I wanted to discuss a topic that I think could use some more explanation and press and that is the reality that there are different forms of trauma and not all trauma falls under the big ‘T’ category.
So what is trauma?
Trauma is defined as any event outside of normal human experience that causes stress or could be considered traumatic to any degree.
Big 'T' trauma could look like
- Natural disaster
Really any serious injury, violence, or life threatening experiences would be considered big ‘T’ trauma.
Little 't' trauma could look like
- Emotional stress
- Death of a pet
- Relationship ending
Really any non life-threatening event that has caused stress on the body and mind would be considered a little ‘t’ trauma.
Even though little ‘t’ traumas do not meet the criteria for PTSD, they can still be intensely upsetting and cause emotional damage, especially if someone is experiencing events like these multiple times over an important period of the brain development. Little ‘t’ and big ‘T’ trauma can leave you feeling sensitive, hypervigilant, and stressed despite there not being a perceived threat anymore.
What can you do?
Now that you know the difference between the two main categories of trauma … what does this mean for you moving forward?
Whenever you feel a trigger arise, or you have an emotional response to a situation that may be similar to a past traumatic experience, there are a few things you can do.
- Stop and acknowledge how this event or experience is making you feel.
- Name the emotions, feelings, and sensations that are happening.
- Pause and do something that would feel supportive for your nervous system.
- Know that this emotion does not determine your reality and through neuroplasticity, you can find healing.
All forms of trauma, big or small, are valid reasons to give yourself some extra support and love. If you identify with any types of trauma that were listed as being part of your lived experience (we all have them), or are wanting support around how to release them, book a clarity call with me to find out how I can support you further in your journey.
As always, thank you for saving room for me in your inbox and I look forward to connecting with you further. If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram where I share posts about all things psychology, self-care, and neuroscience.