Anniversary Trauma, is it really a thing?

I’ve been having anxiety somethin fierce since late October. Worst I’ve had in a long long while. The anxiety always feels like it comes out of nowhere. But, once it’s arrived, the feeling is so familiar, like it’s been with me all along.

Every night, like clockwork, about 40 minutes before I’d start thinking about bed my heart would start pounding. Not fast, just hard. I’d sit there on the couch hoping it wasn’t really happening which I think made it worse. Then when I actually got into bed and lay down, I would feel this crushing weight on my chest. A heaviness. Next would come this paralyzing fear that my heart would stop beating. I know that sounds insane but I have such a low resting heart rate. I would literally keep myself up by worrying between beats. 🙄




Sometimes, this feeling of distrust of my body would bleed over to my breathing. Almost as if I didn’t consciously focus on my breath, I may not take one. As I said, ridiculous.

So, I laid there searching my brain as to why it was happening and why I felt the way I did. I ditched caffeine by forgoing my daily coffee, I stopped drinking booze, (I’m going on 33 days), I upped my meditation situation and then it dawned on me.

The body keeps the score. This is anniversary trauma.

It was late October 2013 when I found out I was pregnant that led to me being diagnosed with cancer (8 years ago a few weeks ago). You can read more about it here.




My body is remembering. Anniversary trauma is a thing. My body remembers the fear that surrounded all the thoughts and feelings I had 8 years ago while waiting to find out if I was sick.

At night I was being taken back to a time where all I did was lay there and wonder if I could trust my body to pull through.

For those that don’t know, anniversary trauma is the psychological and physiological reactions that occur as a result of approaching anniversaries or milestones which represent intense emotional experiences. It often happens for people who have experienced intense stress such as illness, injury, death of a loved one, divorce, etc.




The moment I realized what was actually happening, that my body was remembering, it was as if a giant weight was lifted. Not totally, but a lot. I was able to orient myself in the present and literally tell myself out loud that I’m safe and healthy. That my heart will beat again.

Healing trauma has more to do with welcoming the feelings of the body than healing the thoughts of the mind.

Also, I’m back drinking coffee because it’s so fucking delicious.

And if you’d like to read more about how trauma affects the body, I highly recommend the book, The Body Keeps The Score.