What song of trauma might be being replayed in your nervous system?

3 min readMar 10, 2021


Wow, I need to get the hell out of here, right now.

Trauma is not what happens to us, but what happens inside of us.

Whatever event went down, whatever thing turned out to be too much, too soon and too fast, it was just the trigger.

Vanderkolk, the foremost physician on the subject, writes that trauma is the imprint that event left on our mind, brain and body.

The thing is, the part of our brain that is devoted to ensuring our survival, deep below our rational brain, is not very good at denial. After long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the slightest hint of danger, mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive amounts of stress hormones, which precipitate unpleasant emotions, intense physical sensations and impulsive and aggressive actions.

Even if it’s been months or years after the original experience.

If you ever found yourself suddenly and massively depressed, hyper aroused, manic or panicked, this might sound familiar. It’s likely that you were experiencing some kind of echo from a previous trauma. Happens to people all the time.

In the first world war, back when we gave it names like shell shock, soldier’s heart, combat fatigue, gross stress reaction and war neurosis, psychologists reported that many veterans had a worsening of their post traumatic stress symptoms much later in life, often being triggered by major life changes like losing their job or a family member.

Apparently, that’s how our brains work. Every loss triggers the pool of grief.

One memorable panic attack of my own comes to mind. A writer friend was conducting a seminar nearby my office, so she invited me to hang out in the back and watch. Sounded good to me.

Within five minutes of her presentation beginning, the room started caving in. Fear soaked my back, my heart was racing like mad and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. \

Wow, I need to get the hell out of here, right now.

By the time I was out the door and halfway down the block, it occurred to me that the previous trauma of my workaholism as a public speaker had been reactivated. Even years later when my career as an employee the corporate world was well underway, the imprint that those ten entrepreneurial years left on my mind and brain and body was still there.

Like a match waiting for a spark.

Some evolutionary survival mechanism inside told me, alert, you are not safe here, run, run, run.

Lesson learned, the body doesn’t forget, even if we do. We’re never out of the woods completely. Just because we have some physical distance from our trauma, doesn’t mean it’s entirely resolved.

The Eagles sang about the greatest hotel in rock and roll history:

You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.

Some debate that the lyric was a reference to a satanic cult, some say it was a callout to drug addiction, some claim it was a shout out to the negative effect of financial regulations on investment, and others believe it depicts leaving a service provider or social media network.

My opinion is, he’s singing about trauma. We all have our own version of it. And though we may be able to reclaim ourselves back from our own shell shocked experience, there will always be a part of us, however small, trapped there.

What song of trauma might be being replayed in your nervous system?




Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. CEO/Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.