What does the trauma you didn’t know you had look like?
Is your trauma reflected by a coke cola can rolling down the street; or do you have “Chinook Moments?”
Let me explain and expand. The memories your body holds are not always the same memories your brain holds. Your body can respond to something ten or twenty years after the event you may not even know was related.
When I talk about triggers; I am not talking loosely about being offended or having your feelings hurt. I am talking about reliving a horrific moment in your timeline as if it is happening again at this very moment. I am talking about something that shakes your very core and puts your body, your mind or soul into a behavioral pattern that you are not able to control.
There are also a few points I want to make right up front; it doesn’t matter how much training or therapy or other work you have done to overcome an event; when you are blind-sided with a “Chinook Moment” seek help. It does not make you weak or lessen your authority or change who you are. Whether you believe you are a human or a god or an alien; when you are caught off guard; it is okay to reach out to others.
Let me tell you how I define a “Chinook Moment”.
In the early 1990’s while in the military, I had an unpleasant experience with a Chinook helicopter. I processed the event and believed I was fine. I have not had issues with Chinook’s; nor have I had adverse effects by being around them, watching airshows or seeing them fly overhead. Events I intentionally attend.
So fast forward to around 2015 or so; I am at a festival in Middle Tennessee. This is a magical event I have attended as a vendor for multiple years. I have always looked forward to going and seeing friends I wouldn’t normally see the rest of the year. We love, we laugh, we drum… we feel safe. It is held at a campground in a state park with a wide meadow that the vendor’s set up in and the outside of the meadow is surrounded by tall trees.
I was standing beside my vending pop-up tent talking with someone and I looked up and there was a Chinook coming over the meadow at the height of the tree-line. It was just there. No warning at all. No reason for it to be there.
AND I COULDN’T BREATH.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything. And once it passed; I sort of in a daze walked to the tent next to me where my best and longest term friend was (because I knew I needed help) and fell into her lap unable to stop crying. I was a bucket of tears. If I could have crawled under her tables I may have. I have no idea why that response came like it did; but it did. It was the blindside. The thing that I didn’t know would elicit a response that took me to my knees.
I was fortunate to have my friend who already knew what was going on. Because when your body has a response to a memory you have forgotten you have no control over how your body will respond. Once you have experienced it, then you can set up measures to keep you in the present and become less affected for future incidents. I was also fortunate that a Vietnam Veteran was also in that booth and was able to do utterly ridiculous things to pull me out of it quickly. That is the benefit of experience regardless of the value of the actual experience.
Have you had a “Chinook Moment?”
On another occasion I was talking with a lady when a coke cola can fell from a car and rolled down the road. AND SHE COULDN’T BREATH.
I knew exactly what was happening with her body at the sight of that can. I was able to assist her through that moment. Once she was in a position to process and discover what was happening; she remembered a vehicle accident she was in almost 10 years prior to this day. She was hit from the side and her car was knocked over. She was still in her car, but lying on the ground looking forward waiting for help. Someone driving a truck stopped in front of her; jumped out of the truck and opened the tailgate to get supplies.
When he opened the tailgate, a coke cola can fell to the ground and rolled down the road. She had no previous memory of the can; only of the accident and all the life-saving procedures that followed. Her body held the memory of the trauma and responded to the can as if she was in the accident at that moment; even though she had no conscious memory of why she was responding to a can rolling down the road.
This was her “Chinook Moment”.
So here’s the whole point; if you have experienced any kind of a traumatic event; (and chances are greater that you have, than you haven’t); understand that even though you may or may not have symptoms of PTSD, C-PTSD, anxiety or depression… These “Chinook Moments” are completely extra, and completely normal. They may or may not make sense to you in the moment and they are more than likely to occur when you least expect them; when you are feeling safe.
Feel free to reach out… Seriously. The fastest way to contact me is facebook messenger; www.facebook.com/3BWarriors