Ten years later, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing still suffer from the traumatic experience. Some of the survivors have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Why does healing from a life threatening experience take so much time?
Katherine Manners, a psychotherapist in an interview with CBS News on April 17, the day after the 2023 Boston Marathon, discusses her experience in supporting those who experienced the horrific Boston Marathon Bombing ten years ago. She is frequently asked the question, “Why does healing after an act of mass violence take so much time?”
Dr. Manners shares the healing from PTSD is hard work. Healing does take time. It is hard work building resilience, and post traumatic growth. She shares even the focus on building resilience with “Boston Strong”, bringing together the community and shared purpose, solidarity. Many folks she spoke with felt being left behind and feeling worse because they have said, “I am not strong”.
Unresolved trauma does become frozen in the body’s nervous system.
Unresolved trauma may remain frozen for many years. Symptoms of unresolved trauma are manifested in the body when the body remembers. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk describes, the story is not that important any more – it is the imprints left behind in the sensory and hormonal system that is now the problem. Our body remembers.
This is the underlying tenet of the Trauma Informed “movement”. With 70 percent of the population reporting having had a life threatening experience as an adult, being trauma informed is being attuned to another’s dysregulated nervous system. A dysregulated nervous system has an effect on all around in the relational field.
Trauma Sensitive is not the same as Trauma informed.
Trauma sensitive interventions are very specific interventions for bringing the body and nervous system into a rest and digest, enhancing recovering from trauma. Being in fight or flight is a very well known phenomena. We have all been there. Mostly our bodies recover through homeostasis. Our bodies are wired to survive. But with the experience of mass violence, 19-25% of mass violence survivors go on to develop PTSD.
The sooner we can get support for recovering from a traumatic experience, especially within the first thirty days of the event, the less likely we are to develop PTSD. Awareness is the first step. And may be the most difficult step because we have been born into a collective trauma, so we think much of how we react and relate is normal. Re-triggering is an ongoing concern. The body is remembering and is moving into survival mode, on alert for danger. Which often does interfere with living life to the fullest.
Trauma recovery does involve being in relationship.
Relating with another who is aware and attuned is necessary for trauma recovery. Healing from trauma cannot happen alone. To experience how relating and connecting helps nervous system regulation, which is trauma recovery, please reach out and consider my offer of a complimentary coaching session. Being “trauma informed” is being aware of the possibility of unresolved trauma in others. Taking into consideration how they are reacting from nervous system dysregulation rather than responding from a regulated nervous system.
Trauma recovery coaching is an opportunity to recover from trauma, bringing the unconscious into consciousness, enhancing the capacity to live life to the fullest.
When one heals, we all heal.