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Chronic PTSD

Thread starter #1
Hi,
my name's Eleonora and I am 20 years old. I have had PTSD for 4 and a half years and have not managed to cure it yet, but can manage some symptoms. I have read a lot about people who finally processed their trauma and got over it and it sounds like many had to stabilize or that many treatment options work when you are not in an episode. But what if you are chronically hyper aroused or chronically numb/not yourself, how do you process trauma when you cannot get to that baseline where you feel safe and stable. I don't know if all this is true, but I have videos or read articles in which therapists talk about having to get the person out of the freeze response to address the trauma. And from what my therapist explained this freeze/shutdown mode is what is present in the body when dysregulated. So how do you process trauma when you're in a chronic freeze?
 
#2
So how do you process trauma when you're in a chronic freeze?
Very slowly.
Your t should be able to introduce small bits of trauma at a time and have you work thru them slowly. Think of it as chipping at an iceberg with an ice pick. All the little chunks come off, and eventually the iceberg will sink. It just takes time.

You don't start with a safe space
You start in an unsafe place (mentally - you should be safe at your t's office) and then you work towards learning the skills to get to the safe place you want to be at.
 
#4
It’s actually very very normal for clients to FIRST have to learn tools to manage their symptoms (grounding, emotional monitoring and regulation, etc.) BEFORE doing trauma processing. Very very few people walk in ready to process trauma.

In point of fact? Most of the specialised inpatient trauma units don’t touch your trauma with a 10’ pole. They’re all about stabilization. Teaching skills, finding meds that help if necessary/useful, dealing with the very immediate problems of today, before one learns to deal with the problems of yesterday with a 1:1 therapist.

I fought against the stabilize BEFORE treating trauma for a very long time... well, a few years, in any event... in my case getting stable was the other way ‘round. Skills & tools in spades. I knew what I need to do. I was even good at it. But? I’d already lost everything, so the whole having home/ job or other income/ relationships & any meds relatively consistent for 6+ months/ etc. simply wasn’t something I could get a handle on. So my stressors were through the roof, which meant my symptoms were through the roof. Which meant my life kept going from bad to worse. And no amount of emotional monitoring & regulation is going to fix that. Like sticking your finger in a river hoping to stop it flowing. Very much one of those Catch22 things. I can’t do this, if I can’t do that. But I can’t do that, if I can’t do this. Brick wall. Bang head.

Also, a fairly normal state of affairs.
 
#8
For what it's worth, I'm four years into therapy and we still haven't touched on processing trauma. I was close to being able to manage before covid hit but got smacked with an overwhelming resurgence of symptoms. We are all on our own journey, but here it feels like I have people who understand here. :) Welcome.
 
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