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Trauma? What Trauma?

Discussion in 'General' started by minceymeatpie, Mar 7, 2007.

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  1. minceymeatpie

    minceymeatpie Member

    So I don't know if anyone can relate to this but...

    One of the biggest struggles for me is that I can't call what happened in my life as "trauma", even though rationally if it happened to someone else I would. There is that disconnect. When I was in therapy I wouldn't let my dr use certain words like "abuse" or "trauma" or "assault"... we ended up just calling them "negative experiences". I don't know why I have such trouble naming things for what they are. Part of the problem is I don't really remember everything, only flashes and bits of a puzzle... I'm not sure I want to remember either. Someone told me once that as long as I'm intent on not remembering something it's pretty hard to heal from a wound that isn't acknowledged.

    I don't care about all the other criterion for diagnosing PTSD. Avoidance, reliving experiences, hyperarousal symptoms, etc - I have lots of those. I just get hung up on the first, definitive part of PTSD, the whole "life-threatening, intense fear/helplessness" part, the TRAUMA part. I guess in my own happy mind I don't have PTSD since I don't have a history of "trauma", never mind that the rational logical parts of my brain detect the smell of horse manure with regard to that sort of thinking.

    I guess this makes no sense. I wonder if anyone else has this problem with accepting the idea that "trauma" is what occurred. I think it has a lot to do with trying to always project strength and to admit that something devastating could happen is tantamount to failure?
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  3. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Hi mincemeaty pie,

    Whilst one of my traumas I do have memory loss, I can't say I don't remember my 'trauma' (well, other traumas). However, I do often feel that "it wasn't really trauma" in the respect that I seem to think "it wasn't really abuse" so I find that I do get really angry at myself for suffering when I feel I shouldn't be. It has also taken me a long time to hear and say the word "abuse" without getting very uncomfortable. I think this is because I felt/feel guilty. But also somehow accepting that I have trauma was also difficult for me, because it felt better to say it wasn't really like that. That way all I have to do is "get a grip", other than deal with it. It has taken me a while to accept that one of my trauma's, which I only partially remember, really did happen. My turning point was looking in my medical records, and me as a child at that age. The unexplained illness', and fear of men.

    Your situation sounds like there is a large element of doubt. It's difficult believing your memories when they are not complete, isn't it? Sorta makes it feel detached? But it is highly unlikely anything will improve, or that you will remember anything, if your thoughts are constantly being blocked by doubt that what you do remember/sense is true. Acceptance is a big part of healing, in any case let alone PTSD.

    But you see -that is part of your trauma. It affects us all in different ways. I suspect you know in your heart of hearts that you are traumatised, because otherwise you wouldn't be feeling the effects. But you have to trust what your body is telling you, there are certain reactions you simply can't fake, or ignore. It sounds like the dominant way you are traumatised, is through not remembering it. And memory issues are incredibly common in one way or another in PTSD. There could be various reasons on that, depending on age and how you processed it. Memories are only memories because they are processed and reinforced. You don't remember things that mean very little to you for long. But people also don't remember things if they don't get processed, if they 'space out' at the time, if they were drugged, if they were too young to have the processes there in the first place, and, IF THEY WERE TRAUMATISED.

    I for one am not sitting here thinking that you "aren't REALLY traumatised" because you have difficulty with your memory. I am sitting here thinking that it must have been horrific for you to block it out.

    I hope this helps in some way,

    Take care of yourself,

  4. wadoo

    wadoo Active Member

    Hi Minceymeatpie.

    I am only new here and finding it hard to cope with everyday due to the fact that I dont believe what happened to me could be classed as trauma either (the main reason is the huge chunks of my life I have no memory of except in certain moods I'm in but even then they seem like I'm making them up and the horrible feelings and confusing feelings, pictures, flashes that I cant make sense of) even though the same as you if it happened to another little girl then it would be trauma but in my own head I just cant get it through that thats why I'm suffering is because of those events and I think that's why I have such a hard time getting through this. Even writing this I still cant see it as my own truama. So disconnected.
    Maybe it's because as a little girl I was told "dont dwell, dont sulk, dont feel sorry for your self, put on a happy face etc. etc." Maybe that's why it's so hard to deal with. I dont know.
    So I did an excersice.
    I wrote my story (my life) not in detail but about another little girl until that little girl grew up to be the woman I am now but still as another person not me.
    When I read it back to myself, I bawled my eyes out feeling so sorry for that little girl and I think that was the first time that I actually acknowledged for real my pain and that If I can feel bad for that little girl then maybe I am actually allowed to feel bad for me without feeling sorry for myself.
    I dont even know If I'm making sense at the moment.
    But i still seem to slip back into my normal pattern of confusion. Maybe I should read that story again coz it actually made me feel less confused.
    Hope I helped. :)
  5. slhlilbit

    slhlilbit Active Member

    I know that denial is a big part of prolonging the healing prosses. I for years denied that there was anything wrong with me. I thought PTSD ment that i was crazy. ( I am crazy but not like that.) haha. The PTSD diagnosis has helped me to understand why i have made some of the choices i have made. now that i understand what the ptsd does to me i make better choices. Take care of yourself and dont worry so much about labels.
  6. minceymeatpie

    minceymeatpie Member

    Thanks for your responses. Wadoo, I really do relate to what you said. I remember certain things that happened that shouldn't have happened and could logically be called trauma yet to my internal self I can't seem to accept that and I end up minimising all the time. As for the memory part, sometimes I get pissed with myself. I end up telling myself I am making things up and therefore I really must be crazy. Then again, there are those who would readily agree I am crazy!
  7. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP


    I can also relate to that denial or whatever it is...when referring to the war, I usually call it (ever so eloquently) "the crap that went on"...or whatever...and in reference to where it happened I usually call it "over there"...
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