Trauma-healing threads :: nervous-system regulating garments

photo  by Darren Smith

Trauma-healing threads :: nervous-system regulating garments

Our attire can be a soothing second skin that helps us nourish our nervous system via : warmth, compression, weight, texture, bilateral motion, modulating sensory stimulation, space for deep belly breaths, breathability for skin, & supporting a sense of safety.

While capitalism encourages us to procure items designed for nervous system regulation such as weighted vests // blankets + compression clothing, to be eco-responsible we can also create the same effects by layering or altering the items we already own {eg. adding a heavy liner to a favorite jacket}.

We can sew textured pockets + patches onto beloved garb to create a diverse sensory diet & we can even fill our new pouches with ancient fidget toys such as worry stones or gifts to lubricate social interactions and thus reduce social anxiety. Alterations can also create safety, for example in my SA trauma healing process, I created hidden interior pockets to hold my phone & practiced dialing 911 unseen from within my clothing by touch.

We can provide ourselves with avenues for titrating // reducing sensory input through hoods, scarves, or hats, modulating the level of stimulation based on our surroundings.

This handmade piece is called the BodyBow { after BrainBow hat…welcoming new naming suggestions!? }. The woolen warmth, compression of contour cocooning design, & empathetic engaged energy elicited from those beholding the BodyBow – all serve to regulate into rapture, revelious raiments attracting additional adventurous atelier aliens.

How do you regulate your nervous system with your clothing?


 by Darren Smith while in the midst of speaker worshipping Robot Heart ‘s #funktionone system

#burningman #burningmanfestival#burningmanstyle #burningman2021  #burner #burningmanfashion #burningmancostume #burningmanhat #burningmanphotography #burningmanart #knittersofinstagram #knitted #handmadewardrobe #handmadefashion #handmadestyle #handmadeartist #handmadeart #futurefashion #slowfashion #slowfashionmovement #ootd #ootdfashion #psychedelicfashion #psychedelicartist #psychedelicart #psychedelicartwork #psychedelicclothing #fabricart #ooak

Integration Incarnate : Dress to Access : Adornment as Amplifier

Integration Incarnate : Dress to Access : Adornment as Amplifier

Beyond accompanying you in underground spaces of soul-sprouting as a guardian angel, the bulk of my therapeutic support work involves weaving the wisdom you discover into material metaphors that serve as embodied engagement // physical reminders of your insights : Integration Incarnate..To guide you in identifying your own motivational mythology, I inquire as to what colors, sensations, textures, or movements represent realizations. Then, alongside you as a stitch witch, we craft costume, somatic sigils {movement metaphors}, & environmental empowerment to engage change..I encourage you to imbue jewelry, clothing, & other easily worn objects as embodied echoes of empowering experiences or ‘power pieces’ to be worn on occasions that have a higher likelihood of being triggering // challenging..
Dress as a Work in Progress : Adornment can be Aspirational

Consider the characteristics you wish to step into – what wardrobe evokes this embodiment for you?

Do you wish to feel grounded ? Choose a heavy coat that provides weight + compression for nervous system regulation.

Do you wish to feel protected ? Choose adornment armor – such as layers or a large protruding ring.

I dress to express + coalesce community :

This handmade BrainBow is my soul in hat form. Although abnormal adornment can be vulnerable, a community has coalesced around this chapeau – friendships formed + flourished due to the inspiration the BrainBow creates. The purmissionary nature of the BrainBow supports my intention to find playtonic playmates for my shy inner child. 

📸 @dsmithstudio


Renegade burn 2021

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How your subconscious will sabotage your growth if you have unresolved trauma

photo Stefanie Atkinson Schwartz of X in Tashka Design by Natasha Sheveleva

How your subconscious sabotages growth if you have unresolved trauma ::

when being seen // taking up space is unsafe // ‘scary attention’.

AKA :: Research-backed, psychologically-supported trauma informed habit // personality change

For those of us with abuse and trauma in our histories, past protective impulses can derail our growth paths in an attempt to keep us small and safe. For example, in aiding a patient who is wishing to enact changes in their personality who has a childhood trauma history, they recalled getting small and hiding parts of themselves because they did not want to be preyed upon. This patient was experiencing what they thought were ‘irrational’ hesitations // self-sabotage of desired positive growth changes due to fear from the traumatized part of themselves not wishing to risk being seen because ‘being noticed can bring scary attention’.

Holding yourself back due to fear can also occur if you do not have a history of childhood abuse, especially if you are acculturated as female due to pervasive victim blaming culture. You are likely aware of the shame refrain of someone ‘asking for it’ due to their clothing or sensual // embodied personality. Thus, you will blame your behavior on your actions instead of the perpetration.

When attempting to break free of victim blaming // rape culture, reflect that if there were not for the harmful actions, there would be no harm done to those in any type of clothing or its absence.

Keep in mind that these protective impulses arise from an involuntary and well-intentioned past pattern, for when you were young or your body decided that you were not going to be successful in a fight // flight response, your nervous system make the executive decision {outside of your conscious control} to put you into a fawn state to try to appease the more powerful being that was the source of your challenge or fear.

Ways to overcome a self-protective orientation towards fear of being seen // taking up space ::

1. Journal to examine your ‘stories’ around being seen // taking up space : what phrases were told by your caregivers about being seen // taking up space? What formative memories of being seen // taking up space did you experience or witness when you were young? What cultural tales or tropes illustrate this from your background {eg. ‘tall poppies get cut down’; ‘don’t stick your neck out’}?

2. Come up with succinct new phrases // encapsulations to repeat to yourself immediately after the old phrases spring up. Eg. ‘Reach for your sun’ from an movement metaphor of mine : ‘It is of service for me to reach for my sun, as trees do, and in such natural growth I can create an ecosystem for others to thrive beneath my branches.

3. Collect examples in your life of experiences in which your ‘taking up’ space or being seeing was for the greatest good // inspired others, or cautionary tales as to the converse. Write these in a place where you can reference them regularly or when in a moment of doubt.

4. Create a healing team // co-evolutionary community around yourself who holds you to your new intentions. The aid in having an accountabilibuddy cannot be overstated, even if it is just a friend and not professional support.

{This hand-on support, specialized knowledge, and accountability is a large part of why you might choose to hire a specialist // professional accountability force such as a personal trainer, coach, or therapist, so that you have an external person to answer to in holding yourself to your intention}.

{ BONUS : you can replace [ being seen // taking up ] space with any ingrained habit // character change you are trying to adjust, as these techniques will work for most of the deep changes that are hardest to make}

I am so grateful and proud to see the rapid and cathartic changes made in my patients by translating complex psychological studies // concepts into researched-backed behavior change techniques and I want to continue to share these learnings if helpful to you!

Please comment if you would appreciate experiencing this material as a course {have a lot more material // techniques then I shared here} and any thorny challenges you have experienced with habit change you are seeking support with!

Grateful to be the wind beneath your wings as a supportive upward spiral // co-evolutionary current.

facebook post for additional discussion

Flee from traumatizing social conventions


📸Stefanie Atkinson Schwartz of X in Tashka Design

Don’t just walk, run from noxious stimuli ::

Permission for freedom in flight ::

How holding back our involuntary nervous system impulses calcifies // freezes trauma in the body.

We are humanimals {= human + animals}, and as animals, evolution has preserved behaviors within our involuntary nervous system patterns that have enabled us to survive, such as the alarm responses of : fight // flight // freeze // fawn // faint. These responses only get transformed into trauma when we suppress their full expression or do not reset our nervous systems after allowing the reaction..

Non-humanimals shake after activation responses {watch a dog, cat, deer, etc, after it has been reprimanded or startled}.

Unfortunately, our repressive humanimal culture does not welcome these ‘bizarre behaviors’ // weave the wisdom of how to regulate our nervous systems into our social web, hence the need for healers such as myself.

Among other hands on interventions with my patient yesterday, the piece that was most impactful was giving them PERMISSION TO RUN.

Although it is not a common social script to allow your body to flee a noxious stimulus and may be seen as ‘eccentric’ {when what is actually strange is clamping down on the natural response}, I invite you to allow yourself to create space from anything that is causing you to have a ‘flee’ response by activating your large muscles groups through running, biking, or otherwise propelling yourself through space ‘away from the danger’, as close to the activation // awareness that you have adrenaline // cortisol // sympathetic nervous system reactions flowing through your body.

I believe giving each other the grace of space would go a long was in preventing violence by navigating a cornered // trapped fight response into the less harmful flight response.

Here is your permission slip to buck trauma-generating norms, from an extensively therapeutically trained, nervous system nerd :


Facebook link for additional discussion and comments :

Excessive Empathy // Fawning as Trauma Response

photo by Marcela Coors

Excessive Empathy // Fawning as Trauma Response

‘You are prioritizing safety to others to the point that you become dangerous to yourself’.

I found myself saying to an overly-compassionate client describing classic fawning behavior.

As I finalize ‘Guide for Guides : Ethical Psychedelic Spaceholding’ the realization I came to post-graduate school for therapy returns – most are unaware that beyond fight or flight there are additional trauma responses that include freezing & fawning / appeasing.

Fawning involves hyper vigilance in scanning for the socioemotional cues of those around you & prioritizing taking care of the needs of others over yourself.

Although in small doses this can be seen as pro-social empathy / compassion, when this behavior interferes with your capacity for self-care, it could be due to an involuntary survival response.

When caretaking others becomes a compulsive response to create safety in your environment as a prerequisite for your internal safety or ability to care for yourself, it is often due to childhood trauma in which a primary caregiver required care from you as a child, or a setting in which it was unsafe / judged for you to express your needs.

Our current culture does not acknowledge the more ‘social’ trauma response of fawning, and those of us acculturated as female are particularly steered towards fawning as encouraged behavior.

Pulling upon my studies and client experience with those who have a primary orientation towards fawning as their trauma response, I will share my reliable recommendations for how to create sovereignty from fawning. These insights will also be helpful to create social spaciousness for those who describe themselves as over empathetic or hypersensitive.

Facebook post link for additional comments // discussion :