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How a New Understanding of Trauma Can Change Everything You Know About Health and Healing

First off, I would love to thank Nicole at Kindersley Social for the opportunity to contribute regularly! It is important to me and my work to be able to empower members of the community and surrounding areas with new skills, tools, and abilities to look after themselves in a healthy, sustainable way.

For anyone that missed the feature in the April 1st issue earlier this year, my name is Holly McCorriston and I was born and raised in Kindersley. I was a pharmacist in the community up until December 2020, when I realized that my work in healthcare did not align with my values and what is truly important to me. I work now as a full-time life coach and mental fitness trainer helping women secretly struggling with stress and anxiety to overcome shame and self-sabotage keeping them stuck, sick, and small.

Today I would love to discuss the importance of becoming the hero in our own stories. In the short summary I just gave, that might sound like a dream come true. “Wow, she quit a job she didn’t like to follow her passion. Good for her!” But that quick version of the story does not mention all of the trauma I have had to integrate and the inner work I had to do to get there.

I do not know if enough people give themselves credit for how they continue to survive even though they are walking about with literal and figurative wounds that no one can see. It is these invisible wounds that often keep us stuck in our own heads and unable to access the deeper parts of ourselves that are meant to guide us in life.

And I’m not sure if enough people realize that we are not meant to simply survive our way through life either. Our survival mechanisms are wonderful when we are encountering true danger, yet many of us live in adequate shelter with plentiful food and tools to distract us from our own inner pain calling out for attention. Most of us do not recognize that these survival mechanisms have gone too far the other way and worn patterns into our brains that are now harmful instead of helpful.

Back to the invisible wounds we all walk around with, I believe these are truly the underlying cause of most disease, suffering, and disconnection that humans struggle with these days. I used the word trauma earlier and I think it’s important to recognize that everyone experiences trauma and it does not necessarily mean what we think it means.

The most common definition of trauma is: “a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing.”

I personally find that definition limiting and prefer this much more elaborate and inclusive definition created by host of the Holistic Trauma Healing podcast, Lindsey Lockett: “Any event or a series of events remembered, forgotten, or unknown, which triggers the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn responses, impairs the function of the autonomic nervous system, causes the person to become stuck in a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or ancestral loop of unhealthy emotional expression, physical illness, mental illness and repeated generational patterns and is stored as a low-frequency energy that must be consciously observed, felt and released in order to heal.”

More simply put, trauma is unprocessed energy in the body that requires processing. Those pockets of unprocessed energy eventually present as physical and mental symptoms because they are signals that are trying to get our attention. The actual event has very little to do with whether or not a person will experience trauma and more to do with the person’s ability to process the energy.

Have you ever heard the phrase “An emotional problem cannot be resolved on an intellectual level”?

That is because trauma is stored in the body. This is often why years of talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, journaling, and other intellect-based forms of therapy do not fully resolve the symptoms or conditions in question. The healing of trauma requires the energy that was pushed down and repressed to be observed, felt, and released exactly as Lindsey describes in her definition.

It is integral that society is educated and informed that our bodies are not the enemy. Our bodies are simply the messenger. When our default reaction in this culture is to numb and suppress physical symptoms with drugs, alcohol, Netflix, and prescription medications, how can we expect people to heal? When was the last time your doctor or pharmacist suggested you try getting in touch with your inner child to resolve your heartburn or blood pressure issues? What if your body wasn’t out to get you and just needs you to get out of your head and back into yourself?

Holistic health includes treating a person as a whole and looking at all aspects of said person. This includes not only physical health, but also mental, social, spiritual, and emotional health.

If there is one thing I wished I had known about so much sooner in my life, it is how integral it is to recognize and manage all of these aspects of my human.

Instead, I shoved down and pushed aside my mental, spiritual, and emotional health for years until physical symptoms presented. I started puberty when I was 7-years-old, developed embarrassing gastrointestinal symptoms at 16 that lasted well into my 30s, suffered an eating disorder in my teens and 20s, became allergic to the outdoors when I was 18, started grinding my teeth in university and then required a night guard to sleep for 10+ years, and struggled with alcohol and food addiction from 15 years on. These are all symptoms that finally began resolving when I started acknowledging that I was not just a brilliant human head on top of a good-for-nothing meatsack of a body.

I teach and train mental fitness because it is an important, simple, and helpful way to come back into the body. We label and address 10 saboteurs, that everyone has in some kind of combination. Then we focus on reprogramming and retraining the brain to intercept these saboteur pathways and trauma responses. In strengthening three different mental muscles involved in mental fitness, we can then access different parts of the brain and body…the parts that offer the ability to feel love, joy, peace, and access our own inner wisdom.

I believe it is more important than ever for people to be equipped with skills, tools, and abilities to heal themselves and their trauma. This does not mean no one will ever require doctors, surgeries, or pharmaceuticals…but what if the grand majority of disease and suffering of today could be resolved by addressing the underlying stuck energies and trauma that created them in the first place? What if this is the root cause of so many diseases that get treated with Band-Aids?

Modern medicine will not likely offer this solution to the mainstream in the near future. It can take 17-20 years for science-backed changes in medicine to become common practice.

Your trauma and stuck energy in your body may not be your fault, however, it is your responsibility to do something about it. I encourage every individual to take their power back from outside powers and systems to become educated on trauma healing and nervous system dysregulation. There are several resources and places to start researching located on my website at www.hollymccorriston.com, as well as information on how to work with me in group or 1:1 programs.

I believe everyone should have access to the skills, tools, and abilities required to live a happy, meaningful life full of love and acceptance. I do not believe we are required to stay sick, stuck, and small, playing the victim in our own stories. I believe everyone can become the hero of their own story and it begins with taking ownership and responsibility for themselves. I believe it really does start with getting out of our heads and back into our bodies. Healing starts inside, not out. Look inside and see if you can find your own hero.

For the latest information and for more updates on everything Kindersley ‘Like’ the Kindersley Social Facebook page below…

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