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Re: Hi Terra, a question? judy1

Posted by terra miller on June 29, 2002, at 14:13:45

In reply to Hi Terra, a question?, posted by judy1 on June 29, 2002, at 1:36:11

> I mentioned to Shelli that this approach was appealing to me because of the complete fear I would feel.

I think it is those fears that you have to stare down at some point. But I think you have to be stable to do it, and feel that you have support. For me it was a choice. I willfully made a choice to face whatever fear I was hit with, and I chose to talk about it and to T-E-L-L my therapist all that I was feeling and remembering. Sometimes I never got out a word, but through actions and responses somewhat similar to charades I was able to get the point across. But for me it was very willful. And for support I had a list of who I was to call and when, how to stay grounded, what to do if I was panicking, and which hospital to go to if everything else failed. I also had two internet support groups that supported me in chat and on boards. So I chose to face the beast and stare it down. That's what's made me strong. Three years ago, I couldn't post a thing because I was so afraid my abusers would find me and hunt me down. Now I'm more apt to want to punch them in the nose (and _then_ run! <giggle>)

>My shrink who has treated vets with PTSD believes in dealing directly with the cause of trauma

I do too. See above about "you have to face it" to conquer it. You also have to face it to assimilate it. I think of it this way: either I face it, or I spend the rest of my life with flashbacks suggesting that I need to face something. When I face something, the panic leaves me completely. That's pretty valuable. I now embrace the flashbacks and say thankyou for them. To me, I have no idea what's shut up in my head and the only way I know is by a flashback. If I pay attention, I can learn a lot from them.

>my therapist has views similar to Dr. Ross. (Or she may be telling me that so I'm not afraid of her bringing up something). I've read that many memories (especially those of children) may not be totally accurate, but that doesn't really matter.

I think it doesn't matter. Many people say memories aren't 100% accurate. But I think if you dwell on that too long, you can psych yourself out when what is most important is to believe in yourself. That sounds so goooshy, and I don't mean that at all. But I think most people have got it at least 80% right. (a figure that I am only pulling out of the air for descriptive purposes only.) I think dwelling too long on the accuracies of memories places doubt you don't need in your healing as well as provides another form of denial that just stalls the healing process. It's best to let it happen without intellectualizing it too much. (Said from the "Queen" of rationalization!)


>I don't know if I have 'memories' anyway, I do experience flashbacks when triggered

The flashbacks always come first. You don't get the memories until later. Usually you get the flashbacks, which totally freak you out. And then you do all that you can to numb them out and push them out of your head. I did that for almost a solid year. (And I was h-ll to live with and drank almost every night I could.) Sometimes you can do that. Sometimes you can do that for years. But if you are curious enough, you might find that there's additional information that comes up. It's much like a puzzle. You might get a memory picture of a kite, for example. What in the world does a kite have to do with anything at all? You may never know, until later you remember that it's part of a wallpaper pattern in a room, or you flew a kite with someone when you were a kid, or who knows (it's not usually as simple as the obvious flying of the kite; it's more often more like the wallpaper example.)


>They are confusing but I accept my therapist's interpretation because of things my family has said. Do you find dealing directly with your traumatic experience(s) helpful in your recovery?

Absolutely. I always feel lighter, like a weight is lifted from me. And I feel stronger each time I face something.


>How do you find the courage to do so?

Some people are motivated by anger. Sometimes it's anger in the form of... I'm so mad that my life is being messed up by this flashback. (Instead of seeing the flashback as useful) Usually it's determination because I know it's the best thing to do, but I usually feel like I am going to pee my pants and I often call ahead to my therapist to tell him to have an empty wastebasket in case I puke- haven't yet- and he knows that we're going to work hard that session.)

~terra


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