Trauma is like a tattoo that never fades. Imprinted into our very bodies. 

Trauma leaves a lasting impact on our immune system, autonomic nervous system, and our memory. This impact on memory can truly propel the sufferer back to the very moment of trauma. 

black and white photo of a young woman sitting on a bench with her head down showing emotional distress. The text on the image reads "Trauma is like a tattoo that never fades."

Where Does It Reside?

Trauma lives in the body. Traumatic memories often surface out of the blue while you’re at work, engaging with others, or at home and are just as distressing and consuming. They may be activated by an event or a scent it can be as if the sufferer is re-experiencing those traumatic events all over again. Becoming flooded with traumatic memories that remain like rot beneath the floorboards of a home. 

These activating events (a car backfiring, a child screaming, a fire burning, etc.) may seem mundane to an onlooker. Equally important, for these individuals, they have become real threats and dangers. They have been forced to re-experience real events that we cannot see. 

Trauma Anniversary 

Given what we just discussed about trauma and memory, trauma anniversaries can bring about an increase in distressing experiences. Research clearly demonstrates reminders and flashbacks from that experience may trigger memories. 

This way of your body reacting to the anniversary of traumatic events can lead to many distressing feelings and leave you hyper-aware of potential triggers/dangers. 

I encourage you to think about it like this; your body has kept hold of those traumatic memories in order to keep you safe from that danger. Those memories are a living reminder for your body to keep you protected from future similar threats. 

If you have experienced trauma symptoms and want to engage in trauma-informed care, please feel free to contact Dr. Kendal Vaarwerk. She will schedule a free and confidential consultation with her, after which, together, we can decide your preferred next steps. She looks forward to hearing from you!