Virginia Mclntyre

virginia McIntyre cannot remember a time in her life when a Supreme Being, butterflies, and Vincent Van Gogh were not present in her life. A decorated veteran of the armed forces, researcher, celebrated educator in our public schools, professor in local community colleges, counselor, and artist; Virginia has strived to improve the quality of life for all people but especially our most vulnerable populations. Virginia is an award-winning lifelong artist and developer of high-risk urban children and youth programming. As ordained clergy in a service order that is inclusive of all paths to the God of All Names, Virginia leads holistic and spiritual workshops across the country. Virginia claims her life would have been drastically different if she wasn’t blessed with the instruction of meditation and breathwork practice upon her separation from the military.  She has been labeled a social activist, and community organizer, and has been in the streets and lobbyist for various social causes but above all for the equality of women and black, red, brown, and yellow people in our society. Ms. McIntyre earned a Master of Science Degree in Creativity and Change Leadership, a Bachelor of Science in Education with post-graduate studies in counseling, and credentials in trauma, ACE, mindfulness, CBT, DBT, and more.  

Virginia McIntyre

_______________________________________________

INVESTING IN OURSELVES: DEALING WITH TRAUMA

August 2022

Trauma can cause difficulties in functioning.  Trauma results when extraordinary shocking, distressful, and frightening situations and events dislodge our sense of feeling safe and cause us to endure feelings of helplessness. In other words, our worlds are shattered, and our normal coping strategies no longer work and uplift us.  Our disturbing memories replay repeatedly, and traumatized individuals suffer as they attempt to control these images and thoughts.  Effects can become evident in anxiety, startle responses, feeling numb, addiction, substance abuse, nightmares, feeling disconnected from others and severe trust issues towards other people, relationship concerns, knee-jerk violent reactions, and isolation. Our past experiences cannot be changed. However, we can heal from them and evolve into a new, yet altered, and often improved version of ourselves. Healing from trauma is possible.

Trauma may enter us through horrific, challenging experiences, and negative emotions. A troubling echo of an agonizing moment can plague us in what feels like an irreversible way. Witnessing, watching, hearing, and personal experiences can be traumatic. Trauma is not based on individual subjective emotions tied to an event, but on the intensity of negative emotions swirling around and felt by the person who endured the experience. We are all unique creations; thus, identical experiences can have different effects on different people. The depth of trauma may be at one level for you, but not for everyone.

We all identify accidents, injuries, violent attacks, partner violence, medical surgeries, rape, natural disasters, combat in war, emotional and physical abuse as well as living in a high-crime community where enduring threats are continuous or life-threatening illnesses as causes of trauma. Other causes of trauma are not readily recognized in our society. When a loved one passes on, we can be traumatized. Relationships ending that we have invested much into can be trauma-inducing. Enduring humiliation, deliberate cruelty, and severe disappointing experiences are also sources of trauma. Nor do we have to have a front-row seat to trauma to be adversely impacted by it. Exposure to massacres, and childhood abuse including those falling under the umbrella of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), terrorist attacks, airplane crashes, and other new channels of exposure to people being harmed on social media, our phones, and our TVs can tax our nervous systems. 

While healing ignites when an individual accepts what has happened and ventures to recover, regaining a sense of safety may take weeks or years. Healing from trauma is not a cookie-cutter adventure. Investing in healing modalities that feel right will bring an individual to a better place after enduring trauma.  After all, we are all indeed limitless!  I suggest we all invest in ourselves and practice self-awareness and self-care. The sky is the limit! Please read the next edition for some tried and true strategies and tools to try out when healing from any type of traumatic event.