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Are flareups a thing?

Anyone else find themself dissociating more after imaginal reliving and symptoms worse with other life stresses?

On wednesday, for the 1st time i was able to relive almost all of the memory. What tends to happen normally is we start the excersise and very soon after i'm totally lost in it and it takes my T quite some time to help me get back. More often than not i'm quite fuzzy for the rest of the session. Dissociation is a big issue for me, rather than feel things i shut down, block it out and just mentally leave. I'm prone to dissociative flashbacks. Non of which is helped by the fact i have hyperphantasia, which means i have a really, really vivid mind's eye.

We've spent time working on them and we used different techniques to make sure i kept one foor in the present, and one foot in the memory, so to speak. It actually worked quite well. My T is really good and starts to notice when i'm slipping and , although difficult, it went well, and we've gotten the furtherst we ever have. We've been at this a while now and on the whole i am seeing positive changes, i can catch panic attacks fairly early and take the edge from them, i'm facing emotions and feelings rather than shutting them down so on the whole, we're getting somewhere.

However, in the time since last session, intrusive memories are back with more force than ever before, and though we have practiced facing them and allowing them to pass, i'm finding i just want to shut down, otherwise if i allow the memory, before i know it i've been pulled straight back in. Numerous times i've had dissociative flashbacks and it's taken my partner ages to get me back in the room.

On top of all that, in the days since my grandma has passed away, my other grandma is really ill, my brother has messed up some stuff badly (don't want to elaborate thaat part) and for my grandma and brother, it falls to me to help sort everything out, my car's screwed and my washing machine broke and flooded my kitchen, neither of which i can afford to fix.
It just feels like stress from all sides and it seems like the more i have going on, the worse my ptsd becomes, which makes everything else harder to deal with!

I'm going round in circles!

I feel like this is a huge step backwards, i'm back to avoiding memories and pushing thoughts away, sensitive to everything, flashbacks back to full force. Is it normal for things to intensify like this?
 
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unfortunately: very normal.

There is the article on here about the 'stress cup' which is helpful to think about given all the things you have going on at the same time. It's overload for anyone grieving, family dynamics, more family ill etc. And then adding in PTSD and trauma and processing in therapy: very very normal for everything to feel incredibly hard right now.

And how amazing that you've been making this progress in therapy. That you've found a way of staying present and going through the past. That is a great thing to manage.
Unfortunately, it comes with a 'backlash' becuase you're uncovering all this trauma, it can cause a lot of other things to stir up. Therapy hangover, trauma processing: it's all really really tough.

Hang on in there. It gets better. You're already prob far more down the line that you might think you are, or it feels right now.
I don't think it is a step backwards. I think it's sensible to put some memories to the side right now with all this going on. There is a subtle difference between avoidance and working out what you can cope with. If that makes any sense.
 
Anyone else find themself dissociating more after imaginal reliving and symptoms worse with other life stresses?
Less dissociating specifically, than symptom spikes in general. AKA It could be dissociation, or it could be any other symptom(s) in the constellation. Following any kind of trauma therapy.

I build that knowledge into my therapy appts by blowing off stress (stress cup!) both before AND after appointments (day of)… in addition to doubling down on self care etc. (days before & after).

Even if I manage to avoid a symptom spike? There’s still the whole therapy hangover thing, to contend with. My brainz are tired. Ungh! Face plant in 3…2…

One of my favorite Ts is about 5 hours away by train, which worked out amazingly well, even though the distance made me nervy at first… it enforced blocking my day out. Which cut down on both symptom spikes AND hangover recovery time. As I could go swim for a couple hours, catch the train, and kick back with a perfectly exhausted body, reading/writing/relaxing for 5 hours, walk the mile from the station to the office balancing out even more …(couple hours of trauma therapy)… then either…

- head straight to the station (walk or cab) & doze/sleep for 5 hours
- go blow off some steam (sparring, sex, horseback riding, swimming, fire dancing) shower & catch the train to doze/sleep for 5 hours.
- book a hotel room & use their gym/pool, room service, sleep for 15+ hours (my normal is 4-7), then have a productive (reading/writing, work, etc.) 5 hour ride home in the morning, a few more hours blowing off steam (pool, trapeze, sparring, shooting, etc.) between the station & home, then shower & have an ‘as you like it’ remainder of the day. Sometimes very busy, sometimes very chill, no idea because no plans.

…depending on how the session itself went.

With other therapists the details are different, but the framework is the same.

In addition to the PTSD Cup Explanation? The following article really helps describe what is happening, and why, in regard to increased symptoms during/following trauma work.

 
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What tends to happen normally is we start the excersise and very soon after i'm totally lost in it and it takes my T quite some time to help me get back.
the good news is that practicing with your t will eventually give you the insights to recognize and work the process on your own. kinda like holding a novice bike rider steady until that magic moment when the novice has achieved the balance which allows them to ride.
hyperphantasia, which means i have a really, really vivid mind's eye.
thank you for the term, "hyperphantasia," in my own therapy from the last millennium, we used the term, "graphic thinker." people who think in pictures and/or with their senses, then translate the sensory messages into words. it was considered a huge factor, but this is the first time i've heard the term, hyperphantasia, metaphors wreak havoc in my thinking process. light metaphors hurt my eyes.
in the time since last session, intrusive memories are back with more force than ever before, and though we have practiced facing them and allowing them to pass, i'm finding i just want to shut down
this was typical of my early recovery. i have come to believe that recovery is one of those illnesses which need to get worse before they can get better. decades of repression make it so that it is more painful to rip off the proverbial bandage (repression, etc) than to cleanse the wound. i hold WANTING to shutdown as fully natural. i am leery of folks who WANT those levels of pain. kudos to you for keeping your eye on the prize and muscling your way through.
It just feels like stress from all sides and it seems like the more i have going on, the worse my ptsd becomes, which makes everything else harder to deal with!side
amen, i say unto thee, amen. in 2019 i inherited 3 orphans with the traffic deaths of my son and his wife. i'm just now finding my way out of that psychic fog and knocking wood as i think i might finding my way out. where's the scientific test to know for certain when an episode has passed. awareness and mindfulness have been my most used tool in this past 5 years. awareness that i am a few fries short of a happy meal makes it much easier to mindfully resist taking ^it^ out on babies and social workers. yo! ! ! busybody! ! ! i'm ignoring you on purpose! ! ! i'm not ignorant. i'm igNORant.
I feel like this is a huge step backwards, i'm back to avoiding memories and pushing thoughts away, sensitive to everything, flashbacks back to full force. Is it normal for things to intensify like this?
this is normal for me. i used to see this as back-peddling, but have come to see it as simply part of the recovery process. progress over perfection. these days i think of my recovery as a spiral staircase. yes, i keep coming back to the same ol' places, but each go-round carries subtle shifts in my perception. if i keep on stepping, i reach a whole new level. those small steps add up.
 
Anyone else find themself dissociating more after imaginal reliving and symptoms worse with other life stresses?

On wednesday, for the 1st time i was able to relive almost all of the memory. What tends to happen normally is we start the excersise and very soon after i'm totally lost in it and it takes my T quite some time to help me get back. More often than not i'm quite fuzzy for the rest of the session. Dissociation is a big issue for me, rather than feel things i shut down, block it out and just mentally leave. I'm prone to dissociative flashbacks. Non of which is helped by the fact i have hyperphantasia, which means i have a really, really vivid mind's eye.

We've spent time working on them and we used different techniques to make sure i kept one foor in the present, and one foot in the memory, so to speak. It actually worked quite well. My T is really good and starts to notice when i'm slipping and , although difficult, it went well, and we've gotten the furtherst we ever have. We've been at this a while now and on the whole i am seeing positive changes, i can catch panic attacks fairly early and take the edge from them, i'm facing emotions and feelings rather than shutting them down so on the whole, we're getting somewhere.

However, in the time since last session, intrusive memories are back with more force than ever before, and though we have practiced facing them and allowing them to pass, i'm finding i just want to shut down, otherwise if i allow the memory, before i know it i've been pulled straight back in. Numerous times i've had dissociative flashbacks and it's taken my partner ages to get me back in the room.

On top of all that, in the days since my grandma has passed away, my other grandma is really ill, my brother has messed up some stuff badly (don't want to elaborate thaat part) and for my grandma and brother, it falls to me to help sort everything out, my car's screwed and my washing machine broke and flooded my kitchen, neither of which i can afford to fix.
It just feels like stress from all sides and it seems like the more i have going on, the worse my ptsd becomes, which makes everything else harder to deal with!

I'm going round in circles!

I feel like this is a huge step backwards, i'm back to avoiding memories and pushing thoughts away, sensitive to everything, flashbacks back to full force. Is it normal for things to intensify like this?
I disassociate a lot after exposures and during therapy. Originally I thought it was meditation but my therapist says making the world go away to the point that my HR goes to 40 and my breath rate goes to 4 and I stop responding is disassociation. It has been a very useful tool so I'm wondering if it is a bad thing or if I just use it too much
 
unfortunately: very normal.

There is the article on here about the 'stress cup' which is helpful to think about given all the things you have going on at the same time. It's overload for anyone grieving, family dynamics, more family ill etc. And then adding in PTSD and trauma and processing in therapy: very very normal for everything to feel incredibly hard right now.

And how amazing that you've been making this progress in therapy. That you've found a way of staying present and going through the past. That is a great thing to manage.
Unfortunately, it comes with a 'backlash' becuase you're uncovering all this trauma, it can cause a lot of other things to stir up. Therapy hangover, trauma processing: it's all really really tough.

Hang on in there. It gets better. You're already prob far more down the line that you might think you are, or it feels right now.
I don't think it is a step backwards. I think it's sensible to put some memories to the side right now with all this going on. There is a subtle difference between avoidance and working out what you can cope with. If that makes any sense.
I really appreciate that, thank you

Less dissociating specifically, than symptom spikes in general. AKA It could be dissociation, or it could be any other symptom(s) in the constellation. Following any kind of trauma therapy.

I build that knowledge into my therapy appts by blowing off stress (stress cup!) both before AND after appointments (day of)… in addition to doubling down on self care etc. (days before & after).

Even if I manage to avoid a symptom spike? There’s still the whole therapy hangover thing, to contend with. My brainz are tired. Ungh! Face plant in 3…2…

One of my favorite Ts is about 5 hours away by train, which worked out amazingly well, even though the distance made me nervy at first… it enforced blocking my day out. Which cut down on both symptom spikes AND hangover recovery time. As I could go swim for a couple hours, catch the train, and kick back with a perfectly exhausted body, reading/writing/relaxing for 5 hours, walk the mile from the station to the office balancing out even more …(couple hours of trauma therapy)… then either…

- head straight to the station (walk or cab) & doze/sleep for 5 hours
- go blow off some steam (sparring, sex, horseback riding, swimming, fire dancing) shower & catch the train to doze/sleep for 5 hours.
- book a hotel room & use their gym/pool, room service, sleep for 15+ hours (my normal is 4-7), then have a productive (reading/writing, work, etc.) 5 hour ride home in the morning, a few more hours blowing off steam (pool, trapeze, sparring, shooting, etc.) between the station & home, then shower & have an ‘as you like it’ remainder of the day. Sometimes very busy, sometimes very chill, no idea because no plans.

…depending on how the session itself went.

With other therapists the details are different, but the framework is the same.

In addition to the PTSD Cup Explanation? The following article really helps describe what is happening, and why, in regard to increased symptoms during/following trauma work.

Thank you, that second article was really enlightening and helpful

the good news is that practicing with your t will eventually give you the insights to recognize and work the process on your own. kinda like holding a novice bike rider steady until that magic moment when the novice has achieved the balance which allows them to ride.

thank you for the term, "hyperphantasia," in my own therapy from the last millennium, we used the term, "graphic thinker." people who think in pictures and/or with their senses, then translate the sensory messages into words. it was considered a huge factor, but this is the first time i've heard the term, hyperphantasia, metaphors wreak havoc in my thinking process. light metaphors hurt my eyes.

this was typical of my early recovery. i have come to believe that recovery is one of those illnesses which need to get worse before they can get better. decades of repression make it so that it is more painful to rip off the proverbial bandage (repression, etc) than to cleanse the wound. i hold WANTING to shutdown as fully natural. i am leery of folks who WANT those levels of pain. kudos to you for keeping your eye on the prize and muscling your way through.

amen, i say unto thee, amen. in 2019 i inherited 3 orphans with the traffic deaths of my son and his wife. i'm just now finding my way out of that psychic fog and knocking wood as i think i might finding my way out. where's the scientific test to know for certain when an episode has passed. awareness and mindfulness have been my most used tool in this past 5 years. awareness that i am a few fries short of a happy meal makes it much easier to mindfully resist taking ^it^ out on babies and social workers. yo! ! ! busybody! ! ! i'm ignoring you on purpose! ! ! i'm not ignorant. i'm igNORant.

this is normal for me. i used to see this as back-peddling, but have come to see it as simply part of the recovery process. progress over perfection. these days i think of my recovery as a spiral staircase. yes, i keep coming back to the same ol' places, but each go-round carries subtle shifts in my perception. if i keep on stepping, i reach a whole new level. those small steps add up.
I'd never heard the term too, i'd aways thought that the way i think is due to being dyslexic, used to be quite annoying, and it can be in terms of memories and flashbacks, but most often, it's actually a skill.
Thank you for putting my mind at rest that this is normal and a part of the journey. Progress over perfection, i like that :)
 
i think is due to being dyslexic, used to be quite annoying, and it can be in terms of memories and flashbacks, but most often, it's actually a skill.
is it coincidence that i, too, am dyslexic? i second the notion that it can be developed into a skill, one which was highly valued in my circuit board design years. electro-mechanical design often calls for mirror images and i can read mirror images easily. by the time you have developed dyslexia to skill level, the inconvenience of the occasional mix-ups isn't as inconvenient as trying to find parking.

"progress over perfection" is my life line on the days my i.c.f. (inner control freakasaurus) is on the loose.
 
is it coincidence that i, too, am dyslexic? i second the notion that it can be developed into a skill, one which was highly valued in my circuit board design years. electro-mechanical design often calls for mirror images and i can read mirror images easily. by the time you have developed dyslexia to skill level, the inconvenience of the occasional mix-ups isn't as inconvenient as trying to find parking.
Do you think in 3d too? Growing up dysexia was an issue, but over the years, it's had it's uses. My ability to think in 3d means i'm fab at fitting furniture into a room, or picking parking spaces haha!
 
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