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Another body memory question

Discussion in 'Dissociation, Depersonalization & Derealization' started by T2L, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. T2L

    T2L Member

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    This may get long but this site is tremendously helpful being able to vent, ask questions, and read posts I relate to so i don't alone or "crazy" responding as I do. Due to the length of the past, mods... Please feel free to move it if it belongs in another forum... Apparently it took me a lot of explaining other things to get to the part about body memories...

    In therapy I've gotten further and opened to to my thoughts, events, and maladaptive coping mechanisms than I ever have before. I trust her and find myself telling her I've done xyz behaviors when moments before my session I told myself I wouldn't..I guess I feel really safe. In hindsight I can see how much progress that is for me personally compared to where I used to be.

    I don't know if it's due to dealing with multiple different abusive instances at the same time or not. I'm not purposely trying to focus on them all at once because that would be even more overwhelming, but one day I'l casually mention the ongoing sexual abuse (no emotions associated yet and I good l gloss over it for now), the next day I may need to focus on my mom's drinking, another day may be spent processing grief of her death, and the next may be starting to really take a look into the abusive relationship I was in. My therapist is going with the flow and I'm not feeling forced to focus on one or another. She also gives me homework which helps direct me a bit with answering questions and reflecting deeper thoughts. I do best answering questions or writing journal entries, or I completely blank out in therapy.

    Anyway, that's the premise of what's going on. Needless to say, even with her support and taking baby steps, it's still overwhelming at times. We've only skimmed the surface and apparently I have intense feelings of past situations I ignored that I didn't realize they were there.

    It's as if I broke that brick or glass wall down in my mind (finally!), but that has led me to thinking and feeling about all the situations above. I'm still having a lot of trouble identifying what all the emotions are other than anger and anxiety... If anxiety is considered an emotion. It's a start, but I'm not able to conpartmentalize things.

    Today for example, we focused on the domestic abuse. I was anxious in the session and started one form of dissociation but tried to ground myself and had my fidget spinner going a mile a minute. After session the anger surfaced about that topic. It didn't happen today, but often if I do get angry, that feeling expands to anger about all the situations at one time, I get overwhelmed, have this rising rage build up.

    I don't know if this is typical, or due to the fact that I'm just learning to feel so I am unable to control it to an extent. When the emotions get too strong or there are too many at once I use bad coping skills, shut down completely, or just get really confused. "Is this anger about her mental/emotional) sexual abuse, or is it about the long term abuser,. Is it about my mom died, or losing my childhood taking care of her?" Perhaps im too analytical and I shouldn't focus so hard on the "why,"... Maybe I need to learn to just sit through the emotiond and the "why" may come down the road.

    So... To the main point of the topic. Although we're just skimming the surface, and I now have some positive tools to use, I've noticed my dissociating has increased ten fold whether it's a minor degree, depersonalization, derealization, just not feeling "here," or what I call call splitting where I see the flashback like a movem inside my head, yet I'm still present and can see what's going on around me here and now. Typically I know when it's happening, unless I completely blank out and drive without any memory of it.

    Along with the dissociation and flashbacks, I'm starting to get intense, painful body memories. I fought the urge of negative coping for over a week, but Wednesday I hit my wall and did multiple bad behaviors. I realize now that dealing with my mom's recent birthday and the doc sharing my weight (knowing I struggle with an eating disorder and went inpatient for it) were triggers, but then main biggest trigger that sent me over the edge Wednesday were the body memories. I didn't have the visual flashbacks... Just the pain in certain areas and as if hands were holding me down. Logically I knew this was a body memory, I knew I was safe, but they just wouldn't stop. My mind was in that frantic and desperate state "do anything/ everything to just make it stop!!" I think those are almost as disturbing, if not more so, than full on flashbacks. In those desperate moments I do have suicidal ideation and thoughts.

    To me, with flashbacks and memories, there is a part of me (even if a sliver) that knows that's what's going on and I'm safe even if it still terrifying and I feel like I'm back in that place... The long term abuser is dead, the domestic abuser is in another state, my mother isn't here and drinking anymore... So all those things won't happen in the safety of my home and cats. True, I get frustrated if I haven't had any for a while and they pop out of the blue, but I'm making progress.

    Body memories on the other hand...I have absolutely NO clue how to stop them. Certain ones I can do the same I mention above, but others I just can't yet. One reason is something I don't feel comfortable sharing, but the other reason is it's just so painful. I end up hating my body because these feelings are out of my control, occur randomly, and won't stop. Thus far the only way for me to get certain ones to stop is to self harm (focus on that pain instead), or take enough meds to pass out and sleep through it.

    My therapist today suggested trying specific yoga poses to work on daily. I'll try (if I remember), but does anyone have any other suggestions on how to deal with these...whether it's to make them stop, or other ways to cope. I feel very broken and messed up and that I have so many different types of trama to process that its only going to get worse before it gets better. My therapist asked if we need to slow down... Any slower and id be where I was and not make any progress.

    As therapy and processing progresses, will the dissociation and body memories decrease in time? I truly hope so.

    I'm sorry this was SO long and kind of all over the place. I just release things so much better in writing and I feel safe doing so with this group, and for that I thank you.
     
    Swift likes this.
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  3. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    I think you are pretty normal for someone with ptsd.

    I didn't have a lot of emotions...so when they first broke thru I thought I was losing my mind. A mentor got me settled down by telling me that it made sense I would go from 0 to 10 the first time. But then it would drop each time as I got used to them...so now I'm about a 6

    Body memories? Those are a beotch. Have you read The Body Keeps The Score? It talks a lot about what they are and where they come from. I still struggle with them but it helps to understand what they are

    And yep...slow down even more. I've found that if I go really slow for a bit everything will click one day and I'll jump ahead. It feels erratic as hell but seems to work
     
  4. Swift

    Swift Well-Known Member

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    Hey, thanks for posting. Your bravery is awesome.
    I feel like there were a couple of parts in your post, so I'll go in turn.
    With multiple abusive instances, there are a lot of emotions attached. One of the things I had to work through was that it was ok to have anger or anxiety in general, or about everything, and it didn't have to link neatly to a specific instance, or set of instances (filed by person, or time or place, or incident.)
    My first T was rad. He told me I seemed to be trying to go backwards and fit the emotions to the memories, and not the other way around, and that wasn't how non-dissociated people's memories worked.
    He said I was more of a scrapbook and other people were novels, where the emotions in the scenes were present the whole way along. Idk if that helps you, but it helped me a lot, once I processed it.

    The second bit is the body memories. I think I have a few kinds that are different. If I'm feeling them overwhelmingly, like a flashback or dissociation or tipping me there, I use grounding and distraction. If they're focused on a particular part and they're painful or kind of... phantom feelings and stuff, I deal by doing something nice/caring and also grounding for the physical part. I like nice smells and I hate the texture of lotions and stuff, and I like the tactile sensation of soft things. I don't mean to be indelicate, but imma stay away from intimate areas for now. If it's my hands/feet/body generally, the perfume works wonders. If it's my hands specifically, I've got soft textures to run them over. If it's my throat I've got some lozenges, but even that's too much sometimes. Chewing gum is sometimes ok, sometimes not.
    I guess I've been at this gig long enough to know that each needs it's own plan.
    Gonna go now, because (surprise!) body memories are playing up.
    Keep writing and posting, we're all here to listen.
     
    Freida likes this.
  5. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    @Swift those are some great ideas!
    My biggest issue comes from my hands so I have a sock stuffed with rice that I nuke in the microwave. It also helps for other areas that act up. One thing nice about EMDR is that it helps me understand why they hurt...which memories are to that particular pain. Then as we work thru the memory the pain starts to subside. Another weird one is that I start coughing the minute I walk into her office and stop the minute I walk out. Another body memory we need to sort out
     
  6. T2L

    T2L Member

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    Wow, thank you all for the advice, suggestions, and sharing your experiences. It's been a rough few days so I'm not able to fully respond at the moment, but I wanted to thank you all :)
     
    Freida likes this.
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