Little "t" can equal big "CE" (or, The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back)

I recently spoke to a dear friend who was relating a revelation she had. She couldn't figure out why she was having such a hard time getting her "umph" on. This person is normally high energy, filled with ideas, creativity, and drive. She said she was looking back over life in the last year or two and realized she had experienced numerous moves, job changes, losses, additions to the family, relational dilemmas, and a number of surgeries ranging from somewhat minor to major. I had to laugh when she said, "I realized maybe this was a lot!" Of course it was! I pointed out to her that for most people they would see this as overwhelming, especially when it was described all at once, yet for her, and over the course of time, she was not giving herself credit for all she had been through, and endured.

What has taken place in your life over the past year or two, (or more)? Have you been experiencing a series of little "t's"? By this I mean small traumas that you may be ignoring, dismissing, or minimizing as not that big of a deal. These little "t" events can have a big "CE" cumulative effects ranging from depression, anxiety, lack of energy or interest, feeling numb, bodily symptoms and health issues. In fact, many of the symptoms you could experience may mimic big "T" PTSD symptoms such as:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating, bad dreams, frightening thoughts.

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person's everyday routine. They can start from the person's own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:

Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience. Feeling emotionally numb. Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry. Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past. Having trouble remembering the event.

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

Being easily startled. Feeling tense or "on edge"Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, whether from a large scale trauma or a smaller scale trauma, there is help! It can start with the realization that life's events do have an impact our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing and that self-care is not selfish, but rather a necessary component of life. If you need someone to come alongside you through your journey into insight, healing, and change, give me a call!