears have turned to desperate sobs.

He cries convulsively for several minutes, until he is gasping for breath.

Then, he gets an idea.

He inhales as deeply as he can, stands up, and walks cautiously back to the roadside, where he looks around briefly.

He calls out, "Mommy!" and then, more emphatically, "Mommy!"

Dylan is about ¾ of a mile from his home, in a nice, safe suburban neighborhood.

As long as he stays out of the road, which he knows to do, he is in no physical danger.

Serene middleclass houses sit at the ends of the driveways that join the street on both sides.

Really, all that Dylan has to do is go up one of the driveways and knock on a door, which in all likelihood will be answered by a sympathetic adult who will quickly contact his mother.

But five-year-old Dylan does not know this.

In his so far brief time on earth, he has never knocked on a strange door.

He has never even gone all alone to someone else's house.

And in his current panicked state, he does not even put it together that the silent houses contain people at all.

The houses are only another aspect of the impersonal and frightening world all around him.

After shouting "Mommy" a few more times, he gives up and returns to his tree behind the embankment.

His pants are damp in back, from the ground he sits on.

He feels cold in the warm September afternoon, and he shivers.

He whispers "Mommy" once, and a few more tears leak onto his cheeks.

But then he is quiet.

He sits quite still under the tree, as the enormity of his situation engulfs him.

He is lost.

His mother is gone.

He will never get to talk to her again.

He is never going home.

In this way, he remains for about another hour.

He begins to feel that the world is very far away, and he is just a teeny speck floating somewhere in a fuzzy gray space.

He wonders, in a detached sort of way, whether he is going to die now.

Finally, he does not feel anything, not even cold and shivery.

Still wearing his backpack, he curls up in a fetal position on the ground, and, in his mind, completely disappears from himself and his surroundings.

Another hour passes.

Dylan is brought back to himself when his mother dives to her knees by the tree, and grabs him up in her arms.

Some other grown-ups are there, also.

Without emotion, Dylan says, "Mommy?"

His mother is sobbing and jubilant at the same time.

She does not notice that Dylan is neither.

Someone drives Dylan, and his mother home.

They sit in the backseat, where his mother hugs and kisses him over and over, and tells him that everything is okay.

Dylan does not say anything.

When they get home, his mother places several emotional phone calls, and then she makes some chicken noodle soup for Dylan.

When he does not eat it, she tells him once again that everything is okay.

She assures him that from now on, she will pick him up at kindergarten herself.

No more school bus.

Then, feeling at a loss, she suggests that they sit on the cozy sofa together and watch one of his videos.

She holds him close, and he watches the movie.

He does not keep up a running commentary, or wiggle away to bounce on the furniture the way he usually does, but she knows that he must be exhausted, and probably still frightened. She is, too.

When the video is over, she decides that Dylan looks pale.

She hopes he has not gotten sick from lying on the damp ground, and she suggests that he go to sleep right now, though it is still early.

Without protest, Dylan lets his mother put him to bed, where he resumes his fetal position.

Dylan is much more than tired and very scared.

He is traumatized.

His nascent views of the world and the people in it have been violated, and his ability to cope has been utterly overwhelmed.

At the age of five, he faced death, and has experienced the fact that one can terminate nightmares by dissociating.

All of this without any objective danger, and though the story had a happy ending Dylan has still been traumatized."

- Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness, Martha Stout

arrested development

An adult can easily forget the trauma inflicted on a child.

Adults may never realize a child has been traumatized.

A child will forget what caused the trauma but there will always be a set of circumstance that will send that child into a dissociative state.

It is unlikely that an adult will remember what initially caused the trauma while not in a dissociative state.

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