Is Trauma Holding You Back?
The Connection Between Past Trauma and Burnout
The last few weeks I haven’t felt good.
I felt like something inside of me was sucking my energy, causing me to feel burned out and holding me back.
I could describe it with the lyrics from a song from my favorite band:
If felt like there was something inside of me that was holding me back, I just didn’t know what it was…
Why I Was Feeling Unwell?
Like I talked about in my newsletter How Does Burnout Recovery Feel Like?, at the end of June I got sick with a flu, but even though I was resting a lot, sleeping enough, eating well, not working a lot and not putting extra stress on my body with workouts, I just couldn’t properly recover and pull myself back together.
I felt burned out: I wasn’t feeling fresh in the morning and I was having a hard time waking up. I had low motivation and drive to do everything and didn’t have extra energy to workout. I also often crashed in the afternoon after lunch, was anxious in the evening and had a mini boost of energy at night before going to sleep.
The symptoms were there, but it felt different… It felt like the burnout symptoms were the result rather than the cause.
I went to my doctor twice to do blood work: In both cases the blood work was “fine”, at least according to her.
But I was sure that there was something wrong that was causing me to feel burned out.
Maybe I had low testosterone and that could have been the cause for low energy, recovery, motivation, drive and libido. Maybe my cortisol was out of whack. Maybe the negative bacteria and parasites in my gut overgrowth due to painkillers I had been using to treat virus infection. Or maybe I was really burned out and symptoms were the cause and not the result…
So then last week I decided to do my own bloodwork to see where I’m at. I also went to bioresonance therapy to get checked and do therapy. The therapist didn’t find any major issue and just did therapy to help me with the tiredness, malaise and fatigue.
Then the next morning I had a huge release and healing.
The Underlying Problem
The night after bioresonance therapy I slept very poorly. It was so hot and humid outside that I woke up many times during the night all sweaty and dehydrated, and had some nightmares.
I woke up feeling burned out which triggered a cascade of fear, anxiety, panic and other negative feelings and emotions.
During my morning meditation I got a vision of how I was totally f*cked up at the moment and how I was literally swimming in a sea of sh*t and how I was drowning and swallowing the sea of sh*t.
That vision started the release of trauma: forgotten trauma - some very stressful experiences for me that become a form of trauma - that I wasn’t aware was holding me back and affected me so much.
I started doing some bodywork and massaging my abdomen. I felt tension in 3 points in my abdomen — my stomach area, my navel area and my lower abdomen — and as I started working on them one by one, I felt the release of tension and the release of traumatic memories and experience from each and everyone of these tension points.
I knew that to overcome this, I had to let go, surrender and allow myself to experience anything that would come up.
As I was able to release this tension, relieve these traumatic experiences, support myself emotionally and reframe these traumatic memories, I slowly started to feel better.
At that time I had the realization that the thing that was holding me back and causing me the symptoms of burnout was trauma stored in my body.
Trauma Is Stored In the Body
Like I wrote in my article Is Accumulated Stress Burning You Out? our body holds onto the memory of every stressor we ever experience in your life.
It’s similar with trauma: We know that trauma and memory of traumatic experiences are stored in the body and negatively affect and interfere in its normal functioning.
In his book The Body Keeps The Score, Dutch professor of psychiatry Bessel A. Van Der Kolk explains very well how the underlying emotional problems manifest in our body.
He encourages us to see the body as a “kind of score sheet of the emotional experiences that his owner has been through.” He also explains how stored memory of past trauma can affect us in a negative way and cause us a wide range of problems: from physical to emotional and psychological ones.
All this accumulated stress and trauma can then manifest themself in the present as:
digestive problems and food intolerances,
stress we experience in the present,
our diminished ability to cope with daily stressor,
anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems,
and burnout symptoms and condition.
Dysregulated nervous system and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also very common with accumulated stress and stored trauma and can have huge negative impact on our general health, well-being and mental health.
The Release and Healing of Trauma
Since the release of trauma I’ve felt better: I went from feeling 4 out of 10 to feeling 7/10 — more energy, more positivity and better mood, more motivation, more emotionally stable. I’ve also felt lighter, both physically and psychologically — as if I’d let go of a huge weight I’d been carrying with me without even knowing.
I’m not totally convinced that the trauma is totally healed — I still have to be careful about it and keep doing the work to fully heal it.
But this event and experience was huge: it brought me to the realization of the connection between trauma and burnout.
It’s also an opportunity and invitation for me to start studying the trauma, its connection to burnout and how to heal it in order to recover from burnout condition.
I’ll study and learn more about trauma and how to heal it because I feel it’s could be of huge importance — not just for me but also for you as well.
Let me know if you would like to learn more about trauma and burnout and if you have any questions about this topic you would like me to explore.
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