Trauma and isolation

airdog

Learning
I was wondering how many of you found that, on top of suffering from the various physical and psychological consequences of trauma, there's another layer added to this: the isolation caused by not really being able to share the trauma with others.

Because let's face it, trauma by it's very nature is exceptional, not because from a global perspective it doesn't happen often but because normally it doesn't happen in most people's life.

The consequence is that if you try to share it with others they don't really understand what you're talking about and, if you're like me, their reaction is looking at you as if you're dropping down from the moon and later with that glaze in their eyes as if you're trying to make them understand the intricate details of nuclear physics.
And, again for me at least, I'm pretty sure some of them considered me as an outright liar (and I can understand as my experiences were so much outside what was normal for them).

So the result is that very early on I learned to just shut up about my traumas and deal with them as best I could.

So not only did I feel isolated because of the variety of my coping strategies but also isolated because I couldn't really share.

And yes I know I can share with my therapist, which I'm now doing after suffering for a long time while PTSD was slowly getting discovered by science, but it's not the same as sharing with friends, relatives or other people close to me. And that for me is an isolation from which I definitively suffer.

So again, wondering if that's also true for others.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah @airdog I totally relate. People that don't understand trauma and PTSD just look at you like your an alien when you try to share and let it out! They don't 'get' the flashbacks, triggers, rumination, intrusive thoughts, dissociation, depression, cognitive distortions and anxiety that we have to deal with. And it's exhausting dealing with ptsd.

I try to be quite open about it because I want people to understand why im not normal. I can try to be normal but that means I'm acting quite frankly and that also is exhausting. I suffer from alot of isolation so I feel your pain.The path to healing can be very positive with the right help but it takes time. Welcome to the site and all the best to you. S3 ?
 
It's true that some people don't understand.

However, their are people who do understand, and not just therapists. I've found that mental health workers who aren't highly trained therapists who have Master's Degrees and Ph.D's or anything like that do understand, as many of them have had issues with PTSD themselves.

And many patients who seek professional help from shrinks know what it's like to go through great trauma.

So just because some people don't get doesn't mean that's true for all people.

I never told anyone about my past traumatic experiences until I finally decided to get help for the first time back in 2000. Not talking about it to anyone before then was difficult for me.
 

Ronin

MyPTSD Pro
I relate, but not for those reasons -

Rather that the intersection of my trauma history is damn difficult to find people who been there and *get* it, for.

Aka who can give me pointers on the f*ck dooo. :shifty:

As in too many moving pieces that would be f'd up on their own, but in a combination create bit of a lock to healing I can't get keys for ((.... someone break the goddamn door already or nuke it from the orbit, don't care, want the healing biz *over* already.))

And then there's other big piece - trauma that I literally feel I lost my humanity, at / for, don't belong to the same species or life itself kind... not hard to just verbalize. Hard to live with. Well. When I can't damage my kidneys any more by drinking. :p Less lonely land with Jack.
 

Allie D.

MyPTSD Pro
And yes I know I can share with my therapist, which I'm now doing after suffering for a long time while PTSD was slowly getting discovered by science, but it's not the same as sharing with friends, relatives or other people close to me. And that for me is an isolation from which I definitively suffer.
Me too. While in quarantine, I've been telling my family, I feel that I am suffering psychologically more than I was in March which was when the pandemic and my total isolation started.

But they tell me I'm acting exactly the same - poorly! - and I'm just more aware of it now. THAT was a jolt and I know it will be very hard to have supporters and relationships And I'm learning to work with a new therapist, so I feel a little helpless on that page too. I understand what you mean. I can't relate to others very well. Boundaries remain a confusing problem for me - it's always too much or too little. It can get awfully lonesome.
 

airdog

Learning
@Ronin I do understand because I also have a rather complex (and long) history and that makes it all the more difficult.

And I find it strange that this fact that not being able to share adds another layer of isolation to already isolated individuals is not discussed more in literature about the subject. Judith Herman in her book Trauma and Recovery mentions it about veterans coming back from the war and also molested women finding impossible to discuss their ordeal but apart from her I don't know of many other examples.
 

Freida

Sponsor
I'm a vet who then worked as a 911 dispatcher.....two places where ptsd has historically been considered as a major failure. It was really isolating to try to constantly hide it. So yep. I get not talking about it to anyone. That's why I was so happy to find this place -- where people get it and it's safe to talk! :)
 

airdog

Learning
And your experiences were in US(I assume) but imagine trying to share stuff that happened in Africa or South America 40 years ago. Different living worlds and different mental worlds (normal life versus living in a traumatic environment) meanings that others around you find no common grounds on how to relate to all this.

And as I mentioned not sharing adds a whole new layer of isolation on top of the one already created by the traumas themselves.

And I agree I'm also glad to have found this place. Not many on those on internet.
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
For some odd reason I tend to gravitate towards others who also have trauma in their lives. Generally they make great friends. They understand very well what ever I am going through, and I totally get it when they talk about theirs. This makes life so much easier. It may be hard to open up about it to begin with, but generally it is worth the risk.

This website has really helped me to be able to open up about it when the moment seems right. @anthony
 

Rani G

MyPTSD Pro
So the result is that very early on I learned to just shut up about my traumas and deal with them as best I could.

Can relate, being influenced living in a country where strict authoritarian moral codes dictate your human value, they’d say personal suffering is personal. You are abused as a child? Well, suck it up and move on. That’s what I learned early as a Child.

Judith Herman was my first read, and then I discovered Ellert Nijenhuis who has worked with people who have suffered chronic traumatization. Maybe helpful?
 
@airdog Yes definitely. My feelings of isolation run very deep and basically because my therapists haven't yet found the source of my underlying PTSD trauma.

I never talked about my uneplainable experiences not until age 42 because I always thought they were just my imagination. I think what has confused my T, is the fact that, I would begin to dissociate before the onset of my trauma (How do I know…I hadn't startled nor fled when I should have) And so, I felt no emotion during my actual trauma. I'm still unable to recall all of this experience and only the very beginning and later ending. I had total amnesia for the next three days. Only then did I begin to recall.

So when I've mentioned this past trauma to my T, my T would observe me as speaking without any emotion. There was nohing to trigger. Perhaps because I had been in a dissociative state during the trauma.. It just seemed too unreal. And so, I can certainly understand why they can't understand it. Neither can I.
 
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