Another recent testimonial from a client touches on a different aspect of history trauma:
“I have suffered from anxiety and insomnia for years, but I was never able to really get to the root of my issues in order to heal them completely. I had previously tried traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and use of sheer willpower to overcome my problems. Over time, I thought that it would be best to just accept my anxiety and insomnia as ‘who I am’ and just deal with it. I would constantly try to run through the past events in my life attempting to uncover why I was the way I was, but I would never succeed. I felt hopeless and frustrated.
It wasn’t until I started seeing Amy that the true root of my problems was revealed. I had no idea that my anxiety had stemmed from a panic attack I had in reaction to a very traumatic event in my teenage years. The panic attack in itself was another trauma on top of the first one! It seems obvious to me now, but I would have never known without Amy’s help. I discovered that I had put so much pressure on myself to succeed following that traumatic event that I had, in a sense, created performance anxiety with additional anxiety built on that first panic attack. Amy also helped me understand parts of my personality through Enneagram testing that could be contributing to my anxiety.
Once I saw the big picture, Amy helped me to heal from the body level up, where we did all sorts of interesting mind-body techniques to literally melt away old feelings and trauma so they no longer could affect who I am today. As we healed the core of the issues, I was naturally able to forgive myself and look forward to the future. After just several sessions with Amy, I am happy to report that I am anxiety-free and sleeping well and, where I always used to be sick with some cold, flu or respiratory infection each month, I have only been sick once in 4 months!”
The key to helping Kathryn* was to heal history trauma. She had what is called “performance anxiety history trauma”, and it created a tremendous stress on her system. When Kathryn first came in, we discovered she was an Enneagram One, known as The Perfectionist. This Enneagram personality wants to prove that they are good out of an unconscious ego-level fear they are bad, and to do so they try to reform and perfect themselves and the world around them. They are no-nonsense and typically without drama—unless they are carrying heavy-duty loads of trauma. They have an amazing work ethic, take their job (whatever it is) very seriously and are very hard on themselves. “Ones” are concerned with issues of right and wrong, and tend towards being hypercritical and judgmental. They almost never give up and can be counted on to be authentic, as they detest inauthenticity. They are one of the only types who can truly “mind-over-matter” certain issues and move forward where other types will have trouble not letting emotions and negative thoughts bog them down. Of course there is much more to an Enneagram One personality than this short description, but I will leave it at that for now.
So, Kathryn proved, as an Enneagram One, to be a hard worker in therapy and to get right down to business. As we moved through the steps to heal her history trauma, each session she came in looking less serious and less heavy. She also commented that she felt “more relaxed and calm, not worried about work and kind of being more forgiving [of herself].“ She said she now carried around a general attitude of “You don’t have to be so hard on yourself,” that popped automatically into her head as a reassuring voice if she had started to get down…and trust me, this does not come naturally for an Enneagram One. At the end of one session, she smiled to herself and then shared a thought she’d had with me: “Huh, that’s new. I just found myself wondering what I am going to do for fun tonight.”
What I definitely wanted to share about Kathryn’s history trauma was that it included panic attack trauma. This is the trauma that imprints when a person has a panic attack. During panic attacks people jump to the conclusion that they are going to die from one of a number of things: For instance, if they are hyperventilating they could think they were dying of a heart attack due to racing heart or asphyxiation, having what appears to be an asthma attack (but is actually a panic reaction), or otherwise have trouble breathing, which is a hallmark of a panic attack. After we healed this trauma, we healed all the things that could trigger another panic attack. And then we healed the anticipatory phobia that she would have another panic attack. This brought her generalized anxiety down tremendously.
Over the course of three months, we met for six sessions, during which time Kathryn reported sleeping better and better. As we healed the entire history trauma, we also healed what every person with insomnia can relate to—the fear that “Tonight’s going to be a bad night,” and the accompanying anxiety that makes winding down even harder. After the healing, her sleep was greatly improved and seemed very normal to her. Also, she knew, from the body level up, that although sometimes people have a bad night here or there, that’s okay. That is normal. Which translated to: “I am okay. There is nothing wrong with me.” You can hear the neutrality in that statement.
In HBLU-Land, emotional neutrality is what we look for when people talk about previously stressful or traumatic situations. That tells us that the past cannot pull the person back and the fears about what might happen won’t pull them into the future. This is what makes HBLU so great. It helps people live more in the present. Everyone seems to be saying “Live in the now” and yet the common response to that is (and not without a little exasperation) “That sounds great, but how do I do that?” Healing from the Body Level Up is The Power of Now that shows you the How.
Do you want to live more in the present? Have you wanted to heal old traumas and fears about the future, especially in the New Year? If healing anxiety and insomnia and improving your health were on your list of action items for 2012, please call me to discuss a plan: 949-929-5470. You can also use my online form if you wish by clicking here.*The client’s name has been changed to protect her identity and client confidentiality. * The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images, is for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical care or medical advice and is not a replacement for medical care given by physicians or trained medical personnel. The Center for Integrative Therapy, LLC nor Amy St. Hilaire do not directly or indirectly practice medicine, nor do they dispense medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or any other medical service as part of this free web site. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider(s) when experiencing symptoms or health problems, or before starting any new treatment. Neither The Center for Integrative Therapy, LLC nor its members are to be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions, or editorial errors, or for any consequences resulting from the information provided. By continuing to view this site, visitors indicate acceptance of these terms.