Unpopular opinion.... wanting and needing ample alone time IS a trauma response.
I've been wanting to say this for a while now. I know, I know, so not like me to hold back. Yet here we are. Maybe I needed some alone time to figure it all out first.
Let’s unpack some of this before you come for me.
What is a trauma response and why are we seeing every millennial talk about trauma all over Tik Tok? (My #fyp is better than yours). Let’s break some expensive dishes first and define what trauma is and isn’t.
Trauma isn’t what happened to you. Trauma is the way your body and mind try to reconcile and respond to what has happened to you. I would bet 10,000 rupees that right now you are thinking “Well, what happened to me wasn’t that bad. Other people have had it much worse.” And to that I always respond with...
A person drowning in 2” of water is still just as much dead as a person who drowned in 6’ of water.
Comparing traumas is like comparing your life to some influencer’s highlight reel on the gram. You don’t know the half of it and it just makes you feel insignificant. It also isn’t real.
A trauma response is how you have learned to well… respond to the trauma (not as complicated as thought). The way we respond varies and is highly dependent on how we learned to deal with our emotions in childhood. Think, fight, flight, and collapse. But with those popular responses also come the not-so-well-known ones as well.
Here is a brief and basic list:
- Spinning stories in your mind
- Irrational thoughts
- Self doubt/self deprecation/self sabotage
And the list goes on and on like a Kardashian baby shower.
Now that we have that laid out we can talk about needing alone time. Alone time is crucial for recharging our batteries, thinking, processing, releasing others' energies, self development work, sleeping, and masturbating. I guess the latter you could do with friends. But I don’t want to diminish the importance of spending and enjoying time with yourself. This is when we can work on ourselves, dissect and process our emotions, and learn how to be better humans. Alone time and space is vital for healthy relationships, a powerful mind, and strong body.
So YES we need alone time.. AND .. feeling like you can never get enough and then (often subconsciously) creating seemingly negative situations that GIVE you alone time
IS 👏 A 👏 TRAUMA 👏RESPONSE
When your nervous system does it's little dance over and over again between safety, fight/flight, and shut down... it can often get stuck in that shut down place. In that collapse station of “I just can’t get enough sleep. I just can’t get any down time. I just can’t relax.”
That place where you NEED rest, alone time, a padded room is your body’s way of trying to protect you from whatever danger it is perceiving in your environment. Whether that danger is actually real (a bear, a tiger, or a crazy ex with a knife) is dependent on who you are and your past triggers. The nervous system LEARNS perceived dangers.
Too much danger (which can easily be overeating or watching your kids fight to the death) can lead to too much collapse. And then you find yourself CRAVING more. Not having enough. And therefore creating such situations where you get to be alone. Because he broke up with you, you lost the job, you failed at your project, your kids are just "too much", etc. It’s the cortisol that’s running through your hot little bod that your body gets addicted to.
If you find yourself constantly exhausted and feeling like you can't recharge those batteries... there is something deeper happening.
It's a nervous system problem not a him/her/they/it problem. It's you. You're the toxic one. OOPS... shit.. said that one too 😬 I actually wrote an article about that and you can find it here. But that’s besides the point. The point is that there is always something deeper happening and creating awareness about the trigger, trauma, and response can help shed light on the root problem. Then you can safely help your body move into a place of safety. Here are some ways I have helped my body find safety amidst the storm and the shut downs.
- Talking to my partner openly
- Service (helping others)
It can feel like a slow crawl at times, but creating that initial awareness is the key. It’s what will unlock new ways of healing and dealing with the trauma. So you can stop sleeping your life away and start co-creating the life you desire.
** This article is for information / entertainment purposes only. If you find you are suffering from trauma please seek professional help. All trauma counts and you are beautiful and incredibly strong either way.
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