Why trauma cheats you out of your own recovery?

So as I have been getting better, I’ve finally, mostly regained my ability to work 8 hours and even enjoy it (okay, that one depends on the day). So I have been leaving very little time for blogging, which wasn’t such a good idea. Suddenly, I feel overwhelmed and sad. I feel again constantly tired and busy, I get irritable. I often break and eat chips or sweet things- way too much of them. ..and then recently, I suddenly find out why. Or one of the reasons anyway.

As you can imagine, the combination of sitting all day for work(or laying in bed all day, either requires way too little movement), and eating junk food is probably not the best thing I can do for my body. So I start not fitting in my clothes, which gets me in an instant lower confidence. What am I doing to my life?

Anyway. Months of recovery and my own personal type of therapy have learned me something, and that something is that I’m getting out of it-out of depression, out of PTSD and out of my personal hell. I’ve learned that just because I have a low day- or few- doesn’t mean that I’ve screwed up everything.

So I keep trying. On the way of trying to cheer up between work, I pick up a women magazine- the UK Cosmopolitan Body Special 2012.

They have this article on dopamine (produced more if you exercise, “thrill” brain chemical ) and seratonin (“happy” brain chemical). So the lack of one of these can make you crave either salty/fat junk food, or sweet(chocolate induces seratonin production in the brain…but it’s processed fast, which makes you crave sugar again very fast). The imbalance of those in the brain can make you anything from bored to depressed or hopeless.

Now, here how it goes if you are going through trauma:

You’re depressed. – Something, potentially something you have never faced before, that seems impossible to overcome, is lurking in your life. You have tried to move past it, but for one reason or another, you haven’t. Instead, you are so depressed that you can’t remember why in a first place. 

You know that it’s good to exercise- everyone has heard that it’s good for stress levels and makes you happier- but you are so depressed that you can’t make yourself get outside even for a walk. Not enough sun, not enough exercise. Your body craves junk food. Your mind cheats you out of it with some lame excuse- when I was in the first weeks of my recovery, I thought that I’m craving chips because it’s the only thing I have control over. Why? Because, we are not wired to flourish and progress. We are wired to survive. The depression makes my mind lack enough brain power to eat normally- or mostly at all- I lack seratonin and dopamine, which makes me even more depressed…and my brain needs them, so it takes a shortcut to the option available….

…Which at time is cheating my mind into thinking I need more chips. Which gives you rush and then another low. I have chosen to work on recovery, but it certainly didn’t feel like a choice. I had to do a lot of stuff I resented, to may be get better. My other option was to just keep feeling worse and worse. Not much of an option. I didn’t have a lot of money for retail therapy, so…chips it was.

All the not-sleeping and throwing up had made me lack a lot of vitamins I presume, and all depressed from nightmares and no visible progress, I was sleeping more, exercising less and eating more junk food.

Now, feeling better, I ate somewhat better, but, no surprise there, every time I was feeling low I was jumping to chips and sweet things like my life depended on them.

There was a test in that article, which I took, that was supposed to tell you if you are low on dopamine, seratonin or both and if also, whether it’s more serious(more than 7 answers for one of the categories). I was apparently lacking both. Every second answer I gave was yes. Which would explain why am I still so moody.

Trauma isn’t like regular fears and diseases.  It has a very good way of twisting around every fact of your existence, and hitting harder what’s left in you.  

Actual wounds hurt you. Your brain is reeling in attempts to process everything. Your spirit can’t accept the emotional part of all this.

It hits you everywhere- body, mind, spirit.

And since they are all-encompassing and connected, depending on each other, if all of them take a hit, you get stuck. 

Now that I’m better, I’m determined not to let trauma rule my life. And since I finally have some energy to exercise or eat better, I shall do that. There was lists in that article, what to eat to help out your brain chemistry. It isn’t just that eating better will make you healthier, or lose weight- it quite literally will make you happier, whether you lose weight or not.

So I get it– if you are in that part of recovery where you can’t even imagine working out, or feeling better about yourself or your life, certainly don’t do anything more, concentrate on getting out of it. But once you are out of it, give your body fair chance to recover. Eat better. Exercise a little- even if it’s 30 min twice weekly. Don’t do it because you will get to some older age or something, if that seems too far. Do it because it will give you better brain chemistry and hormonal balance, and that leads to a happier you. And a happier you can surely manage problems better, even the serious ones.

That’s why people in love have less stress and are happier- love makes you happy(okay, in most cases)- and that produces more happy hormones. Better balance. Brighter mood.

But yes. I’m aware, we don’t choose when we fall in love. We can choose however, to have a little healthier lifestyle- it’s good all around for us.


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