As a health and fitness professional dealing with a client, one of the first things I assess is their current stress level.
A person’s stress level can determine how successful they will be in continuing with an exercise program. A skilled coach can use questionnaires that assess the current state, and then develop a program that will take that into consideration.
In this way exercise truly becomes part of of an overall wellness plan.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
I am determined to help you see how caring for your mind and caring for your body should be of equal importance.
The problem is our minds can be a very scary place…especially when you feel alone.
But is my place to tell you are not alone in it. It is also my place to tell you that you have options and it is your responsibility to care for yourself. It is your responsibility to speak up for yourself and find yourself support. Stress due to trauma takes many forms but it must not be suppressed and ignored.
But who am I to tell you this? Aren’t I a picture of mental and physical strength? What do I know of trauma?
I know what it is like to gather your siblings under blankets to muffle the sounds of your mother being physically, verbally and mentally abused in the middle of the night.
I know what it is like to flee in the middle of the night, by taxi to a local battered women’s shelter with your terrified mother.
I know what it is like to watch police officers come up the drive and draw their weapons to save your mom’s life…after she had ended a relationship.
I know what it is like to step in and physically stop an attack, while watching a man raise his fist to strike you down also.
I know what it is like to lie to friends and family, about how a fist-shaped hole ended up in wall of your kitchen.
I know what it is like to leave home (with just a car load of your belongings), and go through questioning, when getting an order of protection.
I know what it is like to be assaulted in public, after leaving a relationship.
I know what it is like to stand before a judge, with a court ordered advocate (from a domestic violence shelter) there to speak on your behalf.
I know what it is like to read the suicide note left behind by your first cousin.
I know what it is like to get a message in the middle of the night, that another first cousin has died of an overdose.
I know what it is like to sit across from a combat veteran with diagnosed PTSD, who is telling you he feels like there is no hope for him, and doesn’t want to go to the VA to ask for help.
I know what it is like to hear woman close to me speak about being punched, shoved, or molested by their own fathers.
I know what it is like to have a dear friend tell you that the man she loves threatened her with a gun.
And I promise you that I know much more.
I tend to hear more traumatic stories, because I am in relationship with many people and I share some of my story at times. I only share these things that I know, so that you might know that you are certainly not alone. You are likely surrounded by people in your life, who have also been exposed to trauma…myself included.
The good news is that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions are being taken more seriously. More and more people are coming forward for help.
Personally I still feel a level of shame about the trauma I have endured. There is always a measure of anxiety for me when entering close relationships, because at some point there is a definite need to share that I am still healing.
Even writing this to you brings up shame and fear.
Many times you will find that your closest friends and family have also been through traumatic events. You certainly do not have to speak publicly, and I do not recommend you share with people who are not able to have a healthy relationship with you. This certainly may lead to additional feelings of shame, especially if you do not yet have a mental health professional to assist you in it.
Surrounding yourself with people who seek their own mental, emotional and physical health will encourage you to keep going on the path of healing and recovery. Surrounding yourself with people who seek out their own mentors, coaches, and mental health professionals will help encourage you to seek out your own support system of people, who can guide you on what types of actions you can take.
I share this with you because other people have done so for me. Other people have spoken words of encouragement. Other people have written their stories. Other people have faced their fear and shame and have stepped forward.
You are not alone!
The constant daily feelings of stress or anxiety, or the acute moments where you can’t function because of flashbacks, are certainly related to the trauma you endured or what you saw.
Please seek out a mental health professional. Please tell your trusted loved ones that you are currently struggling due to trauma.
It is not their responsibility to rescue you. But if you will allow yourself to speak to trusted people about your struggles, then they can love you and support you in seeking healthy treatments options.