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Confused About How To Deal With Things - Memory Recall

Discussion in 'General' started by Lisa, Mar 27, 2007.

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  1. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

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    I realise that a big part of my trauma is not having an adequate enough memory of my memories... if that makes sense. It means when they come back, they bite me unexpectedly. There are some memories which never get forgotton, but manage to still have a big impact despite this. It is strange, I think - it is only my mind, what am I so scared of? My past has only happened once, and yet I feel like it is always happening, over and over??

    I get very confused about what I should do in situations like this. Different therapies believe in different approaches. Some believe you don't need to go over it all... you just need to identify the problem and change the reaction now. Like when you sense a memory, a trigger, but don't remember the memory, you just know it's there and related to whatever it is. They would say "you don't need to know what it is, you just need to know it's to do with the past, and logically think through it that way... it's not constructive to go back into the past, just deal with the affects now". Well yeah... but how does that change the trigger? They would say, it changes it by recognising it is a trigger.... well, yeah. But it doesn't change how the trigger feels...? In those situations, what do you do? Try and remember, as other therapists suggest? Or just try to accept it is the past talking to you, and realise you are not in the past, and ignore it?

    Same with nightmares. Over the years, I have been told analysing them is important. Analysing them is not important. Analysing the emotions are important, but don't go over the past. Analysing the emotions and going over the past is important. Dreams may be flashbacks and therefore aspects may be related to what you don't remember. Dreams are nothing but fantasy and mean nothing in relation to your past. Everyone gets nightmares, you just have more. Nightmares mean unresolved issues. There is no answer to nightmares, just medicate. Nightmares can be resolved by dealing with trauma.

    This is where studying psychology and approaches is not helpful personally. I know generally the approach by most 'types' of therapists. And they are all slightly, or incredibly, but definitely different from what I can see.

    and then of course, there are psychiatrists.... "got a problem? Here are some drugs!" Of course, not ALL psychiatrists are like this. But in the UK, you see a National Health Service Psychiatrist for 10-15 minute slots (after assessment). It goes "How do you feel?", "well I'm not sleeping well", "okay, here are some sleeping pills...anything else?", "Well I've been feeling depressed...", "...here are some anti depressants, anything else?", "Well I'm having flashbacks...", "Okay.... take some tranquilisers..." or whatever.... so for me, psychiatry offers me no solution.

    But I am confused. I struggle with this all the time. I don't know which way to go down......Sometimes I think it is best to go over it... what happened , how it made you feel, how it it makes you feel now, why it makes you feel that way.... that way you get to know your past so well and where you stand with it. It can then reduce the impact and allows for re-processing and changing reactions with insight and knowledge, because often in trauma the person is unable to process it for whatever reason.

    But then I think... well, is that really productive? Is that just dwelling? Or am I thinking that way because that is how everyone in my past made me feel about absolutely everything, down to the actual traumas and then to how they were affecting me. It is very confusing as to know how best to deal with things, and I find I start with one approach... then I stop, because there are so many approaches and I don't know what is best. I end up frustrated and hating myself for it.

    Anyone got any input on this?
     
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  3. madjon

    madjon Active Member

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    i think you must have met the same psychiatrists i did, pills and potions.

    what way do you feel works for you what method do you feel brings the best long term results? looking at things and analysing them and going over them can be a painful and sometimes hard thing to do but it allows you to process them and go forward,
    treating only the symptoms and the associations works in its own way, you still have the problem, but your trying only to remove the connection with the present,
    there is the other method of going through what the memories are and working through them and how they effect you and looking at how they connect and react , then once you know whats there you can deal with the connections and reactions by knowing what it is you are reacting to, what works is what works for you, what do think is the best way?
     
  4. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

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    Hi madjon,

    I'm not really sure.... as you said, going over the memories is painful. But the memories don't really go away for long anyway, and when I go through phases of refusing to think about it as much as possible, and just deal with the affects, I find my mind permanently trying, but also resisting, to go there...well, actually that's kind of how it is all the time. Not sure if that makes sense?

    The difficulty is making sense of some of it. I have spent times trying to treat the symptoms, like just trying to find ways to cope when I'm triggered, and when I'm scared (though nothing has worked there really), and ways to cope when I feel like self-harming, which has worked so far. I have better recognition of when I'm going downhill, and I have some resources in place to stop that, or slow it. But usually I end up at the bottom again anyway. But it doesn't seem there's a way to 'treat' nightmares or sleep problems or lack of concentration without medication, so I got stuck with that one. And the days when I just can't stop the flashbacks, or constant presence in my mind, I am hopeless. in just trying to treat some of the symptoms some things helped immediately. Obviously not going places that are triggering is an immediate prevention of a bad day. That's impossible at home, but since I've moved to uni. that issue is better. But in the long run, the frequency that I am having to try to cope with all these things is ridiculous.

    I have tried to get a picture of what happened when by doing a chronology before, but this got to a point where it was stuck because there are so many gaps, and it is all so fragmented. So it is not finished by far because there are incomplete and missing memories too. Though I do feel less confused for it, and more able to recognise what things are about in my mind.

    It does kind of help to talk it over at times, make identifications, and I know what you mean by the connections. When I find one of them something goes "ding!" and it is like an explanation, and those links have led to memories. But sometimes talking or thinking about it is impossible, I just can't. But then, trying not to avoid it kind of helps in the respect that it just hangs around whether I avoid it or not, so what's the point?

    Mmm. Dunno. At the moment, I do what's best on the day. Some days it helps to write or talk about it, to just acknowledge it in my mind, because otherwise I am totally debilitated anyway so I might as well not bother trying to turn my mind away and beating myself up for being a total wreck. The days when it is not holding me at complete ransom, I take advantage and try to shove it somewhere, cope, hope for the best, and do what I need to do on the day.

    But it is no life. Bleugh , yep, self-pity note there.... we all know what it is like being like this, I didn't really need to whine about that here. I guess for now I just continue with what works on the day, eh ?
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Any physician who says its not logical to go back into the past and deal with things, is a friggin idiot in my books. They just don't understand how PTSD really works, because they don't have it. You must go into the past, you must raise your entire past, you must look under every damn little stone for any negative emotion caused within your past that is hurting you, could hurt you, and deal with it head on. Look at it, apply reason to it, look at all aspects, all possibilities, remove one sidedness, etc etc... lots of commonsense needed, often not found in physicians I'm afraid.
     
  6. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

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    LOL.... i share the same view with some physicians. The good ones are few and far between.

    So Anthony.... to do this, how do I go about it? Wait until something particular comes up and do all of the above? Or just start from the beginning and go to the end? Or start all over the place, whichever is appropriate to the day, and do this in any order? Do I do not do it on bad days? Do I do it especially on bad days? Do I do it at my own pace? Sorry, lots of questions there... I am just interested that as someone who has done this and got over it, how you went about this? And do you think it works for everyone?

    thanks for the replies, guys...
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    This will work for everyone, yes. What doesn't work, is only if the person themselves decide to pullout, because it all gets too hard. You start at your absolute worst affecting memory, what you perceive as your worst, whether it is or not will soon be found regardless. You write it out, you then pull it apart logically, finding all the negatives, positives also, and highlight them, reason with them, apply logic to them, if guilt is present... who owns what realistically, etc etc... it will take a person down, have no doubts. This method will make a person very very sick, to the point often of suicidal ideation or worse, but it works and every person so far has come out the other side. It is a form of CBT if you like, just without all the touchy feely bullshit that therapists apply. The soft cuddly stuff has to be removed from this initial process and nothing but absolute honesty and straight forwardness used. Call a spade a spade so to speak. If something has to be said, it must be said directly to find any hidden pieces.

    Simply writing out a list of all traumas is a good place to start, worst to least or even chronologically, then start at the worst and begin pulling them apart one by one. You will find by starting at the worst you will not even make it to most of the less significant issues, as healing the worst covers most aspects of the smaller trauma. This is the hardest way to do it, but the most effective if you want to come out of this daily life containing symptoms. Easily allow six months of absolute chaos, anything less is a bonus. After that, it is much easier, though still a lot of work ahead to learn how to manage PTSD ongoing, refine skills, heaps of exposure therapy to triggers and the world in general, getting back into life basically.
     
  8. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    Anthony,

    I completely agree with these statements. Here is why. In my own process of working through the worse, I have been able to think through my own thoughts and the resulting debilitating emotions or lack there of due to dissociation. I have used deep breathing, thought stopping, and just plain common sense. It has taken me since 2002 to really understand the time frame of healing. But I do believe I have come a long way. I have went from fantacy life to real life. An element that I believe is very important is for a person to have a very real (in person) face to face support system in tact before they try to work through the hardest times. Computer friends and support are very helpful and can provide very valuable supports in the fact that there is acceptance and no worry about hypervigelence, because you can not see the people you post to. However, I believe because of my own experiences that a person needs to also have face to face support when things get real bad, such as: therapist, best friend, trustworthy family member, co worker-friend... I know because of my own experience that it can be much easier to trust computer friends, but I believe that learning to trust people in my physical world has helped me more at times when I was having very serious suicidal ideation because of the immediacy and intensity of the emotions envolved. Think this is true about others as well?
     
  9. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    Just a suggestion:
    In the information section of the forum there is a post on "Positive Ways of Thinking" it outlines how we often have illogical thought processes that lead to our intense anxiety and emotional pain. I think using these could help with processing thoughts surrounding trauma, but I also think it is important to unravel the lies that are placed in our heads by those who were the perpetrators. Their behavior in and of itself implanted lies in our heads that if not revealed and countered serve as a catalyst for toxic shame! Does anyone share this idea?
     
  10. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

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    Thank you everyone for the input here, it has been really good to read all this and be given some clarity. Anthony - I intend to copy and paste your response in my diary, so that I don't forget what you have said (as I know I have already asked you this question once and forgotton the reply before!). Marilyn - thank you for your reply too :) You little star, you do sound like you have come a long way.

    On your comments on support face-to-face - I think there is something in that.... whilst this board has offered me support I can't thank people enough for, support that has got me through already some very difficult times. I think there does come a time when you have to also learn to 'come out' to the world around you, to learn to trust those who are in front of you also. Good point, taken on board. I have one person, as you know, whom I trust with my life. That will suffice for now :) But I intend to battle my trust issues at some point to get better with this.

    Again... ta! :thumbs-up I hope this place stays put for a long, long time.
     
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