Reading About Trauma During the Pandemic

What a time to be alive.  A unique blend of global pandemic and technology, where humanity is smart enough to figure some shit out, but not wise enough to figure out if it should be figuring it out. I am imagining most of us will come out of this with some sort of trauma, and some are even saying it could possibly be a necessary evil, to teach us to smarten the fuck up.   I don’t think there could be a human alive that hasn’t already experienced trauma. 20200327_093058 (1)How could there be? With every birth and death and disaster, there is the fallout of trauma. Looking ahead, maybe there’s some things we can learn from this. This pandemic has, on the bright side, allowed us all to realize we are all connected, a global community. Today I am interested in talking about the connection between all of us, and preventable trauma.   

I have been reading a book about healing from trauma, a book I picked up because I volunteer at a counselling centre as a volunteer counsellor, and I thought it might help me be better at the job.  There is a section on multigenerational trauma;

‘The multigenerational transmission of trauma predicts attachment disruptions.   Researchers Schore and Schore (2014), Beebe et al. (2012), and others have established that a mother’s inability to communicate emotionally with her infant results in a relational-developmental trauma and points to evidence that the origins of trauma run much deeper: they are embedded in historical trauma, generational injuries, and the ecological dysfunction of families, communities, and nations.  The loss of emotional support, education, and nurturing the young parents usually begins well before the parents were born (Yehuda et al. 2000; Ehlers et al. 2013; Danieli 1998). Traumatic experiences are created in part by the environment when family, community, and cultural-based systems do not acknowledge nor support the struggles of people raising young children.  

Oppression; racism; poverty; slavery; genocide; sexism; the environmental contamination of water, air, earth, and food; and the generational transmission of suffering from war and violence are present in communities throughout the globe.  These violent dynamics divert a communities’ focus from the responsibility of raising children, healing wounds, and restoring a collaborative and interactive attention to human growth and development. The price of doing nothing is high because the trauma of one of a few can affect the neurobiology of generations to come in our interconnected world.’ (P.46, RELATIONAL AND BODY-CENTERED PRACTICES FOR HEALING TRAUMA, Lifting Burdens Of The Past, by Sharon Stanley)

The book is about understanding trauma, in order to heal from trauma.  I feel it has some interesting insight for us to think about in moving forward to shift our perspectives slightly, hopefully to a more loving zone. If we are all seeing now that we can all easily spread one virus around the world, we must also all see now that the way one country is practicing human rights and treating the environment will affect all the other countries too. To have healthy and safe populations all over the world, could ensure we make better decisions for future generations.  It’s about you, and it’s also about every person. It’s about you and it’s also about every living organism. Consider how connected we are before you get upset about that scratch on your car; consider that when your neighbor get’s sick and can’t pay his mortgage and becomes homeless, he will be able to use your tax money to hopefully get by on welfare or ei or disability or social services or the medical system, and you don’t have to lift a finger or even notice anything other than your damn scratched car.  You know what you would notice if those things weren’t in place? A homeless person coughing on you spreading covid-19 all over the streets, asking you for help. What’s more important, human life, or your replaceable property? Do you really want to complain about paying taxes?

The author goes on to explain:

 ‘ Languaging refers to the spontaneous emergence of works congruent with immediate bodily-based lived experience.  Trusting in the ‘goodness of a living cosmos that includes humans’ as they went about their lives, many cultures with oral traditions honoured the fundamental biology of human love and connection (2008, 125).  Romesin and Verden-Zoller contend that the patriarchal view of western culture lacks a sense of inclusion in the coherence of a systemic cosmos. With that perspective, people in western culture often try to maintain control through aggression and competition, employing strategies that separate them from their own biological lives and loving connection with others. 

Languaging without attempts to control allows for trust and respect for the multidimensionality of each individual.  People who live with the belief they need to control and dominate others negate the trust and love that holds human relations in coherence. For Romesin and Verden-Zoller, the biology of love is the fundamental bond between the mother and infant, and cultures that honour the optimal development of children respect this biological imperative.  In a healing dialogue, a somatic inquiry attempts to recognize, respect, and language the biological sacredness of each individual’s inner world, similar to the essential contingent, reciprocal communication between mother and child (Beebe and Lachmann 2014).’ (p.123)

So what am I trying to say here.  I hope i didn’t lose you, that was some heavy academic shit. But I couldn’t paraphrase that, because I couldn’t let the meaning be lost.  It’s all such huge ideas. It’s suggesting that when people are needing to recover from trauma, they need a person with them, who can hold the space for the healing to happen without trying to affect the outcome or path. It’s suggesting that western culture is doing it wrong, and that globally we are letting too many bad things go unchecked. It’s suggesting that we are not going to heal until we figure out the right shit.

Have you ever wondered why depression is on the rise? The book has an explanation for that too:

‘While embodiment is natural for a securely attached child, it is a profound achievement for a traumatized person, particularly one suffering the effects of complex trauma…  people with depression and other symptoms of hyperarousal are unconsciously disconnected from the anguishing sensations in their bodies.’ (P.54)

It’s a vicious cycle.  We disassociate to get through the bad shit, but then we might not be able to reconnect with ourselves and others as an fallout.  We are humans, we naturally need to connect. We are all naturally connected, in one way or another. We breath the same air, drink the same water, eat from the same earth.  Depression is described as: a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep (Oxford).  Yes, I’m concluding that trauma is one of the things that creates depression. 

“Fearful’ experiences can take an infinite variety of forms, but all involve a communication between the spiritual and the physical.”   (Atleo 2004, 73)

I wanted this to end with some formative ideas, that we can start to focus on moving forward.  But I just don’t have all the answers. I can suggest that safety, love, and respect should be where we are making choices from.   I can suggest following other groups that are already on this page, like Council of Canadians, World Health Organization, or United Nations.  What I can tell you is that if unions are the answer for workers, we all need to be in one, and we need to make them international unions.  And if we are going to elect people to represent us, it better be people who can think on a global scale, and act on a local scale. If we’re worried about the economy, we should be worrying if we are progressing toward a sustainable economy, and we should ensure a minimum standard of living for all people.  You might be laughing, thinking these are pipe dreams, but we make our own destiny. We can make rocket ships, and we can see tiny molecules, surely we can try to see outside of our little narcissistic heads and see ourselves as a part of a global community, making decisions that affect everyone, not just our selfish selves.  It’s the reason to stay home during a pandemic. It’s not about you. It’s about all of us. Take care and I apologize this turned out like a lecture! XXXOOOO






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