Avoidance, Brain Fog, & Strategies

Friday

Moderator
When I attempt to think/talk about some of my trauma history my mind blanks.

I have perfect recall if I’m not actively attempting to reach for it, but it’s like a white wall rises up, blocking me, if I attempt to engage with it.

One workaround I’ve found is if someone else needs info/experience from those times in my life. But if I, myself, am attempting to access it (like for trauma therapy) everything locks down.

What can I do?
 
When I attempt to think/talk about some of my trauma history my mind blanks.

I have perfect recall if I’m not actively attempting to reach for it, but it’s like a white wall rises up, blocking me, if I attempt to engage with it.

One workaround I’ve found is if someone else needs info/experience from those times in my life. But if I, myself, am attempting to access it (like for trauma therapy) everything locks down.

What can I do?
Thank you for sharing your experience, @Friday. Having a difficult time accessing traumatic memories is a common symptom of PTSD. Your brain is trying to protect you from re-experiencing the trauma, which can be very overwhelming.

One technique that might be helpful in working through these memories is called "titration." This technique involves breaking down the traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable parts, and processing them one at a time. It can be helpful to work with a trauma-informed therapist who is trained in EMDR, somatic experiencing, or other trauma-focused therapies.

Another approach that may be helpful is to practice grounding exercises to help regulate your nervous system. These exercises can help you feel safe and calm in your body, which can make it easier to access your memories. Examples of grounding exercises include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualizing a safe place.

It's also important to practice self-compassion and patience with yourself as you work through these memories. It can be a difficult and painful process, but know that healing is possible. Remember to take breaks and engage in self-care activities as needed.

If you feel comfortable doing so, I would encourage you to share your concerns with your therapist or seek out a trauma-informed therapist if you are not already working with one. They can help guide you through the process and provide additional support.
 
One technique that might be helpful in working through these memories is called "titration." This technique involves breaking down the traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable parts, and processing them one at a time. It can be helpful to work with a trauma-informed therapist who is trained in EMDR, somatic experiencing, or other trauma-focused therapies.
Can you tell me more?
 
One technique that might be helpful in working through these memories is called "titration." This technique involves breaking down the traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable parts, and processing them one at a time. It can be helpful to work with a trauma-informed therapist who is trained in EMDR, somatic experiencing, or other trauma-focused therapies.
Can you discuss this further?
 
Can you tell me more?
Certainly, @Friday. Titration is a technique used in trauma-focused therapies, such as EMDR and somatic experiencing, that can help process traumatic memories in a safer way.

The basic idea of titration is to break down a traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable parts and focus on processing one part at a time. This can help reduce the overwhelming feelings that come with trying to process a traumatic memory all at once.

For example, let's say that a person has a traumatic memory of a car accident. The titration approach might involve breaking down the memory into different parts, such as:

- The sound of the crash
- The sensation of being thrown forward in the car
- The sight of the other car approaching
- The moment of impact

The therapist would guide the person in working through each of these aspects of the memory, one at a time, while also helping them stay grounded and present in the moment. This can help desensitize the person to the traumatic memory and allow them to process it in a way that feels safer and more manageable.

It's important to note that titration should always be done in the context of a trauma-focused therapy with a trained therapist. They can help guide you through the process and provide supportive techniques to help regulate your nervous system throughout the process.

I hope this information is helpful for you, @Friday. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.
 
Can you discuss this further?
Certainly! Titration is a technique that involves breaking down traumatic memories into smaller, more manageable parts, and processing them one at a time. This can be helpful for individuals who are having difficulty accessing or processing their traumatic memories.

In titration, a therapist will work with the individual to identify the specific elements of the traumatic memory that are most distressing or overwhelming. They will then help the individual to focus on these elements one at a time, starting with the least overwhelming and gradually moving towards more difficult aspects of the memory.

For example, a therapist might help an individual process a traumatic memory of a car accident by first focusing on the sound of the other car's horn or the smell of the gasoline from the crash. Once the individual is comfortable processing these elements, they might move on to the sight of the accident or the physical sensations they experienced during the crash.

As the individual works through each element of the memory, they will gradually build up the strength and resilience needed to process the more difficult aspects of the trauma. This process can help to alleviate feelings of overwhelming anxiety or dissociation, and allow the individual to develop a sense of control over their memories.

It's important to note that titration is just one of many possible techniques that may be helpful for processing trauma. Working with a trained, trauma-informed therapist is the best way to determine which techniques will be the most effective for your specific needs.
 
It's important to note that titration should always be done in the context of a trauma-focused therapy with a trained therapist. They can help guide you through the process and provide supportive techniques to help regulate your nervous system throughout the process.
Even getting TO a therapy appt means I’m going to spend about 3 days puking & shaking & minimally functional -in advance- and then have a colossal therapy-hangover &/or explosive symptom spike in reaction.

I’ve tried various tried & true means/methods to minimize this, with varying results. Still? Whilst in the appt my mind is like staring at a glacier. Cold. Hard. Unyielding. Getting shitfaced drunk immediately beforehand helps actually talking, although clearly, not ideal. I still have the explosive symptom spike afterwards.
 
Even getting TO a therapy appt means I’m going to spend about 3 days puking & shaking & minimally functional -in advance- and then have a colossal therapy-hangover &/or explosive symptom spike in reaction.

I’ve tried various tried & true means/methods to minimize this, with varying results. Still? Whilst in the appt my mind is like staring at a glacier. Cold. Hard. Unyielding. Getting shitfaced drunk immediately beforehand helps actually talking, although clearly, not ideal. I still have the explosive symptom spike afterwards.
It sounds like the idea of going to therapy appointments is causing significant distress for you, @Friday. The physical and emotional symptoms you describe are not uncommon for individuals with PTSD, as the anticipation of a triggering event can elicit a strong physiological response.

If possible, I would encourage you to talk to your therapist about these symptoms and how to manage them before and after therapy sessions. Together, you might be able to come up with strategies to help mitigate their impact, such as relaxation techniques or grounding exercises that can be done both before and after appointments. Your therapist can also provide support and validation for your experiences, which can be comforting and help to reduce feelings of anxiety and fear.

It's important to note that getting drunk or using substances as a coping mechanism is not a healthy or sustainable solution to the problem. Over time, this can create more problems and make it more difficult to address the underlying issues. If you feel that you need temporary relief from your symptoms, I would encourage you to consider other effective coping skills, such as deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, or physical exercise.

Additionally, if you are experiencing such significant distress and negative symptoms around therapy appointments, medications might be a consideration to discuss with your therapist or a medical professional to help manage symptoms before appointments.

Remember that healing from trauma can be a long and challenging process, but with the right support and resources, it is possible to move forward and improve your quality of life.
 
The basic idea of titration is to break down a traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable parts and focus on processing one part at a time. This can help reduce the overwhelming feelings that come with trying to process a traumatic memory all at once.

For example, let's say that a person has a traumatic memory of a car accident. The titration approach might involve breaking down the memory into different parts, such as:

- The sound of the crash
- The sensation of being thrown forward in the car
- The sight of the other car approaching
- The moment of impact
I adore this, as the worst of my memories function like this… discrete points in time, attached to sensory/emotional/mental moments. Entirely non-linear.

It seems like the more linear I can be? The more healthy/processed I am. As opposed to the shattered everything happening at once clusterf*ck that overlays the past onto the present.
 
I adore this, as the worst of my memories function like this… discrete points in time, attached to sensory/emotional/mental moments. Entirely non-linear.

It seems like the more linear I can be? The more healthy/processed I am. As opposed to the shattered everything happening at once clusterf*ck that overlays the past onto the present.
Yes, that's exactly right. Breaking down a traumatic memory into smaller, more manageable pieces can help to create a more linear narrative of the memory, which can make it easier to process and integrate into the rest of the person's life story.

Traumatic memories often feel disorganized and chaotic, with sensory and emotional elements overlapping and no clear beginning or end. By identifying specific elements of the memory and processing them one at a time, titration can help to make sense of the memory and allow the person to feel more in control of it.

It's important to note that this process can be challenging and may take time, but it can be incredibly valuable in helping to heal from trauma. Working with a trained trauma therapist can provide support and guidance through the process.
 
Additionally, if you are experiencing such significant distress and negative symptoms around therapy appointments, medications might be a consideration to discuss with your therapist or a medical professional to help manage symptoms before appointments.
Sadly, as I have ADHD & therefore a great number of paradoxical reactions to medications (stimulants are soothing, antidepressants cause suicidal depression, antipsychotics trigger psychosis, mood stabilizers dysregulate) medication is not an option… at least not until neurology is a more understood speciality.

So I am tasked with finding alternate methods to moderate my symptoms.
 
Sadly, as I have ADHD & therefore a great number of paradoxical reactions to medications (stimulants are soothing, antidepressants cause suicidal depression, antipsychotics trigger psychosis, mood stabilizers dysregulate) medication is not an option… at least not until neurology is a more understood speciality.

So I am tasked with finding alternate methods to moderate my symptoms.
It sounds like you have had some challenges with medications due to your ADHD and paradoxical reactions. It's understandable to feel discouraged, but there are other options available to managing symptoms that do not involve medication.

Some non-pharmacological methods you might consider exploring include:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on changing negative patterns of thought and behavior. It can be particularly helpful in managing symptoms like anxiety or depression.

2. Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can help to reduce anxiety and improve mood.

3. Exercise: Regular exercise can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

4. Nutrition: A healthy and balanced diet can also help to support emotional and physical health.

5. Sleep hygiene: Getting enough restful sleep is also critical to overall health and well-being. Good sleep hygiene can help to ensure that you are getting the rest you need.

It's important to remember that everyone's journey towards healing and symptom management is unique, so what works for one person might not be the best fit for another. With the help of a therapist or other qualified professional, you can explore these and other options and create a personalized plan for managing your symptoms.
 
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