Friday, 30 April 2010

'A beautiful mess inside'

So today I wanted to share some before during and after pics of me. Because they show better than I can the impact of trauma. Autoimmune problems like eczema, asthma, fibromyalgia often plague survivors; I have had chronic fatigue since as well and have had to get help from alternative medicine to get better as unless I was dying western medicine couldn't help. I have since learned to eat more raw foods, herbs and use exercises to balance my system and you can email me if you wish to know more. I also went for Tibetan acupuncture - I would definitely advise these ancient traditions for such chronic problems as survivors of trauma have - they will be able to help heal you. It's not just about suppressing the symptoms.

However I have had such disassociation as a result of various things in my life that I didn't even know it - I just lived out the results of it; spontaneous crying at unnecessary moments, finding ordinary things completely stressful, having an imminent death expectation most of the time. It's almost impossible to explain these things to friends or relatives when you're in them and only other survivors can understand, although I think relatives can do a lot to self educate.

If you have witnessed your loved one struggle through any trauma, or know or suspect that such things have happened I think the greatest thing you can do is consider them as remaining in a state of distress - because they are. Also the younger a child is - like when they're brain is forming below the age of 4 the more entrenched trauma damage will be, it literally alters your brain chemistry - your amygdala. The reactions that allowed you to survive prolonged unpredictable stress then become habitual, consequently when faced with everyday stress the wrong reactions surface; you freeze, you switch off, you shut down, you fight, you run. The normal psychological consideration of whether or not something is a stress isn't there because you're hyper reactive - this is why survivors are often great in an emergency, but fall apart when its a daily, or weekly decision that's necessary.

Also the older they get the more likely they are to shut down and isolate; they cease to be able to make decisions and this is very true for me. I am just now learning to step back from my immediate stress reaction and try and be objective. It's like being objective in a barrage, with missiles raining down on your head. Or being objective while a volcano is erupting inside - it's difficult - tremendously so. It doesn't help that your amygdala, wrongly reading the stress as life threatening is shooting off one way traffic into the reasoning part of your brain saying 'FIGHT' or 'RUN' or 'DON'T MOVE'. There's no way for you to tell it 'IT'S OK'. That's the survival mechanism the very same one that means you're still here in the first place.
It's the same as the mechanism that allows you to forget. If you remembered every bad thing at once you wouldn't be able to handle it, so your brain filters and fogs them until you can process them until you can accept them. This is why people with trauma lash out, forget, seem distant - they're not present. So you can start to pick up on these symptoms. Most people are left completely flummoxed by their loved one's reactions unless they remember they're traumatised. With a little kindness, warmth and attention or space a survivor will relax and will then be approachable - but without it they might explode! Also they often don't know why they're like it unless they've learned to recognise the symptoms themselves. Don't judge them - it is not an excuse to be badly behaved, but many of us have considered these symptoms as part of our personality and felt tremendous shame and guilt because of our behaviour towards others, or our distance. The good news is when a survivor gets a handle on what's happened to them in their life they can create a buffer between their habitual reactions and the triggers - they are after all masters at adapting.

I'm not sure where I'm at but I know I'm getting there and I hope you do too. The sooner the better. And I hope there is beautiful for you..


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Find your way out of Trauma:- The Survivor Warrior Workbook
This powerful workbook is used as a teaching tool with therapists, support groups and community education programs. It was inspired by Angela's Removing the Sword of Trauma events. It is for survivors, warriors, advocates, loved ones and supporters ready to move past pain and suffering and reclaim joy and happiness. You can use the workbook in a group, on your own or with your therapist.This workbook is 117 pages long and is a DOWNLOAD. Thank you for your commitment to healing BUY NOW $9.99

'Prepare to be Raw' by Matthew Warner

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Copyright 2010 Louise Brookes

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