Trauma – we’ve heard the word a lot over the past two years. It’s one of those feelings that you kind of know it when it happens – some part of you – big or small – is changed by it.
And we can quote the platitudes people post in instagram comments here: like what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or everything happens for a reason. Or they’re in a better place. Or pressure makes diamonds. But honestly, Kelly Clarkson song or not, trauma is hard and we need time to honor the suck of it all.
We’re continuing our deep dive into mental health on our podcast #WeGotGoals with an expert in trauma, Candyce “Ce” Anderson, M.S., L.P.C., author and licensed therapist serving Alabama, Georgia, Washington, D.C. and Ohio. She’s the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the private practice Revita Therapy and Wellness, located in Montgomery, Alabama. Her work centers around black women.
Ce has appeared on plenty of places you get news because of her expertise in domestic violence and sexual assault recovery. She’s taken that knowledge and put it into her book Love Taps, which I read as a manual to identify red flags of abuse early.
Ce and I spoke about two different kinds of trauma, small t trauma, and big T trauma. Small t can be found in events that overwhelm our ability to cope like divorce, conflict, and leaving a job abruptly. Big T trauma is triggered by events that are extraordinary and significant, leaving a person feeling powerless and possessing little control in their environment.
In the name of honoring the suck of trauma, I’d like to take a few minutes to acknowledge the accumulated effect of trauma we’ve all experienced over the past few years. We’ve had our normals ripped away from us, that’s a Big T for the entire planet Earth. We’ve navigated the disappointment of canceled or changed life events, and parenting without help – chalk up a couple of small ts. In silence, many of us on the planet were forced to stay indoors in situations that weren’t safe during this time with no real place to escape, Big T. And layer on racism, anti-semitism, war, political turmoil – that’s more trauma.
We’ve all been through a lot – and that’s just in the past two years. So let’s start to untangle that trauma, shall we?
Have you ever seen that graphic about trauma that therapists love to show you when you’re just starting to work on it? It’s basically a tangled knot of string with one end that’s starting to be untangled. The knot represents the ways we start to incorporate the trauma into the way we look at the rest of the world. Trauma isn’t just a blip in the timeline, it can become a piece of our whole worldview and present as PTSD, making it hard to sleep, dream, live or walk down the street.
Ce and I spend a lot of our time speaking about some of the treatments that have been shown to be effective for trauma like EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Brainspotting, which was new to me. Ce told me Brainspotting is revolutionary, especially for those in the BIPOC community who can use that therapy as a way to lead and feel empowered in healing from trauma.
And by the way, if you’re listening to this episode and you feel pulled to talk to someone – good. I promise you, trauma is better out than in and better processed with someone who is trained to help you navigate it.
- Ce Anderson on Instagram
- More about Revita Therapy and Wellness
- More about Ce Anderson
- Big T vs. Small t trauma
- More on Brainspotting and where to find a clinician trained in Brainspotting
- More on EMDR and where to find a clinician trained in EMDR