Regression

Cadence108

New Here
I am a little girl on the inside. I feel so invalid. Since my trauma started when I was 16, I feel like I have no right to feel so young. I feel so helpless. I have to go to work in a bit and I teach at a preschool. That's hard when I feel the same age as my students and I just want to hide under the table. I feel like crying. I don't know what to do. I talk, think, behave like a little girl. I'm frightened by adult things. I just want to feel better.
 

Friday

Moderator
Since my trauma started when I was 16, I feel like I have no right to feel so young.
That’s a wicked common thing amongst most of the combat vets I know with zero childhood trauma… feeling/acting like a a spoiled brat of a toddler… and having to relearn “all the things”. Eating, sleeping, talking, interacting with others, playing nice (2 different things), dressing, following rules, not throwing temper tantrums, emotional monitoring and regulation, doing things you don’t want to do, using the appropriate amount of force (like not slamming things, or dropping things… not because you’re angry, or not paying attention, but just because you’re holding on too tight to this, too loose to that, misjudging distances, etc.). Wanting other people to do “it” (IE whatever it is that wants doing) AND the whole “I do it MYSELF” refusing to accept (or even think nicely about) any kind of help. Et cetera. Basics from the ground up.

All kinds of self control? And most acquired non-technical learning? Just out the damn window.

Which makes me think it’s more of a trauma thing (being an overgrown toddler, having to relearn everything a 2yo is learning for the first time) than a childhood trauma thing.

TBH? Having a toddler of my own was one od the single most useful things to me… as needing to break down (and model) standards of behavior into things a toddler (and my own durn self) can understand? Priceless. I still use most of our “house rules” from those days, day in & day out, 20 years later. Prolly will for the rest of my life. I often think PTSD treatment could benefit tremendously from no small bit of Montessori.
 

Madwomeninabox

Confident
I don't know if this would be helpful or if it will even make sense. But I tell myself things about the current moment. then work back to a point my brain believes. Then work forward until I get to now.

For example

The year is 2021
My dogs name is ____
I work at ____
Before this I worked at ____
I graduated high school in ____
I got my driver's license when I was ____ years old
My previous address when I was ____ when I was ____ years old

I keep going back until my brain starts to understand something. One time I got back to I learned to ride a bicycle. And the child part I was trying to communicate with stopped panicking and was happy to know soon they would learn to ride a bike.

Then I work through the list backwards
I graduated in ____
My first job was____
My current address is ____

It doesn't always make me feel all the way better but it helps me kinda age up at least some.

A therapist has never told me to do this. I have never heard of this being helpful to others. It's just something that I realized helped me personally.
 

Sideways

Moderator
A therapist has never told me to do this.
(Waving hand madly) A therapist has told me to do exactly that. And I often do, and if nothing else, it's a momentary pause in my thought stream, but very often helps me refocus on the present, because some of the questions are hard to answer the more dissociated I am.

My Qs are more "right here, now" oriented, like:
My name is...
I am at (place)
I am wearing (eg bright red shoes)
The weather is...
The year is...
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
That’s a wicked common thing amongst most of the combat vets I know with zero childhood trauma… feeling/acting like a a spoiled brat of a toddler… and having to relearn “all the things”.
That is so interesting! And amazing! I had noticed that no matter the trauma most survivors’ symptoms were similar but I hadn’t put that together about “feeling like a baby”. Very interesting. I thought my regression was because the main csa happened when I was a baby, but the connection may not be so straightforward.

This is reminding me of when I learned about “retained infant reflexes” at an occupational therapy conference. Traumatic brain injury causes regression while the brain is healing. Lots of stress can also cause the infantile reflexes to show up. It kind of seems like depression is a regression in some ways: losing the ability to feed and clothe and care for one’s own body; dependence on others, reluctance to speak or advocate for the self.
 
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