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Can’t feel properly

Ellciott

Confident
Is not being able to feel emotions to their full extent and being unable to express them outwardly a form of dissociation?

Whenever I have some sort of sadness or grief or… something like that come up, I can only feel maybe 20% of it at most and the biggest expression I have is that my eyes get wet or I might have a single tear. I can tell there’s deep emotion there, but I can’t feel it
 
@Ellciott, it's understandable to feel disconnected from your emotions and struggle to express them outwardly. When you have difficulty feeling emotions to their full extent and expressing them, it can sometimes be related to dissociation, which is a common response to trauma. Have you experienced any traumatic events or difficult situations in the past that could be impacting your emotional experience now?
 
I’m diagnosed with c-ptsd, experienced many different forms of repeated traumatic events events lasting many years and I struggle with dissociation
 
I’m diagnosed with c-ptsd, experienced many different forms of repeated traumatic events events lasting many years and I struggle with dissociation
@Ellciott, I'm sorry to hear that you've been through multiple traumatic events over an extended period, leading to your complex PTSD diagnosis and struggles with dissociation. It's understandable that these experiences can impact the way you connect with and express your emotions. Have you found any coping strategies or techniques that have helped you manage dissociation or connect more with your emotions in therapy or on your own?
 
Despite years of trauma therapy I still haven’t found a way to access my deeper emotions, especially ones that relate to the past. A lot of the time I feel like I’m living my present life in some kind of limbo, like I’m actually in the past and present at the same time but very disoriented and almost dizzy and numb if that makes sense? What is that?
 
Despite years of trauma therapy I still haven’t found a way to access my deeper emotions, especially ones that relate to the past. A lot of the time I feel like I’m living my present life in some kind of limbo, like I’m actually in the past and present at the same time but very disoriented and almost dizzy and numb if that makes sense? What is that?
It sounds like you're describing a profound sense of disconnection from your emotions and a feeling of being stuck between the past and the present, which can be distressing and disorienting. This experience is common for individuals with complex trauma histories, as the past can continue to impact the present in profound ways. What you're experiencing could be a form of dissociation known as depersonalization or derealization, where the world may feel unreal, dreamlike, or distorted. Have you discussed these specific symptoms with your therapist during trauma therapy sessions?
 
I have, I originally started seeing her for EMDR but I guess she thought my dissociation was too high to go into it quite yet. I was doing really well for maybe 4-5 months until a trauma anniversary and exposure to big triggers… there was almost a delayed effect with my reaction after those recent triggers, it took about a month for me to experience related symptoms (flashbacks, intrusive memories, dreams, social withdrawal, dissociation).

-is it common to experience a delayed reaction to triggers like that?
-is that also related to dissociation?
-is the fatigue I’m experiencing also related to trauma?
 
I have, I originally started seeing her for EMDR but I guess she thought my dissociation was too high to go into it quite yet. I was doing really well for maybe 4-5 months until a trauma anniversary and exposure to big triggers… there was almost a delayed effect with my reaction after those recent triggers, it took about a month for me to experience related symptoms (flashbacks, intrusive memories, dreams, social withdrawal, dissociation).

-is it common to experience a delayed reaction to triggers like that?
-is that also related to dissociation?
-is the fatigue I’m experiencing also related to trauma?
@Ellciott, experiencing a delayed reaction to triggers, especially after a trauma anniversary or exposure to significant triggers, is relatively common in individuals with PTSD or complex PTSD. It's possible for the mind and body to delay processing the overwhelming emotions until they feel safe enough to come to the surface. This delayed response can also be related to dissociation, as the mind may use dissociation as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions or memories.

Fatigue is also a common symptom associated with trauma. The experience of living with ongoing trauma and its impact on mental health can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Has your therapist talked to you about strategies to manage fatigue and helped you explore ways to address it in your daily life?
 
@Ellciott, experiencing a delayed reaction to triggers, especially after a trauma anniversary or exposure to significant triggers, is relatively common in individuals with PTSD or complex PTSD. It's possible for the mind and body to delay processing the overwhelming emotions until they feel safe enough to come to the surface. This delayed response can also be related to dissociation, as the mind may use dissociation as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions or memories.

Fatigue is also a common symptom associated with trauma. The experience of living with ongoing trauma and its impact on mental health can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Has your therapist talked to you about strategies to manage fatigue and helped you explore ways to address it in your daily life?
Thank you that’s very helpful and validating!

We talk about the fatigue a lot, I also have ulcerative colitis and disrupted sleep so it’s harder to pinpoint exactly what is causing the fatigue- likely all of it, I guess. I’m also self-employed and my work is very demanding which can add to it and I find it very difficult to find the time to recharge.

-Also, can dreams be triggers?
-for years I stopped remembering my dreams, but now that I do remember some a little more I find that they really add to fatigue and other symptoms. Is there an explanation for this experience of not remembering dreams until years after the end of the trauma?
 
Thank you that’s very helpful and validating!

We talk about the fatigue a lot, I also have ulcerative colitis and disrupted sleep so it’s harder to pinpoint exactly what is causing the fatigue- likely all of it, I guess. I’m also self-employed and my work is very demanding which can add to it and I find it very difficult to find the time to recharge.

-Also, can dreams be triggers?
-for years I stopped remembering my dreams, but now that I do remember some a little more I find that they really add to fatigue and other symptoms. Is there an explanation for this experience of not remembering dreams until years after the end of the trauma?
@Ellciott, it's understandable that juggling the demands of being self-employed with managing trauma-related symptoms, physical health issues like ulcerative colitis, disrupted sleep, and the impacts of trauma can be incredibly taxing. Balancing these responsibilities while prioritizing self-care and managing symptoms can feel overwhelming at times.

Dreams can indeed be triggers for individuals with PTSD or complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances, including nightmares or vivid dreams related to past traumas, are commonly reported symptoms. It's interesting that you've started remembering more dreams years after the trauma ended. Sometimes, the mind may suppress memories or experiences during times of heightened distress or trauma as a protective mechanism. As you continue to work through your trauma in therapy, it's possible that your mind is beginning to process and reintegrate these memories, leading to the increased recollection of dreams. Have you noticed any specific themes or patterns in your dreams that seem to trigger emotional or physical responses during your waking hours?
 
@Ellciott, it's understandable that juggling the demands of being self-employed with managing trauma-related symptoms, physical health issues like ulcerative colitis, disrupted sleep, and the impacts of trauma can be incredibly taxing. Balancing these responsibilities while prioritizing self-care and managing symptoms can feel overwhelming at times.

Dreams can indeed be triggers for individuals with PTSD or complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances, including nightmares or vivid dreams related to past traumas, are commonly reported symptoms. It's interesting that you've started remembering more dreams years after the trauma ended. Sometimes, the mind may suppress memories or experiences during times of heightened distress or trauma as a protective mechanism. As you continue to work through your trauma in therapy, it's possible that your mind is beginning to process and reintegrate these memories, leading to the increased recollection of dreams. Have you noticed any specific themes or patterns in your dreams that seem to trigger emotional or physical responses during your waking hours?
The themes that seem to affect me most are witnessing violence to animals, and the last dream that I had about being attacked and held hostage by a naked Gollum creature… death, relationship conflict, being trapped, and beds seem to be the largest themes. The funny part is usually I don’t feel any emotion about these dreams, but they affect me physically over the next day or week with increased fatigue, dissociation, intrusive memories, and irritability
 
The themes that seem to affect me most are witnessing violence to animals, and the last dream that I had about being attacked and held hostage by a naked Gollum creature… death, relationship conflict, being trapped, and beds seem to be the largest themes. The funny part is usually I don’t feel any emotion about these dreams, but they affect me physically over the next day or week with increased fatigue, dissociation, intrusive memories, and irritability
@Ellciott, it sounds like the themes in your dreams are vivid and distressing, evoking a range of emotional and physical responses despite the absence of immediate emotional reactions upon waking. Dreams involving violence, death, conflict, feeling trapped, and other distressing scenarios can indeed impact your emotional and physical well-being, even if the emotions are not consciously felt during the dream itself.

The physical and emotional responses you described can be common after experiencing nightmares or intense dreams. The residual effects of these dreams, such as increased fatigue, dissociation, intrusive memories, and irritability, are reflections of the mind processing and responding to the content of the dreams, even if the emotional impact is not consciously recognized during the dream itself.

Have you found any strategies that help you cope with these distressing dreams and their lingering effects on your well-being? It may be helpful to explore techniques such as grounding exercises, self-soothing practices, or discussing the dream content and its impact with your therapist to better understand and address these responses.
 
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