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Question - Working Through Your Trauma! How?

Discussion in 'General' started by Arashi, Aug 28, 2007.

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  1. Arashi

    Arashi Member

    I've pouring over as many articles and threads as I can in order to better understand PTSD.

    One thing that I have read a lot, especially in Anthony's posts or articles is "working through the trauma". In the steps to recovery and dealing with this illness I see a lot of times the first step being getting through the trauma.

    So how does one with PTSD work through their trauma?
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  3. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

    In my case I had a lot of problems even opening my mouth to speak when questioned about the incident. Between the flashbacks, the nightmares and the reality of the situation it was all mixed up and still is to a certain extent.

    My therapist (and i am extremely comfortable with her) really helped me out. I, when put in the situation where I have to verbalize openly will freeze.have a hard time getting the words out, zone out and I find myself singing in my head..........depersonalizing, I think.
    I had to write the incident out as if i was in the room.like i walked over and he......Once I wrote it out and that was hard i had to put it on a little personal tape recorder and then i had to listen to it daily. i did this for a number of months and we would also listen to it togeether. Kind of like exposure therapy so that the memories were not so frightening. It is very hard but i found that my nightmares are less and the flashbacks although they still happen do not "take over" anymore. It was kind of like getting what was stuck in my memories out and not in my brain anymore.

    You need to be ready and in a safe, secure situation. You need a good therapist hopefully someone trained in trauma therapy and also familiar with cognitive behaviour therapy to enable you to change the negative thought processes. It has helped me greatly but it is tough and the "it gets worse before it gets better" certainly fits here. For me I have improved greatly. Still have good and bad days but I think that is to expected.
    Take care and good luck as you continue to heal.
    nie likes this.
  4. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Well said Pandora.

    I will add; you work through it simply by facing it. A person can talk about their trauma day in, day out, and still be no wiser or better for it. Its not about just talking about ones trauma, but instead get it out onto paper where it can be analyzed, then once out, pull it apart piece by piece, expand issues and areas with actual feelings, thoughts and issues, work through each one at a time trying to toss ideas around, different angles, other possibilities, who truly owns what, etc.

    It is a detailed process depending on the extent of trauma. If a person only had one trauma, then you could nearly do it all within a couple of weeks, its more just a time thing to absorb it all and nut out any smaller issues. Multiple trauma is where it takes greater time due to the size and typically the complexity of the trauma itself. It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of years just to get through the trauma alone, let alone then working on how to manage PTSD itself. Typically you can say it is a total period around 3 years, a little longer or shorter depending on complexity.
    nie likes this.
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    I will add my 2 cents too. First don't just ask one person, it is a mistake as we all heal differently. That is the beauty of this community and so many here, you get all angles as what works for one does not others. You have to get to the same idea, just there are at times different routes.

    I had to get down to admitting my anger and what caused it. When I did accept fear, betrayal, lonely... And the like I saw what emotions I had to work on and accept. I had to accept guilt and blame where needed and put blame exactly where it belonged when it was not my own.

    This place does wonders as you put out your story, but more important your feelings of it out there. Others can put it in different perspectives you may have never thought but it is entirely correct for you.
  6. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    I have tried going to, get this, to role play areas and "role playing" out what I went though.

    As someone that was Tortured, I try and see Myself have having the power, and not being a victim. I "roleplay" being the Torturer. I try My best to describe in detail what I see in My mind then type it out.

    what kind of light is around?
    is the floor stone or wooden?
    if wooden does it creak in sections as I walk across the floor?
    how am I dressed?
    what do I smell?
    what do I hear?
    who is with Me?
    how tall am I?
    how much do I weigh?
    what am I doing to the person?

    This way it helps Me confort what I went though. it's My way of facing My trama.
    nie likes this.
  7. Arashi

    Arashi Member

    Wow! A lot of great insight here folks. I appreciate it.

    Pandora, I just wanted to be clear that I myself did not experience a trauma. I am asking from a carers perspective.

    My GF with PTSD has completely withdrawn from me and I didn't know that she had it until after she put our relationship on hold saying she needs space to work through her demons. Her trauma was 13 years ago, but she just got out of a physically abusive marriage which I think has brought a lot of the issues back to the surface.

    I want to help her, but of course I can't even tell her that I am researching this stuff and trying to find ways to help her because she wants her space. It's tough giving her that when we work together and see each other everyday. :mad:

    Thank you all for your replies and I am looking forward to hearing more and understanding more.
  8. She Cat

    She Cat Policy Enforcement Banned Premium Member Sponsor $100+

    For me it's been a multitude of things to get to where I am now. Talking to therapist after therapist. Writing things down. Looking at my part, my share of responsibility. Healing my inner child. Forgiveness for my abusers. No I do not condone what they have done, but I do forgive them. Writing letters full of hatred, and anger toward my abusers, then burning the letters along with my anger. Letting go of my anger. Understanding why I had the emotions that I had, and how to grieve for what I had lost.

    This isn't easy, and it isn't a fast process either. Sometimes it takes yrs, but she can get better. She has to have the strength, willpower, and need to face this.....

    I wish her, and you both well.....

  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member


    Healing your traumas is hard work. No matter how you come at it, there are no short cuts. Being a carer for someone who has PTSD is hard work, too. One of the biggest things that needs to be realized is that you can’t fix it for your girlfriend. No matter how badly you want to. It’s got to be up to her to do. You can help, support, be there, listen, etc. But there’s a line that you’ll not be able to cross. That has been one of the hardest parts of all of this for both my husband and me. It’s taken a long time for us to get used to that new part of our relationship.

    You say that your girlfriend is putting your relationship on hold. I can understand that. I was in an abusive relationship before I met and married my husband. Learning to trust someone in a relationship again is very, very tough. We were married for over a year and I was pregnant with our first child when I finally relaxed my guard enough to trust him that he wasn’t going to leave me and he wasn’t going to hurt me. We’ve been together for 21 years now and I still have big moments of insecurity. Maybe it’s the fear of trusting again, the fear of your relationship going to the next level that’s bringing out some old demons for her. Fear causes stress and stress kicks up PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately it’s a nasty cycle that we (sufferers and carers) have to learn to deal with.

    nie likes this.
  10. Arashi

    Arashi Member

    Marlene that makes perfect sense to me and jives with my thought process on it myself.

    It's hard to understand the dychotomy of the sudden changes of mind. For example it was just 2 weeks ago that she suggested we set a month to move in together in the next couple of months. Then shortly afterwards she withdrew hard and I am dealing with the result of that withdrawel now.

    I didn't think she would take it this far. I held onto all the things she said as truth and not something she would go back on. It was truth, but only in that moment. it feels somewhat like a betrayal...but now that I understand more thanks to you kind folks...I feel a little more equipped to handle this for the long haul.

    I am better able to rationalize the situation and have a clearer perspective of what might be happening in her mind. I feel like when she is ready to try again I will know how to act and what to say to help her through all of this and help her be happy again.

    The waiting is the hardest part at this point. In fact if I can continue to learn and contribute to things here it will make things easier.

    I'd like to think that I can help her, I don't think she will be receptive to suggestions of seeing a therapist so Iwill have to gently guide her in that direction if it seems like the best thing.

    I catalogued the events in her life as I know them from what she has told me. I wrote them down in a journal today. it is not my story so I don't feel right posting it, but I'm going to think about it for a time. Some of the things seem to make more sense now that I have written it down and been able to analize it somewhat.

    It's amazing when the light is shone upon the situation. I feel like it all makes so much more sense now. I just wish I could share it with her.
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