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We all face trauma: hardships, hurts and grief. Looking at life through different lenses.

We all face trauma! How we understand ourselves within it is what counts.

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Facing Trauma is hard and it affects us negatively when not dealt with.

It’s not so much what we face but how we respond to it that counts. We all face trauma and how we deal with the hardships of it is one of those aspects we need to face head-on. Life is full of unexpected challenges and we all, at some stage experience different hardships, hurts and grief. We are all different and deal with our emotions differently. Each of us has a different emotional response to the challenges of life, some of us: more pragmatic, intellectually & socially emotional and able to look at their emotions objectively. But for some, this doesn’t seem the case… ‘are we self-evaluating and digging deep into our thought processes and mindsets to find where the problem within lies?’

We all face TRAUMA

Trauma is debilitating- but more so when not dealt with. Research shows the most common result of illnesses today are due to unresolved trauma. Trauma comes from a multitude of debilitating triggers, such as being bullied, the death of a loved one, an accident, deception from those you believed in and care about, a diagnosis or a job loss. The list is very long and we are all going to be exposed and affected in some way or another. The difference is that we will each deal with the hand we’ve been dealt in different ways.

Trauma can physically affect our brain when it is not dealt with correctly, or at all. Changing the working of our brain which changes who we are. It affects how we behave in situations and everyday life. This is massive when you think of the impact that one (or multiple) traumatic events has on our life and our future.

History and research globally shows us the rise of mental health issues. We are experiencing more of an understanding of mental illness and more of a global awareness towards Mental health and illness. As most of us are aware, there are many reasons why mental illness is on the rise and so prevalent in millions today. Each of us has some exposure to it; whether it’s us, a family member, a friend or even a colleague.

Trauma is one of the many reasons for the rise of mental illness.

This topic rattles around in my head constantly: ‘Why are people not receiving the help they need?’. Obviously, there are thousands of different reasons why. Each human is so different and therefore there are so many different reasons and outcomes. No two people are the same: different biology, different social conditions, different geography, different, different, different… This has led me, over the years, to think about how we need a formula that we can all look at which will give us an understanding of our vast differences. This means, though, that we need to start looking within and start asking ourselves questions and finding answers.

Amazingly in my pursuit of understanding myself better and Mental Health topics better, I came across Dr Amen’s method. It is so similar to that of my own, that I adopted this way of understanding our wiring, our background and day-to-day living. His method is incredible, but you need extensive medical expertise and the finances that accompany this level of testing.

Taken off Dr Amen’s website is this method:

We believe it is critical to look at your brain within the context of your life. Our method integrates the important aspects of your life including:

Looking at specific biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences

Neuropsychological testing

Brain SPECT imaging at rest and during concentration

Lab tests (when necessary)

The Amen Clinics Method gives our physicians a deep understanding of target treatment specifically tailored to your brain and situation.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population does not have these resources – the finances, medical expertise or equipment- to carry out this level of testing and treatment. Because of this, we must look through the lens of the four foundational aspects of our lives. This is an excellent starting point to the breakthrough we need, and to understand others.

Our 4 Key Human foundations

Biology:

There is more to biology than just our family tree! Although it is a good starting point: where we come from, what genes we have inherited from our parents, grandparents and long past ancestors. What foods are we fueling our body with is also a massive contributor to the outworking of our body and mental state. Is our diet made up of healthy, real foods or processed foods, laden with chemicals and words we cannot even pronounce? What is the state of your health? Has there ever been a head-related injury or something in your life that has affected you?

Psychology

Our thinking, our mindsets and our mental health is who we are, but they can change. We don’t need to stay this person; we are not a fixed state. Our brain is neuroplastic, meaning our brains can be moulded and remodelled through deliberate thought, mindset and brain training. Has there been an unresolved trauma, history of mental illness or a brain injury? All these need to be explored to understand each person’s behavior.

Social/Upbringing

How are your relationships? Do you have close friends and family? Are you easy to get along with or are you difficult? What is your behaviour around people? Do you prefer to be alone and isolate yourself? How were you raised, talked to and treated? How are you raising your children? What was your parents’ marriage-like and are you modelling their relationship into yours? How we were raised and taught, conditions how we treat people. As a result often, we replicate the picture that was set for us, but some take a stand and choose to do life differently and behave differently. This choice takes conscious thought and deliberate behavior. How many of us think about our thinking and think about our behaviour?

What is your work ethic? Do you work hard, doing your best always? Or do you slack off, doing the bare minimum or not caring at all? What is your motivation like? Do you get easily stressed? Are you an anxious person, taking everything on your shoulders?

Spiritual

We all believe in something. Therefore if we say it is nothing, we still believing in ‘nothing’. Whatever it is we believe in, moulds our behaviour. Why do we care about what we care about? What is important to us? What gives my and your life meaning and purpose?

Looking into these 4 key foundations makes us better understand human behavior.

To every above question, there is an answer which explains our behavior. It explains why we think the way we do. Looking at life through these 4 lenses, seeing these as our 4 key foundational groundings. All of us made up of these, it enables a clearer understanding of ourselves and others. Trauma changes our brain and our behavior. Knowing this we can give the grace needed. Hopefully, helping guide, those in our lives to get the help they need.

Undealt with trauma affected me in so many ways, which therefore changed my behavior and resulted in bad mindsets and insecurities. In the end, after identifying the trauma, understanding it and getting help. My behavior towards others changed for the good. I was previously reacting out of a place of hurt; instead of drawing people in, pushing them away. No one knew the trauma I was dealing with and therefore not understanding me through these 4 key foundations. In the end, I dealt with the trauma with a psychologist and got the help I needed. I now know myself better and now understand others better as well. Subsequently, my previous judgements and understand of others is no longer my automatic response.

Understanding is key to Connection

By understanding our own Biology, Psychology, Social/upbringing & Spiritual foundations it illuminates where we have come from and where we are going. It gives us empathy and understanding towards others and the trauma they may have suffered. Which has resulted in why they behave the way they do. Understanding people builds bridges, pulling down barriers that we and they have erected. We so often build walls in the hope to protect ourselves from others judgements and the fear of being hurt; consequently, all it does is divide and conquer. Setting us apart and isolating instead of bringing us together, we need to work at creating community instead.

Let us understand ourselves better and try to understand others better in the process. We all face trauma and, as a result it affects us more than we know.

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Stacey Spilsbury

My passion is people and healing! Life wasn't all sunshine and roses growing up, but I turned out just fine! I turned out happy- even though it was a struggle at times. As a child, I was diagnosed with a number of learning disabilities, which meant many hours of therapy. Of which I will always be grateful for. I went on to study marketing and during this time turned from witchcraft and things people don't often discuss to a born-again Christian- praise God. Through this life change, I lost 25kg! I then grew some wings and explored the world. I married the man of my youth and now, we share in the joy of raising our crazy brood of 4 little boys on a farm in rural South Africa. It's wild! And of which we live in the wild! But thankfully among all of this, my darling friend Jess, and I co-founded and co-own Connectable Life- an online Mind, Body and Wellness platform. Our goal and aim is to make healthcare convenient, easily accessible and affordable.

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