The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Category: Medicine
Author: Bessel Van Der Kolk
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by HazyDreamLikeState   2019-07-21

You are likely researching the wrong thing. Rather than looking up depersonalization or derealization you should be looking up dissociative disorders or dissociation.

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The Body Keeps the Score is easy to understand and has a lot of good information including treatments.

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Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation is very jargon heavy but has a massive amount of information. The problem is that it is expensive and I've only read some of it from google previews. I spent several hours trying to pirate it and couldn't find it anywhere unfortunately.

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by napjerks   2019-07-21

From what you describe he doesn't just sound like a person with anger issues. He has no introspection or compassion for you.

> He tries to avoid having arguments in person. He waits until I leave for work or to go to my place to call me and discuss a problem he has. It can very quickly escalate to yelling, cussing, and being nasty (name calling, etc.).

This isn't just passive-aggressive. This is gaslighting. This doesn't allow you to manage your emotions at work. This is a sneak attack that undermines your ability to be calm and confident at your job. It's extremely abusive behavior because it's sabotage for your self confidence.

Bottom line, don't pick up the phone while you're a work. Don't listen to his voicemails. If he asks you why you don't answer, tell him if he wants to talk to you he can do it face to face.

Because you come from an abusive home you may have some PTSD or trauma that you could benefit from a therapist's help. Any psychologist will tell you this makes you vulnerable to people who act this way. Along with the other commenters here I would also advise you to break up with him. And see a therapist for a few months to help with identifying potentially abusive, manipulative partners and how you can heal. You've only been together three months. Breaking up hurts. But can you imagine what will happen to your self confidence after three years. Protect yourself. You deserve better.

by oilisfoodforcars   2019-07-21

You should check out this book it’s great.

by ohgeeztt   2019-07-21

Good books to look at is the body keeps the score by bessel van der kolk (I would start there), Tribe by Sebastian Junger and the Body Never Lies by Alice Miller

https://crazywisefilm.com/ - This isnt about PTSD specifically but more broadly about mental health. Very powerful and informative watch. (the documentary in utero is also good)

https://somethingtosayafterabusecom.com/ - good resource for healing from narcissistic abuse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P_Gj6Z9_LM- Gabor Mate is a great person to look into. He has several talks and books that on trauma that have really helped things click for me.

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madinamerica.com is a website that has a lot of great resources. It can seem "out there" but it offers unique lens to understand trauma and mental health.

MAPS might be running a study near you

Holotropic breathwork can be a low cost and effective healing modality.

by ohgeeztt   2019-07-21

Good books to look at is the body keeps the score by bessel van der kolk (I would start there), Tribe by Sebastian Junger and the Body Never Lies by Alice Miller

https://crazywisefilm.com/ - This isnt about PTSD specifically but more broadly about mental health. Very powerful and informative watch.

https://somethingtosayafterabusecom.com/ - good resource for healing from narcissistic abuse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P_Gj6Z9_LM- Gabor Mate is a great person to look into. He has several talks and books that on trauma that have really helped things click for me.

madinamerica.com is a website that has a lot of great resources. It can seem "out there" but it offers unique lens to understand trauma and mental health.

MAPS might be running a trial near you.

Holotropic breathwork can be a low cost and effective healing modality.

by ohgeeztt   2019-07-21

Good books to look at is the body keeps the score by bessel van der kolk (I would start there), Tribe by Sebastian Junger and the Body Never Lies by Alice Miller

https://crazywisefilm.com/ - This isnt about PTSD specifically but more broadly about mental health. Very powerful and informative watch. (the documentary in utero is also good)

https://somethingtosayafterabusecom.com/ - good resource for healing from narcissistic abuse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P_Gj6Z9_LM- Gabor Mate is a great person to look into. He has several talks and books that on trauma that have really helped things click for me.

madinamerica.com is a website that has a lot of great resources. It can seem "out there" but it offers unique lens to understand trauma and mental health.

​

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McxlMFWzYh8&index=133&list=WL - Brandy talks with Dr. Daniel Foor and discuss Ancestral work and his new book, "Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing."

MAPS might be running a study near you

Holotropic breathwork can be a low cost and effective healing modality.

by BigBlackThu   2019-07-21

My anecdotal story of why the UBC idea is a bad one:

My close friend from childhood, practically a brother to me, joins the Army. He goes to Iraq and Afghanistan. He sees some shit, he does some shit, in the name of the USA and its people and its politicians. After his last deployment but before he gets out, he's stationed in the same state as where I'm living at the time, so we meet up and go to a gun show. He's looking to get a 1911 and we find a Colt 1991 for a hundred dollars below usual (we found an actual deal at a gun show, wut).

Fast forward a few years. He's married, 1 kid, and we managed to both move to a different state and end up living 20 minutes away from each other. One evening his wife calls me and tells me I need to come over, now. I head on over. My buddy is clearly having a hard time. He's got tears in his eyes and tells me he has nightmares and PTSD and intrusive thoughts on a regular basis because he can't get over what he's done and seen. He gives me the 1911 and tells me that he's not able to have this safely in his house right now. It's the most embarrassed, humiliated, and vulnerable I've ever seen this guy. He was a stellar soldier. He broke his ankle in SF tryouts and it took 2 days on that before he quit. He doesn't show weakness, ever, and the only other times he's ever told me war stories he was a few beers in and crying. I take his gun and pray with him and head home.

A year later, the VA has actually helped him, he's found a psychiatrist who really helped him, and he tells me this book gave him hope and helped save his life. I give him back his gun, we're still friends, he's doing well today, and he has 2 hilarious kids.

Under this new UBC law, either I'm a felon, or my friend is dead. If I take his gun, I commit a felony, but maybe my friend lives. If I don't take his gun because that's illegal, he very possibly shoots himself, or his wife during one of his nightmares (he's been a sleepwalker since we were a kid on sleepovers. When I saw him shortly after his Iraq depoloyment, he tried to punch me in his sleep). There's no way he's transferring this gun to me at a gun store because it's taken everything he has to admit that he needs this to his closest friend in the privacy of his own home, he's definitely not going to do this in front of strangers.

When you talk about UBCs as if they are a good idea, you're ignoring situations like this. Remember, if it saves even one life...

by psyche77   2019-07-21

> the body keeps the score

To add to your important point:

van der Kolk:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Video

by Geovicsha   2019-07-21

Hey there. I hope my reply helps. There's no doubt a lot has been going on for you. And that's completely okay. Your experience could not have come about without a wealth of self insight and courage. Well done.

>I still suffer from what I used to. Loneliness devastates me on a daily basis.

You're a social animal. Meditation in of itself won't alleviate you of loneliness. Connection does.

What meditation can do in regards to loneliness is foster a new connection with yourself. And that new connection requires complete acceptance of what is going on without aversion.

A new connection with yourself often means accepting all the engrained schemas you've cultivated as a child. That means accepting all of the "negative" emotions. Symbolically, with self-compassion, this means being your inner parent to your inner child. Tara Brach dubs this "spiritual reparenting".

And, be careful of meditation not turning into introspection. In terms of the nature of the psyche, I like a Jungian paradigm. Introspection in certain moments are useful, especially in understanding your own mind. But when you go deep within, it is pointless and potentially harmful if you don't come back to the here and now.

Meditation, as you pointed out, isn't about doing better in this world. But it isn't necessary about eliminating facets of your psyche. This will unravel some deep pain. And without proper mindfulness, will cause a lot of resistance. And what you resist will surely persists.

If feeling up to it, it is also helpful to investigate loneliness. Loneliness can come from isolation, which can occur when meditation turns into introspection. But if you haven't fully accepted yourself with self-love, in all of your imperfections, connections will always have some degree of "filling a void". This may lead into and maladaptive attachments (see attachment theory), playing out unconscious scripts and trauma, addiction, depression, eating disorders, perfectionism/obsessive tendencies, self-criticism (like absorbing the overly critical parent), projection etc. You need to be love in order to receive it.

>I understand I'm not my thoughts. I'm not my compulsions, I'm not my desires. I'm not anything but what aknowledges everything to be what it is.

Nice insight.

>Or is it so?

Yes, but perhaps not fully.

>I'm so lost. All these thoughts and recurring feeling keep showing up. I aknowledge them, I stay with them, I avoid getting on my phone or the internet to distract myself from dealing with all these emotions, but it gets really intense the more I stay with them.

Well done. This is truly difficult. do not know your story, but the intensity of the darkest emotions is a part of the path. The Buddha talked about mindfulness being three components: presence, self-awareness, surrender. It is surrender that is the most difficult part. Without surrender, we return to the cycle of attachment and aversion.

So, the feeling is intense. Perhaps this is time to see a therapist. Or perhaps you can really be with it and see that the pain itself won't hurt you. Perhaps you can feel the pain in the body without superimposing concepts. Can you feel the nuance of the direct sensation? Where in the body is it? Does it feel really trapped? Perhaps since childhood? Were you allowed to cry as a child?

Our aversion is often to the idea that it is "bad". But only the thinking mind knows good and bad.

I submit to you that this pain you feel, ever more intensity, is your freedom.

>If I focus on what I feel, it gets worse. If i focus on my breath and just aknowledge that I feel a certain way and "let it go", everything just comes up again and again, until it seemingly just gets so intense that I feel like crying and crying...

Is crying bad? As someone who has dealt with a lot of "suppressed" emotions in the body, I was taught crying is bad. It is not. If you be with this pain completely, mindfulness and self-compassion, then crying is what you need.

It is an energy in your body. Releasing it via tears sounds lovely.

Also, if you are ready, check out The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

>I keep meditating, I practice love, I try to be kind. I understand that I cannot expect anything from the practice because that will lead to suffering, but suffering itself is what drives me to practice in the first place.

I think it is helpful to differentiate pain and suffering here. Pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. Painful emotions, shitty thoughts, and crappy life situations are an inherent part of our life. All of this is impermanent. We suffer when we desire: attaching onto the "good" and pushing away the "pain". In seeing this impermanence, the mind doesn't cling, and freedom is here.

>It doesn't matter how long I sit still, something doesn't quite feel right. I'm looking for something that can't be found. So why am I even looking for it? Looking for a peaceful mind in itself makes it not to be peaceful. Just good ol' duality doing it's thing.

Correct. The path is often described in a dualistic sense. But, yes, the not finding is the finding! Something doesn't feel quite right? Okay! Be with that completely. If you're resisting it, then you will suffer. Hell, if you catch yourself resisting the "quite right" feeling, embrace that. Self-compassion/acceptance is the antithesis of perfectionism. It will pass.

Wjen you look for the mind, you see nothing. Look through it, you see the world.

>I've read so many "spiritual books", watched probably thousands of videos of "gurus" and spiritual masters talking, and whatnot. I've become more and more skeptic along the years.

What are your favourites?

>It feels like many "spiritual" people just practice to get more energy, focus, and feel a sense of superiority. That sense of "I meditate, I AM, so I'm better", or "I know a lot more than most in this regard, I'm so advanced, I have greater understanding of reality and what is", one of the greatest ego traps there is.

Yep. The ego is cunning indeed. I am personally guilty to have a direct insight in the past and subsequently attach onto it and have a spiritual ego. But I'm doing better in catching this and letting it pass. I didn't choose my ego to do this. Nor am I my ego, or my choice to get lost in thought. For if I was any of these things, I would certainly choose their elimination.

But, then again, sometimes it is needed to get lost in the dream of thought to really appreciate when we wake up.

>Even believing you're happy is just another identification with thoughts. A good one I guess?

Happiness is a broad term.

There is the conditional happiness of every day life in this world of form which arises from pleasure, goal achievements etc. Some of this is good: connection, achieving what you want. And, then we have the addictions, hedonism, escapism etc. Either way, any happiness which is contingent on a circumstance will pass. The suffering ensues when we forget that it passes, identify and attach, and desire for it to not go away.

Then there is the happiness/freedom in being spaciousness itself in the here and now. That is non conditional happiness.

> >All these words that I wrote, all this babbling, it's all meaningless. I recon it's just the mind spitting more and more crap.

It isn't meaningless. You're insightful and reflective. Mindfulness meditation doesn't get rid of thought. It helps us discern which thoughts are skillful and which are not. Conscious thinking can be great for many things: creativity, rationality, bonding, humour etc. And sometimes you need to identify with thought, get lost in it, and feel the flow of loose associations.

Thought becomes imprudent when we take it to be real. We get lost in the past and future. We get lost in our story. We get attached. That is suffering.

> >I feel like I don't know anything at all and there's no knowing so what's the point in even trying to know.

"No knowing?" I disagree in any way.

Conceptual knowing, there is an infinitude amount of knowledge out there. Be curious. You have access to The Internet. Check out some awesome science subreddits. Or a history book.

Non-conceptual, direct knowing? Well, you're conciousness. There is just consciousness in this moment and the knowing of the dance of form. And just like space cannot exist without everything, consciousness is empty but knows all. It is a mirror: reflecting everything, but is not made of any of it.

There is no knower. It is just knowing in this present moment. The knower just fuels the separation and the ego.

>Today I woke up in despair, but with despair I sit cross legged and let it be, while I breathe. I just want a bit of peace that's all.

Sounds great. Well done. Remember: that which is conscious of despair is not despair. To reshift this, sometimes changing from the active to the passive helps: rather than "I am in despair", quietly say "there is despair".

by pdfernhout   2019-07-12
Maybe of interest: "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel A. van der Kolk https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/01... "Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy—and a way to reclaim lives."

A lot of it is historical, so you might want to skip to the sections on treatments like EMDR. The author shows how nightmares are the brains attempts to process what happened and has suggestions for moving past them. While Bessel van der Kolk practices in the USA, perhaps you could contact him (or the group he works through) and see if he or they can suggest an informed and compassionate practitioner in your country?

Bessel van der Kolk and his associates can be reached here: http://www.traumacenter.org/

An interview with him: https://onbeing.org/programs/bessel-van-der-kolk-how-trauma-...

You may also find this book of interest too: "Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain" by David Conroy https://www.amazon.com/Out-Nightmare-Recovery-Depression-Sui...

A key point David Conroy makes is that all too often when people reach out for help with pain exceeding their coping resources (and so leading to suicidal thoughts) that the people they turn may just heap more pain on top of everything, which sounds like what happened to you. But it does not always have to been like that and David Conroy explores alternatives in his book.

And you might also want to look into "The Lifestyle Cure" which has a fairly high cure rate for depression using a combination of omega-3s, sunlight & vitamin D, exercise, social interactions, mental habits to avoid negative ruminations, and improved sleep: https://tlc.ku.edu/

But if it is past trauma that is causing the worst issues, addressing that first might help get you on an upward spiral and then you could try those other ideas to continue towards greater wellness. Hope this helps.

by pdfernhout   2019-07-12
Bill Zeller talks about difficulty overcoming early childhood trauma in his last words. He perhaps could have benefited from the techniques described in this book: "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel A. van der Kolk https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/01... "Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children. Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy—and a way to reclaim lives."
by bananatron   2019-07-05
"The Body Keeps the Score" taught me a ton about the psychology of trauma, as it relates to everyone. It really has some jaw-dropping stuff.

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/01...

by ohsobasic   2019-01-13

He will likely experience PTSD in one form or another - the seemingly strangest things can trigger it (a smell, a song that was on in the background, hell, locking a door could be a trigger since it sounds like it was one of the last things he did before finding his friend). This may be a helpful read for you, so you can be aware of what he might be going through, understand what to possibly expect, that sort of thing.

So sorry for your husband's loss, and good luck to you as you navigate helping him heal.

by BundleOfShae   2019-01-13
  1. Seroquel: Technically this is not an AED, but before we knew I had epilepsy, I needed anti-psychotics due to audible hallucinations. It turned me into a zombie that could barely function cognitively. The voices stopped with my next one. The first two months were terrible then and for months after.
  2. Keppra: It worked to stop seizures but I absolutely hated it. I gained weight, it made my hair fall out pretty much overnight, and made me depressed (also influenced by the hair loss. I wish doctors would listen to us about our feelings... Anyway, the first two months were also terrible, mostly due to the fact that at this point, I was upset about everything. Once I was on this, my capabilities to do math or follow directions (GPS needed for everything now), or speak well went out the door, so we took a chance with...
  3. Lamictal: OK. I have a love/hate relationship with lamotrigine. In my early days, I still kind of felt the way I did on Keppra. The first two months were the same as it. Mental fog, screwy speech, and a little stutter when I tried. I have been on this for six years now with no seizures except for one attempt to get off meds completely. I think after about a year I slowly got used to it and adapted. I was able to go on basically the lowest dose you can get ( 2.5 - 15.0 mcg/mL in your blood is the normal range. I was at 2.8. I stayed at this low dose up until a few months ago when I started hormone therapy, but that's a different story (I will note that estrogen/estradiol cancels out many seizures medications; be careful ladies).

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>How did you deal with the initial drug side effects?

Cannabis, talk therapy, and my dog. Couldn't really do anything to address S/E except for trying a new drug.

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>What strategies did you use to communicate to others that you are the same person

I had to pretty much sit people down and explain. Frankly, I think my poor speech during these conversations explained it pretty well on its own. For my parents/family, I gave them a book, "The Body Keeps the Score. " It was very hard to explain, but again the physical manifestations did most of it for me. I also explained to them that to me, the world was entirely different than the first 25 years of them knowing me. I explained it can be like I am bipolar at times.

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>At a future point, did you determine yourself that the drug no longer worked and it was time to switch? Did someone else have to "convince you" that a change in drug regimen is needed?

I am lucky in that it only took two tries to get a drug I liked that stopped seizures and had tolerable S/E. But actually, I had to be the one to convince my medical team; it took a ton of moaning and arguing. Most doctors stop trying, IMO, once the main issue (seizures) is solved. I never kept a diary.

by slabbb-   2019-01-13

>I know I sound super desperate for help, sorry about that.

All good. Doesn't read like that to me, more someone encountering a difficult unprecedented situation in their experience and not knowing how to help or proceed :)

>is there any way for me to obtain a therapist's knowledge so I can even remotely help her?

Well you can probably gain some insight by reading and learning about how trauma influences and manifests psychologically and behaviourally, bringing that to the dynamic with your girlfriend, but short of training in psychotherapy, which is years long, it's not a straight forward process of gaining knowledge in this case. Read what you can (or watch vids if that is a preference. Though books on this subject will probably contain more information and details), really listen and be present to your girlfriend. If possible, cultivate patience and tolerance for the the more exasperating aspects of your gfs behaviour. Compassion helps; keep in mind there is pain somewhere even if your gf isn't consciously aware of it. Maybe take notes, make observations, build an operative framework to embed understanding in, specific tactics or methods etc. I dont know; those are suggestions, not prescriptive.

>study material

A couple of books come to mind: The Body Keeps the Score:Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma , and another, more symbolic and depth psychological oriented in its approach Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption . These may be helpful. There's a lot of research and books out there in this territory though, so well worth looking around online and seeing what you can find.

>standard operating procedure

Safety is paramount for those who live with trauma, safety in the environment and with others they're relating to, but more importantly, safety in relation to ones own feelings and embodied states.

Trauma takes up occupancy in ones body in an unconscious (emphasis on unconscious) energetic, emotive sense. It can seem like ones own feelings, thoughts, dreams and sensations are the enemy and attacking ones sense of self out of and through the very ground of that sense of self, acting out by themselves with little conscious control. A weird reversal of normalised associations with ones own experience can be present, as can various psychological defenses, such as dissociation and repression. Profound shame may be existent somewhere, exerting influence, alongside self-loathing and self-doubt. These qualities, as belief, as operative paradigms of psychological orientation, bind and entrap. Trauma and its psychology is complex, entangled.

It's perhaps significant to keep in mind that trauma of the kind your gf has experienced is a rupture in terms of a developing self; somewhere, somehow a break and splitting has taken place. Those split off parts of self still exist somewhere, and all of the original pain associated with them. The aim is integrating these extant parts towards a different kind of wholeness and integrity.

The process I've experienced through a therapeutic alliance has involved re-experiencing these 'splinter psyches' and the attendant affect qualities in a safe and trust based context. I've had to relearn how to be present to my own body and emotions in ways I wasn't familiar with. It was a very painful and confrontational process, long and slow, encountering and metabolising bits and pieces in small chunks, using dream, memory (or lack of), daily relational contexts as leverage, through questioning, into contact with feeling, image, re-embodiment. Learning how to just exist and be with myself in my body, learning acceptance. So lots of grounding and attention to breathing, posture, tension being held, etc.

Not sure if that's really all that helpful, and I'm not a professional.

Imo, trauma doesn't heal by itself and it never goes away until its worked with consciously.

Good luck! It's strenuous and problematic, what you're in.

by [deleted]   2018-11-10

Work on reading a book like the boy keeps the score to understand the impact of trauma trauma book

by lyinglikelarry   2018-11-10

I think trauma causes a lot of emotional imbalance instead of a true change of personality. The long term effects of trauma stem from being unable to mentally * process * what’s happened and accept it, your brain keeps running over it trying to process it, but keeps overwhelming itself in the process. It’s better in terms of recovery to be working through a lot of that emotional pain rather than dissociated from it.

You’re in a lot of turmoil and pain because of what happened, it’s just the truth and your family needs to get over it. There’s no such thing as to sensitive or emotional; people are primarily sensitive and emotional! Hypervigilience (sp?) is a totally normal reaction to trauma and you should absolutely not try to stop doing it, rather work on processing your emotions and regaining an authentic feeling of safety, it should go away on its own.

Maybe offering your family some books on the effects of trauma on the brain might help them be a little more understanding and sympathetic? If you haven’t experienced it yourself, finding out what it’s like to constantly experience emotional/sensational/visual flashbacks can be a shocker and suddenly all that « irrational » behavior makes more sense.

Everyone deals with trauma differently, the fact that you’re so sensitive right now means pure still connected to your emotions and honestly I think that’s a really positive sign in terms of recovery. Dissociation is a whole other layer that can complicate things.

Im naturally a super sensitive, upbeat personality, but after trauma I became really withdrawn, angry and cut off emotionally. Sudden changes in personality are a natural way people protect themselves. Maybe your family is reacting to how you’ve changed.

Are you in good trauma informed therapy? I’d suggest doing some reading and maybe trying EMDR if your therapist thinks you’re up for it.

Sources: I have a lot of sexual trauma and childhood trauma stemming from a whole mess of stuff. I’ve linked some stuff I’ve found particularly helpful, but I encourage you to do research and examine what you’re doing to recover.

https://www.jennifersweeton.com/blog/2017/3/14/heres-your-brain-on-trauma

https://emdria.site-ym.com/page/120

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0143127748

by citiesoftheplain75   2018-11-10

OP, I hope you're doing well.

A bodyworker or somatic-oriented therapist will be able to help you navigate this tension. Practitioners of bodywork systems like Rolfing, Hakomi, somatic experiencing, and Feldenkrais could all be helpful to you.

You might contact one of the Meditation Instructors listed on the Dharma Ocean website. Dharma Ocean is a Tibetan Buddhist lineage whose approach to meditation works with the link between physical and mental tension. A Meditation Instructor will be able to provide direct advice and point you to other resources.

I've been practicing body-oriented meditation techniques and working through tension for 5+ years. The process is powerful, but there are ways to manage the volume and intensity of the unconscious material excavated by the practice. This type of meditation has vastly improved my quality of life. I believe it's definitely worth doing.

You may benefit from reading The Body Keeps the Score and The Body Deva .

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss further.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

You have been through a lot and you deserve to get good help. If your current therapist isn't helping, pick a different one. Go on your insurance website and see others listed in your area. Or call your regular doctor (GP) and get a referral. You don't usually have to go in for a visit. Just say you want your doctor's recommendation for a therapist adn they will call you back with the new therapist's phone number. You are allowed to shop around. Just tell your current therapist, "The most recent session was my last. I am going to a different therapist now." That kind of thing is all you have to say. You're not going to hurt their feelings.

The next therapist you see, tell them from the first moment you walk in that you want to focus on anger management. Repeat this as many times as you need. Sometimes we have to keep the therapist on target. If you'd like to read a book you might like The Dance of Ager or The Body Keeps the Score .

On your own you can start writing things down that are happening so you can reflect on them. (I do this all the time and it's what's helped me the most over the past few years.) Get any kind of notebook or journal and keep a thought diary. And/or you can print out 10 copies of an anger worksheet like this. Cross out ptsd at the top and write anger, emotion, depression, whatever it is. The techniques for reflection are very similar. So you have copies ready and can just grab a pen and sit down when something flares up. This lets you learn about what is happening and be introspective. Evaluating the thoughts, feelings, emotions that unfold around certain events on a daily, weekly basis is extremely helpful for discovering what's going on within you. It's a way to pull out the useful information and find out how you can anticipate them and see them coming sooner. That way you can consciously intervene with yourself earlier and have a chance to respond differently - the way you would ideally want to respond - measured and cool and with calm control.

These tools help you review what is happening with you. They're kind of like self-incident reports. This is what happened, this is how I reacted. And then you take time to go over them and see if you can do it differently if the same thing happens again. You don't have to show them to anyone. They're just for you. Of course you can take them to your therapy appointments if you want to go over specific events. Especially if you had trouble deciphering what happened or what made you react a certain way and how to fix it. Focus on what. Not why. What happened. What were your thoughts, feelings. Why is a never ending circle. What is very specific. It's a forensic investigation. Not a philosophical or moral debate.

If you see similar things happening over and over again, it's important not to get mad at yourself or beat yourself up about it. Getting mad at yourself for getting mad just prolongs healing. It takes that much longer to cool off and let your emotions (chemical physiological body response) to run their course and get out of your system so your rational mind can start analyzing what happened. It takes about 20 minutes for adrenaline and the chemicals of the amygdala involved in the fight or flight response (in our case fight) to dissipate. If you get angry at yourself on top of whatever just happened, this just prolongs the process. So go easy on yourself if you can't fix it immediately. This is all part of the learning process. Take some breaths. Use typical anger management techniques to cool off. Sorry for writing a book! Hope some of this helps. Take what you need.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

I'm not sure if I completely understand but I'll try to respond. We definitely have this problem with anger in the sense that it's validating. The anger is validating. Because we feel like we are right. Like it's a crucial part of us and if we don't act on it we're not being true to ourselves. There is validation and justification in that feeling. But maybe that's not what you mean?

I'm really sorry for what happened to you. I hope some of this helps...

For example if we're getting mad at work we want to try to let go of being right. Being right is what gets us in this situation. The feeling is extremely validating and gives us a feeling of power. But it ruins our relationships. So we want to change the perspective from "holding back" to letting us both be right. We're all different people and there's more than one way to be right about something. See what if feels like to let that person be right.

They have their perspective, you have yours. What you want to do is find agreement. How can you both get what you want? You won't always have to acquiesce. Sometimes they will too. But more often than we like to admit, we can both get what we want most of the time.

Active Listening can help you more closely engage with people without becoming irate. And people really appreciate when you are clearly making an effort to hear what they are trying to say. Some won't! But the ones who matter will be appreciative.

In personal relationships like you describe, we can feel vindictive and want to get revenge. We start with feelings of betrayal, anxiety and fear but that left unchecked morphs into full on anger. The anger develops as a means of finding something to do about it. So we're not sad or disappointed any more, we're charged up and pissed off. And again, if left to fester it can turn into depression, misery, etc.

Maybe the best thing I can recommend is this book Getting Together and Staying Together . It deals with cheating and the emotions involved but it also just sets a strategy for working towards a relationship together and making it work.

To get back in shape, you want to let your emotions out but in a healthy way. Holding them in is what bottles them up and then everything becomes all murky and hard to decipher. So when you feel yourself pushing emotions down, pause and say "don't do that any more". Allow yourself to feel the real emotions. Be alert against the tendency to remain deadpan. And just listen to what the emotion is and what your mind is doing. If the emotions are worrisome, try techniques like using a thought diary or a cheap notebook, it doesn't matter. Anything you enjoy writing in and just pour it out.

Remember your hobbies. Find ways to be creative. Remember exercise. Physical things help your body sort stuff out naturally. Try reading The Body Keeps the Score to help you work it out.

And don't be afraid to seek a therapist. Your regular doctor can give you a referral (a name to call). With insurance it's a $20 - $50 copay. Usually they want to see you once a week for a month or so and then once a month until you feel you have what you need. If you don't like the first one, it's ok to shop around. Say thanks for the session and don't schedule another one. Then call someone else. Your insurance company's website usually has several therapists you can choose from. Most are CBT talk therapists. Be careful with alcohol and self-medicating. Be careful with intense music. Less is better, quitting is best when you're dealing with heavy issues. Don't punch things as a way to blow off steam. Listen to your thoughts and write down in a notebook or in a word doc what's bothering you. This will go a long way to helping you sort things out.

Hope some of this helps. Hang in there!