The impact of reliving a traumatic event

by | Feb 3, 2023


The day that I received the diagnosis will be forever etched in my brain.  A moment in time that was so profound that I remember who I was with, what I saw, what I heard and what I felt.  When a person experiences a traumatic event, adrenaline rushes through the body and the memory is imprinted into the amygdala (part of the brain).  The amygdala holds the emotional significance of the event, including the intensity and impulse of the emotion.  Because the memory is imprinted into the amygdala, we can access those same emotions we felt at that time in an instant.

During the first few years, yes you read that correctly – years, after diagnosis, if I was triggered by something I noticed that I could take myself right back to the time that I was in the paediatrician’s office, sitting in the office chair, watching the doctor tell me that my son had autism.    Feeling the numbness that I felt.  My blood pressure rising, my adrenaline spiking and that sense that everything I had know up until that point had stopped.  Like a line in the sand was drawn.  That was my life before Autism and now this will be my life after Autism.

The problem here was that I could be triggered daily.  Can you imagine…..actually I’m sure you can imagine because no doubt you’re going through it right now if you’re reading this.  In a click of my fingers, I could transport myself back to that traumatic event and instantly cry, the hairs on my arm would stand on end, my throat would tighten, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness would come over me.

Being regularly triggered was no doubt having a cause and effect motion that was being put in place.  The stress that my brain was having on my body was significant, some of them included, headaches, clenching my jaw at night, grinding my teeth in my sleep, not breathing properly, not sleeping properly, digestive problems and the list goes on.

I knew I needed to get a handle on it, but I had no idea of how to even start.

It wasn’t until through my coaching studies that I came across a coach that was able to stop me from running that same pattern over and over again.  He was able to break the chain of me reliving that experience so that now I can think back to the moment in time, but now my brain no longer tells my body – ‘issue the traumatic response’.  Blood pressure up, adrenaline up, fear up, hopelessness up. I can think about that event without being triggered.  It no longer holds a space in my brain that causes me pain or trauma.  Essentially he was able to rewire my brain to form a new connection.  I am grateful that I too, have now learnt this skill. myself.

There are far too many mums out there reliving this experience.  Reliving that moment in time.  But I’m saying to you that you don’t have to.  The chains can be broken, and you don’t need to live like that.  I wish I had of been coached earlier in my journey.  It would have saved me suffering PTSD and I think I would have been able to think more clearly because I would have had the headspace to do so.

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