We went for a fun family day the other day and it reminded me how much trauma affects the brain. It also reminded me that healing has no time frame and is a constant flow, like the current in an ocean, moving in and out.
For many children from hard places, fun triggers a fear reaction. I know for us here, it is easier to understand a fear reaction (a fight, flight or freeze reaction) from our daughter during times of stress, such as medical appointments, a new school year, etc. However it is much harder when it occurs after a fun family event, such as a trip to a water park or a party, especially when she was having true fun and showing true laughter. But truth is for many children who had a tough start without a secure adult attachment figure, fun triggers fear. This is because the fun area and the fear area of the brains touch and often when a child has fun, the electrical synapses kick off the fear area.
We were reminded of this the fun fear factor, and it honestly caught us unexpected, as we have had some fun days without the fear kicking in. But healing does not follow a specific time frame or a pattern, so just like the ocean there could be forward moving waves then a backward current too. It is tough to be pulled back and find ourselves in the deep, dark ocean after enjoying the sun for a stretch. Yet I know we will end up on the sunny shore again soon. And unlike the ocean, foward progress and movement is always the end result, with us ending up a little further onto the beach each time.