How to Stop Avoiding?

I've been in therapy for a long time, but I've never made any significant headway towards addressing my trauma because I can't cope with facing it. Just mentioning it or certain words related to it cause me to panic and shut down. My whole body freezes and I literally can't talk when the issue is brought up. How can I start to look the trauma in the face so I can start processing it properly, instead of just running away all the time?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My T says it's about that (sometimes highly elusive) 'window of tolerance'.
And about thinking about it like a tap, just turning the tap really gently and letting a little bit out at a time.

Are you able to talk about shutting down and the response you have to mention of the trauma? Maybe the way in is working with the symptoms?
It's already a step that you recognise what your bodily response is.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
hello dandelion. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here but glad you are here.

How can I start to look the trauma in the face so I can start processing it properly, instead of just running away all the time?

making this post was a mighty fine step toward that goal. emotional support is an important tool for proper processing. i know my own head is not a safe neighborhood to travel alone. i take backup whenever possible. it helps allot to know that i'm not alone in the struggle.

i hope you find your "backup" for your brave goal here.
 
Thanks for the help guys, you’re right that I just need to take the first small step and find my “window of tolerance”, no matter how narrow it may be. I’ve been talking to my therapist about finding grounding tools to use so I’m not walking through the recesses of my mind alone and unprepared, and I’ve been trying a few things out, like keeping my stuffed bunny with me so I can feel the texture of her fur and smell her scent when I’m getting overwhelmed by thoughts or feelings. It may be untraditional, but I’m taking whatever support I can get right now!
 

reallydown

MyPTSD Pro
Oh I hear you. This is *still* an issue for me as well. I just started going to therapy again and I have had homework and the avoidance kicked in. So, I think what everyone else said, just try a little bit at a time. My T does a lot of body work so she tries to get my body to a place where I feel safe first before tackling the trauma itself. Work on progress though as I am not able to do any of it without fidgeting etc. So, my advice would be to also be gentle with yourself.
 
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