Our body remembers and keeps track. This is a recently acquired piece of information that explains a whole lot of things for me.
Memory suppression is a coping mechanism our minds will use to help us survive life. That has been the truth of my formative years. I have to be intentional about allowing snippets of information to settle in my mind long enough to consider what they might mean. Doing this has been an enlightening experience and explained may things, but it didn’t start happening until I was willing to allow my mind to dwell on the visiting thoughts.
For many decades I refused to entertain the idea of abuse precisely because I had no concrete memories. I suspected but wouldn’t make an accusation I couldn’t prove. A decade or so ago my brother forced me to admit it was true. He used persuasive force so it was all good. I think he remembers more than he was willing to admit. His assertion came out of nowhere although I think he must have been thinking about it for quite some time. It was like he was on a mission to finally talk about it and now was the time.
So back to the body remembering thought. . . It’s kind of funny when I think about it because I have been on a quest for emotional healing for many decades. That would be proof of the body remembers where my mind doesn’t. Subconsciously I knew I had a deep need for healing in my life and over the years I’ve been driven to pursue it relentlessly. The motivation was I want to be well.
It’s something how books, conversations, lectures, stories, all sorts of things, cross my path just when I need them.
Like I said the body remembers concept showed up in the last year or so and it was so helpful. I had been paying attention before but now I was more intentional. Besides noticing physical responses, fight or flight, I started thinking more deeply about the reasons and implications of those reactions. I’ve known forever than I don’t have normal reactions or even interpretations to words or situations, but I want to.
The latest idea for me to explore builds on the last one. Your body remembers and is convinced that danger still exists and raises the alarm to protect you. That’s why we are triggered by anything remotely resembling past dangerous situations. I have many triggers and have yet to figure out what is behind most of them. There are so many because the worst of the abuse stretched over a decade and on top of that there were multiple people involved as well as multiple types of abuse. Both emotional and physical. Then there is the complication that the emotional abuse continued on much longer than a decade.
The idea today was that, to get past these reactions we have to face our triggers/fears, convince our internal memory that all is well and the danger is past. And mostly it is, that’s true.
For a while I have been thinking about changing thought patterns by laying down new memories over the old. Creating new neural pathways. I’ve been thinking about facing and figuring out what caused the triggers in order to understand the why of the triggers, by knowing what happened to me. Understanding what is behind the triggers helps us chase away the proverbial bogey man hiding under the bed or in the closet.
I can see now that finding a way to convince my body that the danger is past and I’m safe, is badly needed.
Easier said than done. But worth a try.
Today’s moment of revelation came in the form of a podcast. It was a valuable conversation between professionals, a clinical psychologist and a popular guest with several degrees in the mental health field. These two come at the conversation from different perspectives and it has given me food for thought that will be around for some time to come.
One more much needed building block on the journey.
Here is the link. They had so much more to say that is worth hearing.
Among many others they talked about answering the question – What do you want? a serious question that most of us cannot articulate. Possibly because no one has ever asked us that question. At least not in a serious, really wanting to know, kind of way. It’s usually more like – what do You want? That’s the first thought that popped into my head as I wrote the first question. Sad. Probably heard that version a lot as a kid.
I have to say they covered a lot of ground in the hour long podcast.
Anyway, their enlightening conversation was definitely worth the time.
Until next time
Hope this makes sense, didn’t leave enough time for needed rewrites.
4 thoughts on “PTSD Conversation. November 21, 2022”
I listen to Jordan Peterson quite a bit. I’ll have to check this one out.
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I do too and this is one of my favorite podcasts. I think you will enjoy their conversation.
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Haven’t listened to the podcast yet. I like Jordan Peterson though do not agree with some of his beliefs. I wondered if you’ve found anything to tame the startle response, particularly to sudden loud noises or alarms.
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I haven’t found an easy way to tame the startle response but there is something that does help. It has two parts. One is to identify the root cause of the terror – what happened to make you afraid. The other part is to stand and face the fear head on and then overwrite the old memory with new information. This is a safe place now, the loud noises can be explained as nothing dangerous. Basically the equivalent to looking for the monster under the bed to understand there is no threat. This isn’t my discovery, others have shared this wisdom, and I’ve found it works. Shine a light in the darkness. Thanks for your comment.