How I Got Through A Huge Healing/Trauma Response


Last week, I attended three days of an online business retreat that I thought, at the time, was fantastic.

I experienced transformation. I got ideas. I connected with people.

And it threw me into a massive 4-day healing response.

It was, apparently, too much, too fast.

The next day after the retreat, I was the usual Sunday tired.

On Monday, however, I was in pain. More stress hit when I had to drive my husband to a dental appointment in the teeming rain, where I couldn’t see in front of me and I was flanked by trucks also navigating construction barrels on the two highways I traversed.

Tuesday the pain got worse. It seemed to move all around my body. (I learned from a trauma expert that this can be a sign of trauma—trapped energy stored in the body.) I slept poorly that night.

Wednesday I could barely move, I was so tired and in pain. I rescheduled a client appointment–something I think I’ve only done two or three times in the past 13 years of coaching. (I’m nothing if not dependable!)

That day I dragged myself out of bed to meet with my therapist. I told her I think I was in a “dorsal vagal nervous system state.”

She agreed. She said it seemed like the retreat was too much for me. I was aware at the time that being 6 hours on Zoom for three days, taking in LOTS of information and emotional stimuli, not to mention the visual stimulation of the Chat screens whizzing by, overwhelmed my sensitive nervous system. On top of all the extra stimuli I naturally take in as a Highly Sensitive Person, I have to also deeply process it all if I’m not to get overloaded. The final load was the drive to and from the dentist on Monday.

The therapist told me something interesting: that if we have trauma in our background, and we go through an intense experience like my retreat (with someone who is not trauma-informed), or prolonged stress activation where we don’t have enough time to process everything and/or recover through “tend and befriend” (activating our ventral nervous system), there are consequences.

It can activate all kinds of wounded and unhealed “parts” of us, and the stress is manifested in physical symptoms, such as exhaustion, fatigue, exacerbation of chronic illnesses like IBS. (Check, check, and check!) In my case, a chronic cough that sparked headaches and all sorts of pain came up big time. (I used to call the cough my Stress-o-meter.)

I also think that, because I had been processing a lot of trauma and am also living in a chronically stress-inducing environment, part of it was that I was detoxing at too fast a rate. My cells were opening up (thanks to the Halo and my own therapies), but my body couldn’t quite keep up with removing the toxins that were released.

However, once I knew what was happening, I knew what I could do to help it along.

In addition to my usual healing practices (Healing Codes and the other processes I’ve developed), I added a somatic exercise I learned from Dr. Elizabeth Stanley’s Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training. I took some Alkaseltzer Gold, which a fellow coach said helps with healing responses. Drank lots and lots of water. Used my tools (Halo, c.Balance Pain boost). And I got some physical release through “shaking” to this video music that a friend sent me that very day. (To complete the stress cycle, we often need to release it physically.)

It all helped a lot.

In fact, I have to give a shout-out for the c.Balance/Holos. I started turning a corner when I activated the Revitalize Boost. Also, one night I woke up and had a splitting headache. I was too tired to get up and find some pain medication. I pressed the button on the Pain Boost and within a minute or less, the pain went away—and didn’t come back that night! I rely on that Pain Boost a lot when I get those sudden headaches, which have been exacerbated lately.

I know I’m not out of the woods yet. I need to be very careful of overloading my sensitive nervous system. I have to say no to a lot of things that attract me, simply because it’s “too much” right now.

I reminded myself I’m in a season of “subtraction” and “letting go,” so another thing I did was go through a couple of old files and tossed the information I had kept for “someday.” All it was doing was making me anxious that I wasn’t finding time to learn the stuff. “Let it go, Diane! Be present to NOW!”

Perhaps these suggestions and links will be beneficial to you. We live in a fast-paced society, and some of us have a thirst for knowledge and information. I’m learning that, hard as it is, I have to say no to a lot of good things to say yes to what is best for me, right now.

What helps too is being clear about what my “divine design” is. I know what my “energized abilities” are—those ways I naturally express my true self in the world.

Even then, though, when expressing, I found I can give too much. Less is often more.

I’m trying to learn that lesson. My nervous system is cheering me on.

If you would like to explore what your “energized abilities” might be, and Align with Your Divine DesignTM, I invite you to go here and fill out a Clarity Questionnaire. It now includes a coaching suggestion that, if you implement it, will immediately put you on the path of healing and transformation. The document explains how. (If you have already filled one out, please email me so I can send you this additional assignment.)

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