So have I. I have always taught how to use yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to help with daily life. I believe this to be true but my recent experience has made me humble in knowing that when we experience a traumatic event, there is so much more that is needed. After my break-up – which was sudden and painful – all the meditation I had learnt, all the yoga classes I had attended, all the philosophy I had studied, and everything I had taught others, went right out the door. I judged myself for being too emotional, too “all over the place” and believe me, a few people were quick to judge me too.
The interesting thing I have learnt about trauma is that when something happens (a death, a loss, a break-up, deception, abuse, or whatever is causing pain) or something triggers an old trauma, our brain is hardwired to react with the “fight or flight” survival instinct. Our “normal” and our safety is compromised, our past may come under question or our idea of what the future was going to be like no longer exists. And so the everyday “Shanine”, or who you are, disappears.
Trauma is such a personal experience and cannot be judged or compared because it is unique to us and our experiences. Trauma is “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. Symptoms may include: anxiety, fear, insomnia, anger, mood swings, guilt, blame (self and others), withdrawal, muscle tightness, tiredness, higher levels of stress (and a lower ability of handling it), difficulty in concentrating and any other symptoms unique to you.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel, think or even respond. And so the biggest gift I have learnt through this process is to have compassion for myself. It is challenging and I have to remind myself to practice it everyday – especially when I am my own worst critic. And if someone judges you for how you feel, think, react, or what you ask for, remember they have not lived your life and perhaps they have never experienced anything similar. The only person you need to worry about is yourself and taking good care of yourself while you take one step at a time through this experience.
This traumatic experience has been challenging and yet empowering. I have used it as a transformational time to go deeper into healing. I have become more vulnerable and open in expressing myself. And I have created a website where I will be offering programs and workshops in the future around grief, trauma and depression.
I am still navigating my way through learning more about trauma, grief and much more. I know that talking with a therapist and practicing self-care have been huge for me (you can get some of my tips in a FREE 16-page package when you sign up for my newsletter). Finding a support network of friends, journalling, spending time in nature, feeling your emotions, and taking good care of yourself are some tools I share in the package to give you some comfort in challenging times. This weekend I will be attending a few workshops specific to yoga and trauma, depression and grief at the Toronto Yoga Conference. I am excited to share new insights from these classes with you in my classes, on your mat, and in my blogs.
Thank you for reading this! I know it will resonate with those of you that have gone through or going through a similar experience.
Feel free to be vulnerable enough to share your experiences in the comments below. Your pain and/or wisdom can help those in need and give them permission to be vulnerable also.
Much love to you.