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Oddity Here? Can't Remember Faces of Trauma!

Discussion in 'General' started by cookie, Aug 15, 2006.

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  1. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    i don't know if i have mentioned this before, but was wondering if it's normal. i know who my abuser was, and i can see him in the flashbacks, but not his face. i realized a while ago, maybe a month, that i couldn't remember what his face looked like. i remember what my grandmother looked like, how could i forget what my grandfather looked like at the same time? i don't know if that's part of all this, or if my memory is just failing. so many questions i have had, someone here has been able to answer, and i really appreciate it, it has helped me to finally believe maybe i'm not just crazy. cookie
     
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  3. Farmer

    Farmer Active Member

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    I don't think it's odd at all. I can't remember the faces or names of the guy who saved me or the Dr.s even when people remind me it just fades away
     
  4. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Cookie,

    I don't think you're crazy--I don't remember the face of the drunk soldier who was playing around with handgranades on a ferry full of people...it probably is a part of this whole thing

    RD
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Completely normal that the mind blocks particular parts of your past, especially traumatic past. So... your not crazy, and in fact, none of us are. The symptoms of PTSD merely cater our minds to block and remember what we want too, and don't want too. As you actually come to terms with your trauma, and the trauma itself is no longer trauma, just memories, you will find the disassociation from memories of faces will return, and you will just have clear images, no longer fearful of what you see. Fear is often the precursor to what you will allow yourself to see, ie. your mind will deliver you. The total image is contained within your mind, it hasn't gone anywhere, your just not ready to see it yet.
     
  6. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    I'm a great case of memory problems. I just wish it would make up its mind...
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    The easy and simplest method to bring your memory back, is deal with your trauma. It is the single most thing clouding your memory and disallowing you to retain past, present and future memories.
     
  8. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    anthony, everyone is telling me "deal with your trauma". i want to, i don't know how. i am not being facetious (sp?) i really don't. isn't there anybody that can say "here's how you do that" ? cookie
     
  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Cookie, its ok that you are confused, and completely normal. Dealing with your individual trauma is partly an individual thing, and changes from person to person, because each person can only tolerate so much, or extend themselves to a certain depth of healing at once.

    There are various methods to dealing with trauma, for example:
    • point by point discussion with therapist
    • documenting your trauma and discussing it for feedback
    • revisiting the place of trauma at a key point during trauma therapy
    • self analyze each trauma, though not recommended for lack of knowledge and understanding is often the case, otherwise it would already be dealt with
    • EMDR, CBT and other types of trauma therapy, learning techniques and understanding.
    Often we seek counselling, but we impose limits upon ourselves to discuss only what we feel comfortable to discuss. The idea is not about what we feel comfortable with in discussing, but more about feeling comfortable with your counsellor. When you have the right counsellor that you are comfortable with, you must then push yourself, and with the help of a good counsellor, be pushed, to start extracting all your thoughts and memories of trauma.

    This trauma is the exact thing we have attempted to avoid all these years, and the exact reason we have PTSD. If many of those with PTSD actually had ongoing constant treatment from the trauma, PTSD would off had a lesser chance to develop, because we would be immediately releasing our thoughts, emotions and feelings, instead of bottling them up and suppressing them, to develop PTSD itself. This is not always the case, and predisposition is part of developing PTSD.

    Ok then, so how where do you start? You start with recollection of your trauma, which in itself is going to cause a symptom outbreak. No doubts at all. This is why, dependant on each persons relationships, you need a spouse to catch you when you fall, and if you cannot rely on them, or do not have a spouse, you need to do trauma therapy with a counsellor, so they can catch you when you fall. You will fall during trauma therapy, and that is a guarantee. At this point we need support, and the security within our surroundings to move back too, and know your safe.

    You pick a point, usually the beginning is a good place, then you start documenting and processing the events. You will begin to get symptom outbreaks. Your symptoms may be prevalent for a few days, week or two, then they will calm, then you continue to hit the trauma analysis again, another symptom outbreak, recover, hit it again, and so the cycle goes on. The easiest method is to do it as quick and fast as possible, so all your high intensity symptoms are out, then subside to leave a higher than normal residual effect, though over the months will subside to lower than what you live with on a weekly basis now. You can leave no secrets, no stones unturned to get every piece of memory and trauma from yourself. This has a huge impact on your life, and the life of those around you, I won't lie about it. But then, over the following months, you will start to notice yourself doing things, raising above the depression, continually pushing yourself to move past the symptoms.

    When you do trauma therapy, its not like you can just sit and accept the symptom outbreak, but more cope with it initially, then push yourself to get past those symptoms, at which point once you do, you no longer suddenly have such a high intensity of them ever return again, instead just residual effects of symptoms which you learn how to control uniquely by knowing your triggers, ie. what sparks each symptom to surface, and so forth.

    The facts are though, is that whilst you have the secrets, the fear from your past, and you are carrying this trauma (being the worst of your past), then you can never learn to fully control the symptoms, because you always have another influence, the most significant influence fuelling your symptoms, being trauma (fear, emotions, hurt, pain, the past).
     
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  10. nml

    nml Active Member

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    Thank you Anthony. I havent read much of the description of the journey on this forum. I have been experiencing this healing pattern a little myself. As long as I let it happen. I have a tendency to not want to loose a few days up to a week of emotional hangovers in dealing with traumas. I have been blessed with a sponsor who also has PTSD who has been in therapy quite a few years and is able note when the symptoms begin. I dont have time being a single mother of two to loose days at a time which is one reason I will supress. But I always feel better having a good extensive cry and knowing someone who cares is hearing me. I feel like such a crybaby and a whiner and my therapist told me it is my turn to whine and cry. Its a hard thing to do when I have learned to not show feelings. Showing feelings in my upbringing only brought on more abuse. Then there came a time, i wouldnt give my abusers the satisfaction of hearing my pain. To me, its what they wanted to hear. Someone elses pain because they were in pain themselves. For some reason, even though I learned differnt, my children are capable of expressing thier feelings. I catch myself getting ready to say things which were told to me, like "thats nothing to cry about" or "thats no reason to be sad, upset, angry. Even showing happiness would somehow be ruined. So I learned to not have any expression and stay invisible. So all that pain came out in self destructive ways as I got older. It feels as though at times I am drudgeing up old stuff and I hear in my own head, the past is the past...just leave it alone. But leaving it not dealt with properly then dictates my future. The past only has as much power as I give it. Learning healthy coping skills and using new boundaries, I will eventually be able to live at peace with the past. One of the key things i have learned is the abuse was nothing personal towards me. I just happen to be born into it. Even though it felt as if I was the bad guy, Even though I do matter, it wasnt all about me. There were many other circumstances I was not aware of. Knowing it was not my fault sure has helped me get a start on recovery.
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    That is a very positive learning curve nml... well done. We often blame ourselves for so many things, that really we just had little to no control over. Accepting what is our fault, and what isn't, is a great step forward in the healing process. That sounds excellent that you have a sponsor who has great experience through the healing process, as that face to face interaction is what certainly helps one come to terms with their past. Excellent work nml...
     
  12. nml

    nml Active Member

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    Thank you Anthony. Actually I havent ever met my sponsor f2f, though I will at the end of next month. We met on a AA message board and I was getting ready to have an breakdown when God put her in my path. I was actually looking for a recovery gift for the boyfriend (now ex) and stumbled across the message board. He got a card and I received the real gift. I do not think I would have opened up as much f2f at that point as I have online via email and instant message. My sponsor can tell through my words whether I am erratic or ok. I dont do well expressing my feelings f2f. Im learning a bit as I am not able to hold back as well either. Sometimes, the emotions pour out. Other times, I am not able to focus as I will jump from one topic to something totally different to avoid the real issue. Im catching myself sometimes and seeing the pattern of how Ive been coping all my life. It served well up to a year ago but not anymore.
     
  13. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

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    I can also vouch for this unfortunate healing cycle,
    (I'm just starting (hopefully) my recovery from a mini-breakdown these past 2 weeks... after facing some hard facts about my condition...)

    In response to the very first post...
    I also cannot remember many aspects of the trauma.
    Probally for the best though... lol
    'cause from what I do remember... the whole situation just sucked

    Anyways... (yes I'm a rambler)
    I just wanted to congratulate you (nml) for being so damn brave! :jerk:
    Starting the recovery process, finding a therapist you trust...
    ...not always an easy task... :wall:
    But, you sound like you're doing great so far :)

    When I'm at the therapists... I try my damn hardest to not cry/show emotion...
    ... I HATE breaking down in public... hate it....
    Under the advice of a neuropsyhicologist, I now bring sunglasses to every Dr. appointment (every doctors appointment... just incase!).
    That way /no one in any waiting rooms/parking lots/lobbies can see my bright red puffy eyes.

    Take care of yourself :)
     
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