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The Brave Fear Retreat

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Child abuse survivor, sharing my healing journey.  Trauma-Informed Writer, Speaker,  & Content Creator.

Hi I'm, Brianne Wik! 👋

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What is Trauma?

Far too many people have compared their trauma to mine, considering their’s to somehow be, ‘less than,’ because their experience wasn’t as awful as mine.

Let me make this super clear.⠀

→ Trauma is NOT comparable.⠀
→ Trauma is NOT limited to major events (people often only associate things like abuse, sexual assault or serious bodily injury to trauma).⠀
→ Trauma is NOT a one-size-fits-all. ⠀

Trama is ANY deeply distressing or disturbing experience in which you felt helpless.⠀

I feel like Daphne de Marneffe, PHD explains it best:

“People often think of trauma as a discrete event — a fire, getting mugged … But what it’s really about is helplessness, about being on the receiving end of forces you can’t control.”

– Daphne de Marneffe, PHD

I’ve heard people refer to trauma is, ‘little t trauma,’ or, ‘big T Trauma,’ but I want to tell you it doesn’t matter. Whether you consider your trauma to be big or small, everyone’s brain processes trauma exactly the same. So let’s stop the comparisons and call trauma, trauma. Regardless of its severity.

Q: Have you ever felt like your experience wasn’t, “traumatic” because it didn’t fit a certain mould?

It’s time to reframe what you consider trauma to be, (it’s probably more than you think).⠀

For instance, trauma also includes:
– chronic illness⠀
– divorce⠀
– bullying⠀
– harassment⠀
– gaslighting⠀
– body shaming⠀
– poverty⠀
– racism / sexism / (all the ism’s)⠀
– neglect⠀
– and… more⠀

If you think your trauma is less than someone else’s, please know there is no ‘less than’ in trauma. Regardless of how extreme the trauma, our brains still process all kinds of painful experiences in the same way.

How trauma is stored in the brain:

When you experience a painful event in which you feel helpless your body goes into survival mode, aka fight, flight or freeze mode.

When we experience a traumatic event, the front part of our brain, known as the prefrontal cortex (I had to look this up) shuts down. This is the rational part of our brain, the consciousness that deals in logic, processing and reasoning. When this part of the brain shuts down, your brain becomes disorganized, and instead of using your higher reasoning consciousness to process what’s happening, your brain instead imprints a profound stress response.

Thusly called, trauma.

It doesn’t matter what painful experience you may have had, if you felt distressed or disturbed and helpless, your brain imprinted a stress response in which you will now need to recover from. i.e. Trauma.

Take-aways from this blog post:

  • Do NOT compare your trauma to others.
  • Know that your trauma is VALID (regardless of the severity).
  • Remember that not all trauma is created equal.
  • Do not dismiss someone else’s trauma, because you don’t think it traumatic enough.
  • ❤️ Know your experience matters. #bravefearstories

Let’s chat in the comments about this: Have you ever felt like your experience wasn’t, “traumatic” because it didn’t fit a certain mould?

Use the hashtag #bravefearstories to tell your story online and possibly get featured here.

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