This morning I read a really interesting study thanks to Craig Weiner at the EFT Tapping Training Institute.
It appears that there may be a 10-day window immediately following a traumatic incident in which interventions could prevent the development of PTSD.
It seems like our brains may perhaps be wired to learn and repair from traumatic events, if the right mix of ingredients is present.
This suggests that we need not go on to develop PTSD or other symptoms of trauma, even if we experience a Big T trauma.
We already know that being surrounded by family and friends immediately following a traumatic incident is extremely important for recovery. And we're beginning to uncover how to do even more good as we discover the mechanisms behind the development of PTSD, thanks to research like this. Could this mean that eventually we will have a future without PTSD? Here's hoping!
The study reminded me of the memory reconsolidation window I learned about in my Level 1-2 training. This refers to the fact that when we re-access traumatic memories, we have about 3 hours in which we can re-write some of that information. This is possible because every time we remember something, we are actually re-writing part of the memory with data from today! Yes, isn't that crazy!
So, if we tap after recalling a disturbing memory for instance, we have an opportunity to overwrite the triggering aspects of it and effectively communicate to the brain that "that was then and this is now."
We pair the memory with the experience of being in a calm, safe body. This lets the brain learn that it's OK now. Then we can logically process the memory as we would with any other. "Yup, that really sucked. But it's over, I'm safe now, and I'm still a good person."
However, if we just recall the memory by speaking about it, we bring it up and re-experience the negative emotions. We don't necessarily change how we process that traumatic information, especially if we get pulled into re-experiencing it and not just remembering it. The memory, or body sensations, continue to overload (dysregulate) our nervous system, causing us to feel jumpy, anxious, avoidant, empty, and so on.
If that happens, we're just strengthening the neural connections that wire us to experience increasing PTSD symptoms over time. Remember that "the neurons that fire together wire together." The more we think certain thoughts and feel certain emotions, the easier it is to keep feeling them as a body habit. That's why just talking about your problems won't fix them!
So if you get triggered - TAP!! And hire a professional if dealing with some Big T trauma. You have to stay in the here and now to be able to tap through your own stuff.
And in the meantime, it's an exciting time to be learning all of this information. We really do have so much more potential for healing than anyone on Earth has ever had before! Many people are living testaments to just how possible it is to change.