What happens when a person is pushed past the breaking point? Why do some people experience age regression? What is Level 3 Trauma? Join Sadhu Dah in this article as he breaks down the complexities of severe trauma and a way through it to begin laying the foundation for recovery.
Far off castles of the mind dot the landscape, each one a prison for the memory trapped inside, the self held captive by a familiar villain whose name escapes the tongue. This is the wasteland of fractured psyche. It calls out for help, but the conscious mind doesn't hear their collective calls, instead it's met with crippling anxiety and heavy trodden depression with footsteps that drag. Quiet screams and moments of frustration internally with no warranted need.
Have you been there? Felt this chaos and need to feel, to be whole?
Keep reading, I'm speaking to you and I have answers that will nourish the soul and bring balance back to the mind and body, but first we need to understand some things. Age Regression is when the ego identity switches to an alter type personality usually based on a younger age and can be tied to core traumas from that age, or even safety felt at that age before the present self became locked in a trauma personality. The locking state of a trauma personality is the culmination of unspent adrenal energy and looped memory of synaptic responses taking over the conscious and present self. If somebody had a one off traumatic episode that was heightened to the point where the body registered it as threat to survival it will engage a process to protect the mind from being overloaded which can look like the brain is fracturing, but is actually a dividing of mental energies to preserve function. It's similar to a computer shutting down and rebooting if it overheats rather than exploding. There's multiple levels to this, but the two main ones we will focus on are safety and stability of an untraumatized state with age regression, and present fractured state reverting to past fractured state. Simply put, both exhibit age regression and the major difference is one regresses to a traumatized younger version and one does not. Several disorders can have age regression as part of the symptoms, such as dissociative identity disorder, dementia, and schizophrenia to give a few examples, but for the purpose of this article we are mainly addressing age regression in the context of trauma. What is fascinating about age regression in trauma circumstances is the original ego identity is not lost and has simply regressed to a younger age, this differs from psychosis and delusional states of adopted personalities that may be animal like in nature, or even an entirely separate and fictitious persona.
An individual will begin to regress back to a core trauma age personality in relation to a new trauma (related or unrelated to origin trauma personality), or they mentally become reflected to a regressed state by a trigger. This age trauma personality becomes a place for the conscious mind to travel so that it can try and work out the coding of the trauma to free the body and mind of further compounded trauma. This often becomes a terrifying experience for most and the trauma regressed personality is usually not mentally mature enough to handle this subconscious recoding on its own without outside assistance. It becomes a locked state till the body enters the parasympathetic response after burning through the adrenal chemicals.
The adrenal response usually engages in a cycle of "Flight Response", present age runs to past age. Then it may either enter "Fight Response" and try to use both personality ages to end the adrenal dump, and the body will have an abreaction that the younger age will express from the older age, or it will enter "Freeze Response". With the Freeze Response both age personalities will merge and a dominant one will not take over, verbal responses may not be capable and the individual will most likely use body language to try and express because they feel frozen on the inside. The "Fawn Response" will see the present age submit to the younger age and be held hostage until the emotional charge is spent. The younger self will present as either aggressive, dismissive, or uncooperative as it does not know exactly what it wants and the way it would like to express because the present age is giving no direction and being passive to a more immature version of the mind.
"What do we do if we experience age regression?" We need to make the body feel safe to express and receive, we also need to adopt an internal paternal response to the regressed self. After all, you are still present and conscious even when in an age regressed state and though it is helpful to have professional assistance, we may not always have access to that if we regress.
Level 2 Trauma Patterns occur from the following:
" Chronic Conditions" that usually have comorbidities of the above listed are what factor into Level 3 Trauma Patterns mainly in part to the combination and extended exposure of trauma which becomes part of "core control", such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion. This core control element is what tells the body instinctively to release cortisol and induce panic attacks in a rhythmic fashion. The body becomes destructive to itself and the trauma patterns take on the same approach as cancer spreading and replicating in the cells.
These trauma patterns are deep grooves in the psyche, subconscious programs that were encoded and reinforced to the neurology over an extended period of time. It will take time and extensive work to reformat these subconscious programs.
Rather than give a more complicated explanation of the varying levels of trauma, I thought it would be helpful to give an analogy for better understanding. When no trauma is present we have an open and empty body where all the wheels and gears are turning. When we introduce a Level 1 Trauma we get a balloon that floats about here and there getting kicked about by gears and wheels until it pops and the gas is released and then processed out the body naturally in due time.
With a Level 2 Trauma this balloon becomes a little more resilient and stickier, it clogs up and gets stuck in the wheels and they have a harder time turning. It might also pinch gears and cause them to stick and not function properly. Generally outside assistance will be needed and an engineer will help dislodge the balloon and it takes a little bit of time to reset the internal components and get everything back to normal.
In a Level 3 Trauma you have a spiky balloon with dense filling and it drags about and knocks gears off track and takes wheels out of alignment. It breaks down the whole mechanical system and it just lingers in place taking up space, growing more dense with time and displacing all the internal components. A specialized engineer needs to come in and fix some of these tracks and realign things while also removing the balloon as if it were a bomb. This takes a tremendous amount of skill and coordination.
Come Back Home Technique
When experiencing dissociative episodes and age regression, the first thing we need to do is shock the physical body to regain control with the rate of venting in the adrenal response so that it doesn't become to much for us to handle. We shock the body by taking a cold shower for at least 30 seconds or splashing cold water on the face. The next step is giving safety to the emotional body. We achieve this by consciously commanding love and security in a paternal way and telling the younger version of ourselves that it is ok to let go and safe to come home. Visualize the younger version in your mind's eye and physically extend the arms and slowly wrap them around the envisioned younger self till you are physically embracing your body in a hug. The final step is ensuring energetic safety and integrating that past self with the current self and disrupting the emotional charge. We want to engage our parasympathetic response. Think of your favorite color, now ask your younger self its favorite color. Together you will breathe in and out for a count of 20 breaths, releasing tension in the body on the exhale and sending the colors you are breathing with your younger self and present self to the heart. Envision with each breath that you wrap that younger version in both colors. Welcome back, you! Remain in the present moment with the world as it is, experience, feel, live, be here. If you need help laying the foundation for a healthier and more whole version of yourself, please don't hesitate to contact Sadhu Dah for assistance and book a session so that we can work together to get you where you'd like to be.