Our bodies are miraculous organisms that house the sum of our life experiences and can record in great detail any given moment in time as a sensory event. For those who have experienced a long-term toxic relationship, trauma may persist in the body long after the relationship has ended and long after you think you have healed and gone on with your life.
We may not realize it, but our bodies record events not primarily through thought and meaning but rather through a myriad of sensate inputs. The visual experience of colorized objects or a particular quality of light, the warmth or coolness of the body’s temperature, a visceral feeling of raw emotions, a shortness or depth of breath, an awareness of sounds, something moving far or near, a certain scent carried in the air--these all together capture the essence of any given moment.
All of these specific sensory pathways take in a sensate aspect of your experience and send this raw information directly into the nervous system and brain for interpretation. The body knows the story in a more immediate way than the mind ever can…and sometimes the body remembers what the mind wants to forget.
This is why, sometimes years after leaving a toxic partner, you may still be stuck in “survival” and experiencing aftermath symptoms like intrusive thoughts, anxiety or depression, panic attacks, insomnia or health issues like fibromyalgia, substance abuse, heart disease or cancer.
To truly recover from trauma, the body’s story must be given equal importance to the cognitive one pouring through our lips.