30 Days of Prayer for PTSD - Day 22
Back to looking at how we can best troubleshoot PTSD and thinking about the machines my husband works on. As I watched him work, I noticed that he removed the side panels or the exterior box surrounding most of the parts of the machine. These walls help to protect the more delicate parts and pieces of the machine which keeps it in good working order most of the time.
Sometimes the walls on the outside get damaged, come unscrewed, or are otherwise compromised causing damage to the machine and keeping it from functioning correctly. Similarly, our bodies can behave the same. When they are compromised, damaged or otherwise hurting.
Trauma, of course, can be caused by many different factors. Some of these are preventable, others, not always. Frequently if the response to a trauma is of love and support from a caregiver the impact of the trauma is lessened sometimes to the point where it is no longer experienced. It’s when the trauma is minimized or the person is made to feel like they are making things up or blowing things out of proportion which causes them to question themselves creating doubt, fear, and confusion.
Dr. Van Der Kolk, reminds us, in The Body Keeps the Score, that “most teachers…are intrigued to learn that abused and neglected students are likely to interpret any deviation from routine as danger and their extreme reactions are usually expressions of traumatic stress” (354).
Further, in “The Wounding Womb” Healing Prenatal Trauma, Karyne B. Wilner reminds us that “external stressors [can] affect fetuses in the womb, such as war or paren- tal abuse, and internal stressors, such as a rise in the mother’s blood pressure, or fear of childbirth” (56).
Often when we are young we cannot exactly control or know what our environment will bring, much like a machine we are subject to the way in which someone responds or behaves toward us; similar to that of a machine our internal wiring can be impacted by stress or trauma even when we seem to be protected. It is important to note that what happens in the life of a mom who is pregnant does impact the life of the baby that she is carrying.
When children react with aggressive outbursts, physical unexplainable medical concerns or changes occur in their body it is important to practice patience and compassion. Rather than expressing anger and frustration, consider sitting next to them and giving them a safe space to confront and communicate their emotions. Notice how the child behaves during transition times. Note whether they could be hungry, tired, or otherwise struggling.
Cradle them for as long as they need, but allow them space to push away when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. “Predictability and clarity of expectations are critical; consistency is essential” (Van Der Kolk 355).
Working to help children, much like adults, takes much time and practice. Consider providing a safe space where a child can put on headphones and listen to soothing music, providing texture toys or blankets is helpful too.
Many children are far more in tune with their bodies than we are as adults. Most especially allow them to be your guide. They typically know what works best for them despite what we might think.
Heavenly Father, we just want to thank you for reminding us that You provided us with a body to protect us and keep us safe while we were in our infancy stages of development. While our mothers worked hard to provide us a safe and nurturing environment, sometimes our tiny bodies were traumatized before we even left the womb. For some of us we were welcomed into a quiet, peaceful world where our brains and bodies could be rewired over time so that the impact of any trauma we may have experienced in the womb was minimized; however, there are some who are still feeling the impact of that time. For those Lord, we pray that you bring healing. We pray Lord, that you bring compassion. And, most especially we pray for complete restoration of heart, mind, body and soul as each of us turns to You. Thank you Lord!
PTSD can be a challenging condition to navigate, but with the right support and strategies, it is possible to troubleshoot its impact and regain control over your life. Remember, to practice patience and compassion with yourself and your loved ones. You are not alone in this journey. Reach out, seek help, and have faith in your ability to heal. There is hope beyond trauma, and a brighter future awaits you.
Thank you all so much. Y’all have a beautiful day!
All My Love,
Sources used in the article:
Wilner, Karyne B. “The Wounding Womb Healing Prenatal Trauma.” International Body Psychotherapy Journal, 2020, ibpj.org/issues/IBPJ-Volume-19-Number-2-2020.pdf.
Van Der Kolk, B. (2019). The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Penguin.
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To view 30 Days of Prayer for PTSD - Day 21 click here.