Tag Archives: decisions

Thoughtful Thursday #221 – Flashbacks

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I have had two strong flashbacks that has kicked my complex trauma response into high gear. That’s the thing with C-PTSD flashbacks, it places me in two worlds. The world of the past and the present.

Flashbacks are important in trauma recovery but not at all easy to process. Flashbacks are a necessary part of healing. You can’t heal if you don’t feel.

At this time there is a part of me that feels it’s safe enough to allow a repressed memory to surface. I am thankful for that. Doing this kind of work and the willingness to feel the feelings of the past uncovers underlying traumatic emotions.

Once the repressed feelings come to the surface it is easier to make positive change, stay in the present moment and get happy again.

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Dissociative Amnesia

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Here are bits and pieces of an article about Dissociative Amnesia from the blog: TraumaDissociation.com.

 

3 Types of Dissociative Amnesia - localized, selective and generalized

 

Dissociative Amnesia Dissociative amnesia is the most common Dissociative Disorder. There are several different types of amnesia, and many different causes. Dissociative Amnesia is not caused by head injuries or physical damage to the brain, it is amnesia which has a psychological cause. It can occur as part of a number of other mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, somatoform disorder, and anxiety disorders, [3]:298, [7] in any of those cases it would not be classed as a separate disorder. Dissociation Amnesia can last for between a few days to a few years, but is typically less than a week.[4] The period of time which cannot be remembered can range from minutes to decades. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

Because there is no neurobiological damage or toxicity, and the difficulties are in retrieving a memory which was successfully stored, the amnesia is always “potentially reversible”. [3]:298-299, [7] Neurocognitive disorders involving memory loss usually include cognitive (thinking) and intellectual impairments in memory, these are not present in people Dissociative Amnesia. [3]:300-301 Dissociative amnesia is more likely in people with a history of multiple adverse childhood experiences (especially if they include physical or sexual abuse), people who have experienced interpersonal violence (for example, domestic violence or physical assaults), and the risk increases with the “severity, frequency, and violence of the trauma”. [3]:298-299 Clinical interviews to diagnose Dissociative Amnesia include the SCID-D (revised) by Dr Marlene Steinberg, and the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS). Both of these are capable of diagnosing any dissociative disorder and a number of other disorders as well. [1]:124 Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

The three common types of dissociative amnesia are localized amnesia, selective amnesia (which may occur along with localized amnesia), and generalized amnesia. Generalized amnesia may involve the complete loss of a person’s identity, in addition to all memories of their past. Other forms of dissociative amnesia can also occur; people with generalized amnesia (the most severe type) may also lose semantic knowledge (previous knowledge about the world) and procedural knowledge (forgetting well-learned skills). [3]:298-299 Systematized amnesia is amnesia for a category of information (e.g., no memory of family, no memory of a specific person, or childhood sexual abuse). Continuous amnesia is unable to form new memories. [3]:298-299 Micro-amnesias are also typical in dissociative disorders, the amnesia is for very, very brief periods of time. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation gives the example of forgetting the contents of a conversation from one moment to the next. The person may struggle to work out what was discussed while trying to avoid the other person realizing this. [7] Dissociative Amnesia has been previously known as Psychogenic Amnesia, and Hysterical Amnesia. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

Dissociative amnesia occurring with fugue should be treated as soon as possible; psychotherapy is the recommended treatment. This should involve a safe environment for therapy and a strong therapeutic alliance. Treatment goals include the recovery of the person’s identity, identifying the triggers linked to the start of the fugue, and working through the traumatic material. Medication given during interviews, and hypnosis may be also help.[7] Recovery is often rapid. [8] When memories begin to return a person often experiences emotions such as grief, rage, shame, guilt, depression and inner turmoil. Many people with Dissociative Amnesia develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at some point in their lives. [3]:302 Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

Crying

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We cry in response to emotions like sadness, anger, grief,  frustration,  even happiness and joy.

There’s wailing, weeping, blubbering, lamenting, whimpering, all out bawling to the point of throwing up.

I have a hard time crying in front of others, however, in private I can really let it out. After crying I feel exhausted yet empty.

There is a soothing effect to crying, and can elicit support from others, relieve stress, restore emotional balance, and helps recover from grief.

No matter what you have heard or what you believe about crying: it’s perfectly OK to cry for as long as you want in any way that you want and you will not fall apart, you are not weak or defective.

I guarantee that even if the problem that causes you to cry persists, crying when you need it, will restore your balance.

Take that moment you need to deeply feel what is causing you to cry. You deserve to be relieved of pain.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #215 – Is This My Last Post – Not Really

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The month of May has been Mental Health Awareness month here in the USA. When the month began I decided to write a post every day for that purpose. Today is the last day of May 2018.  I enjoyed writing so much that I will keep up the posts, perhaps not on a daily basis but certainly more than once a week.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the information I shared and my personal experiences.

It is my deep wish for every one of you to find the healing you need for all your troubles. I know how hard it is sometimes to understand this uncertain world and I am so proud of all who read this blog, you have taken on one of the most important journeys of your life –  the journey of self-discovery.

Keep up the good work and thanks for hanging in there with me and my journey.

I look forward in continuing writing for you.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday #214 – Abandonment Continued

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Susan Anderson’s book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing is a wealth of information about the devastating effects of abandonment and that real miraculous recovery that is possible.

I am paraphrasing the five stages of abandonment.

  1. Shattering-devastating pain and hitting bottom.
  2. Withdrawal-the intense craving for the love you had.
  3. Internalizing-beating up on your self esteem.
  4. Rage-fighting back by expressing your rage and anger.
  5. Lifting-your life gets back on track.

These are not linear steps but as the author states they are stages that are circular, like a cyclone. We go through each stage at one time or together. It may take days, weeks, months or years to resolve but worth the effort.

Abandonment is one of the worst betrayals a person can experience. Recovery is more than possible, with some self care and self compassion you will come out on the other side changed, wiser and more resilient.

Read Susan Anderson’s book and be amazed at how recover from abandonment is possible.

It Makes Sense We Sabotage Ourselves and Why It’s OK.

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Self sabotage comes in many forms.

We can become hyper aware because we have been dealing with unreliable people for a long time and we expect things to go wrong.

We can get in the habit of not making commitments because those we trusted thwarted all that we loved.

We may want to be unseen because any attention means possible abuse.

We may people please to keep us safe at the expense of our own needs.

We may want to control everything just to feel safe enough to exist.

There are many more ways to self sabotage but the reason why we do that is because there are unresolved issues just under the surface of our awareness and our self sabotage keeps us distracted enough not to feel those feelings.

Self sabotage is a coping method and that is OK until you are in a place to look at those feelings and release them.

It’s not easy but with some kindness and compassion for yourself you will gradually let go of self sabotaging behavior.

Betrayal

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One of the worst experiences one can have is to be betrayed. What is betrayal? It’s disloyalty, stabbed in the back, unfaithful, double crossed, tricked, given false information, or no information, misled, abandoned, let down, and deserted. You get the idea.

It’s that crushing feeling of shock, disbelief, anger, shame, and you want retribution and fight hard against denial of the betrayal because it hurts so much.

This is no easy feeling to deal with, it may take some time to process what is going on. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Have some detachment.
  2. Talk it out with a trusted friend.
  3. Feel the emptiness and grieve.
  4. Don’t act out irrationally.
  5. Make a recovery plan.
  6. Be really good to yourself.

The key to healing betrayal is to be self-aware and really good to yourself. Know that it is only a matter of time before you feel better.

Abandonment

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Here’s a list of what abandonment is from Susan Anderson’s book “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing” Pages 5 and 6. Susan Anderson has a blog with tons of information on the serious subject of “Abandonment”.

What is abandonment?

A feeling

A feeling of isolation within a relationship

An intense feeling of devastation when a relationship ends.

A primal fear – the raw element that makes going through heartbreak, divorce, separation or bereavement cut so deep

An aloneness not by choice

An experience from childhood

A baby left on a doorstep

A divorce

A woman left by her husband of twenty years for another woman

A man being left by his fiancée for some “more successful”

A mother leaving her children

A father leaving his children

A friend feeling deserted by a friend

A child whose pet dies

A little girl grieving over the death of her mother

A little boy wanting his mommy to come pick him up from nursery school

A child who feels replaced by the birth of another sibling

A child feeling restless because of his parents emotional unavailability

A boy realizing that he is gay and anticipating the reaction of his parents

A teenager feeling that her heart is actually broken

A teenage boy afraid to approach the girl he loves

A woman who has raised now grown children feeling empty as if she has been deserted

A child stricken with a serious illness watching his friends play while he must use a wheelchair or remain in bed

A woman who has lost her job and with it her professional identity, financial security and status

A man who has been put out to pasture by his company as if he is obsolete

A dying woman who fears being abandoned by loved one as much as or more that she fears pain and death

Abandonment is all of this and more. It’s wound is at the heart of human experience.

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You could add to the list but I think you get the message, the important thing here is to name what the feeling is.

Abandonment is so very painful, it is a feeling we have all experienced at one time or another. There is a PTSD component to abandonment which leaves it victims with shame, low self-esteem, and fear just to name a few of abandonment influences.

There is hope for survival and recovery, it will not be easy, you will have to do the important work of reaching deep within yourself and uncover the pain that is just below the surface of your awareness. Most of the time this work is not done alone. Counseling, or writing or exercising, read books on the subject, mindfulness and finding some way of getting to  the trauma that abandonment left behind.

You have to help yourself just enough to lift you. You are worth the effort. Don’t give up.

Recovery and Resiliency

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If there is one thing wonderful about being human it’s the ability to change. When we experience trauma or other upsetting situations we can recover and bounce back and end up thriving. However, the journey is not an easy one. Even though there is no one path to healing there are some guiding principles to recovery.

  1. there are many pathways to recover.
  2. recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  3. recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  4. recovery has cultural dimensions.
  5. recovery is holistic.
  6. recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  7. recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  8. recovery involves a process of healing and self redefinition.
  9. recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  10. recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
  11. recovery is reality.

The idea here is to find your way to recover. There is no right or wrong way to recover and it is your journey with lots of helpers along the way. Don’t give up.

Helpful Resources

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org

Child Welfare Information Gateway http://www.childwelfare.gov

American Psychiatric Association Answer Center – 1-888-357-7924

American Psychological Association Public Education Line – 1-800-964-2000

 

This list is from Page 19 of Mental Health First Aid USA – for adults assisting young people. ISBN:  978-0-9885176-0-8.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #206 – Futility

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Futility=Pointlessness and uselessness.

We can recognize futility by an emptiness, hollowness, inside your body. Maybe an action seems meaningless. Sometimes on certain days we may even feel ineffective and worthless.

Wow, that really sounds painful. That is surely true, that is what futility does, makes you feel really hopeless. No one wants to feel that way.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully feeling futile lasts only for a short time. Here are a few suggestions to lighten you up.

  1. These feelings are not permanent.
  2. What is the message futility is telling you, maybe you are feeling suppressed.
  3. Get some rest.
  4. Take some alone time to get back into alignment.
  5. It’s OK to feel sad and frustrated.
  6. Get professional help if you need it.

The more we learn about how we feel the better our lives will be. Take good care of yourself first.