Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

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Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In the Brain by Jon Hamilton

November 19, 2013

I just added another article: Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain by Jon Hamilton to my Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page. Again, it is a reminder that maltreatment of any kind can leave lasting effects on the brains and lives of the abused.

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More Resources…

July 31, 2013

I am amazed at how much more information there is out there on how abuse affects the brain than there was only about 10 years ago. Back then you could hardly find anything…or at least anything for the lay person. Now, I see all kinds of articles and studies. There is more understanding of how the brain works and how memory is affected…lots of good information. I hope it helps someone.

I have updated my Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page once again.  It looks like this will be an ongoing thing as more and more research is done. I hope that I will also see start seeing a lot of articles on successful healing and how the lives of survivors are made better.

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More Articles on the Effects of Trauma on the Body

December 28, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood

 

Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins

 

Factors underlying variable DNA methylation in a human community cohort

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Sharing Another Post on Trauma Brain…

April 9, 2012

In my post before this one, I had shared a link to a post on another blog that talks about how trauma affects the brain. Well, here is a link to another post from that same blog.

More on How Abuse Affects the Brain

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Sharing and Grounding

October 31, 2009

I just read a post called: Trauma Therapy Tools: Grounding. It is on The Survivor Manual blog done by the Angela Shelton Foundation. This particular post is written by Dr. Kathleen Young.

Boy, did it hit home with me. She writes about how to learn how to stay present…especially in doing healing work. This is especially true of when sharing our stories. While we need to share our stories, how and when we do it can be either a positive thing or a negative thing. Telling before developing coping skills can lead to retraumatization.

One thing she wrote that really stood out to me is this:  “In fact, some trauma survivors are able to tell their stories easily, but in a dissociated manner.”

I have noticed how I can often talk about being a ritual abuse survivor without it effecting me. Sometimes, I can even describe some of it (in general) without it effecting me. I can sit and let my mind wander back over it…and just not be all that bothered. If I am not careful, it makes me wonder if what I remember is even real.

Then there are those times when I will allow my mind to wander a little too closely. As I really start to think about what happened, I find the dissociated emotions starting to kick in and reconnect with the visuals. I find myself choking up. At times, this can even lead to more memories.

I want to be able to talk to someone about this…yet…talking does make it more real.It is as if…by not really talking about it…I am able to keep it to the side…within the realm of “maybe it is not real”. If/when I start to really talk about it…one of two things happens. I either push it farther away and feel almost as if I am trying to deceive someone…or the emotions come closer…making it more real.

It is like this tug of war…less real vs more real. Typically, I stay somewhere in the middle of it all…caught between not wanting it to be real and wanting to reconnect it all together because I know that it is real.  I want to be able to have the freedom to actually talk about it…to describe the bits and pieces that try to float through my consciousness. Yet…when I try to grab those bits and pieces…I think I tend to automatically dissociate it away.

Everyone has to do healing in whatever way works best for them. For me…to do life…pretty much means to present in a mono-minded fashion. It also means to not talk much about the RA or allow it to “effect” me. Dealing with RA means dealing with those parts of myself that hold the memories the closest. I have no real avenue for doing that. I wish I did. I wish my environment at least allowed me to do it with myself. I don’t even have that.

There is power in the spoken word. There are things I can barely even write about (unless I do it in that unphased state — dissociation). Even less can I verbalize about them. Speaking it has power. It makes it real. It is validating. It starts to reconnect the emotion to the event…which is probably why I find myself so distanced from the emotions. It is probably also why, when I do start to speak of it, my mind tells me that I am being deceptive…that it could not possibly be real because of the lack of emotion.

A Catch-22. If I speak…the emotions can come more easily. The emotions are validating. My mind…in order to protect me…instantly holds the emotions at bay…keeping them back. The lack of emotions feels like deception…so memories must not be real. What a circle:   Speaking brings the emotions. Mind holds emotions back. So speaking feels like deception. So validation turns into subtle denial.

Reading that post led me into this train of thought. Dr. Young has a more complete post on her blog. I am going to go read it:
Staying Present During Trauma Therapy: Grounding Techniques and see what else comes up.

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What Is a Disorder Anyway?

January 29, 2009

Well, I wrote to Secret Shadows about the definition of “disorder” and decided it was time to write something here about it.

I have run across several people who disagree with the idea that DID…Dissociative Identity Disorder…should be called a “disorder” at all. I have to say that I agree with them.

Webster’s defines a disorder thusly:

1 : to disturb the order of
2 : to disturb the regular or normal functions of
Now,  I can appreciate the argument that it is not ideal for people to have to live as multiples and, therefore, it can be looked at like it is a disturbance of the order of things. However, it is also not ideal for people to go through the horrific things that cause DID, either.
The way I see it, our brains and minds were wonderfully designed by our Creator to enable us to survive things that we should never have had to survive in the first place! Yahweh designed us to have this coping mechanism because He knew what kinds of evil people would perpetrate against each other. It is far better to have DID than to lose one’s sanity!
Therefore, those who responded to the horror by developing DID are actually functioning normally! Dissociation to that degree is a normal response to a horribly abnormal situation. I guess you could say it is a gift rather than a disorder.
Once we are no longer in that horrific situation, we no longer “need” the high dissociation to function…and that is where it becomes problematic. The coping mechanism is still in place, but it is no longer needed. In fact, like many other coping mechanisms that people still have that are no longer needed, it can actually become a major hindrance. Work needs to be done. Healing needs to take place.
Dissociation is on a continuum. At one end we have the kinds of things we all do when we shut out the world around us to focus on something like a book or movie or job. At the other end…we have people like Tara. However, the huge majority of us are somewhere in between.
I like what Secret Shadows wrote about DID: “Many of you nonDID people can totally identify with the concept of wearing more than one hat. You have your “work hat”, your “spouse hat”, your “parent hat”, your “best buddy old pal” hat, etc……..See, the difference between DID and nonDID hats is that nonDID people can fluidly change their hats, whereas those of us with DID get stuck in ours. Sometimes we cannot get them off. Then sometimes the hats come out of nowhere and plop on our heads.” She goes on to talk about one part of therapy being about how to learn to manage those hats.
The closer you are to the “Tara” (United States of Tara) end of the spectrum, the greater the likelihood that you have a huge amount of very horrific stuff that you have been through. It can take years to work through and unravel all of that, but it can be done. It is being done very successfully by many people.
What does the end result look like? That depends on who you ask and on what end goal was chosen by the system. Not everyone looks at healing in the same way…but that is fodder for another post.
The point I am trying to make is that this is a normal response. It is a normal and regular function of many people’s brains. It is not a “dis”order, so much as it is regular and normal function of the brains and minds of many.
Why is it that not everyone who goes through these horrors early on develops DID? Well…it appears that either not everyone’s brain and mind comes thus equipped…or perhaps their brains and minds were simply able to handle it better without needing to use the dissociation? I do not know. I am not sure it is even possible to know. That may be something that only Yahweh…the designer of our incredible and marvelous bodies and minds…knows.
I hate living in a fallen broken world. I hate having to deal with all that brings and all that entails. I hate seeing brokenness of any kind. Yet, I also have hope. I know this is just a temporary shadow of better things to come…much better things! I look forward to when Yeshua/Jesus will come back for me. Marana, ta!
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Healing – What Does it Look Like?

February 28, 2008

I have been pondering what healing looks like. I guess, with the PTSD, it is a simpler question to answer. I would imagine it means no more flashbacks. No more being suddenly hit with intense emotional pain. No more pictures running through my mind of past events and people.

I think it would also mean not being so drained, since the emotional flashbacks which are so draining would not be happening. Hopefully, it would also mean being able to think more clearly and not getting so confused.

But, now I am probably sliding over into another realm…that of dissociation. What is PTSD and what is dissociation? And how many symptoms/events overlap between the two? I honestly don’t know. I tend to think the confusion comes more from dissociation, but I could be wrong.

But back to healing. I think healing would look like…no confusion. No being hit with odd feelings out of seemingly no where. No more feeling so easily overwhelmed. No more amnesia! Although…that could be a mixed thing. Do I really WANT to remember all the things I have buried under the amnesia. Honestly…probably not. Just knowing what it is about is sufficient. I really don’t need to remember the details, thank you. So, does that mean that I really do not want to be healed? Hmmm…I never quite thought of it that way before. Maybe it does!

It is now known that the brains of children who experience trauma/abuse at an early age develop differently. If their brains were to be compared to a pc…it would be seen that they are hardwired differently. They do not work the same, which is why there are problems that last into adulthood…problems with how the brain processes things. I really need to read more on this subject. Perhaps it would help me to understand more of what happens with me and, maybe, even some ways to work around it.

One thing that is very encouraging to me is when I read about how Yeshua healed people who were blind or crippled from birth. It was not just about making eyes see…or making the brain able to receive the signals. The brain had to actually be able to interpret those signals. There are parts of the brain that have to develp in order to give us depth perception, for example, or to give the ability to interpret a table as a table. Those parts of the brain ALSO had to be put into place.

It is the same thing with walking. When a child learns to walk there are parts of the brain that develop. If a child never learns to walk, those parts never develop. So, the healing was not just about strengthening the legs. It was also about the brain suddenly having all the things in place for balance and sending the right signals to the legs to make them work. Wow!

Since Yahweh can do that in healing, it means He can also heal the brain from the effects of the trauma/abuse. Of course, God being God can always do that. I guess, really, it is more the fact that He HAS done it that is encouraging. He HAS healed some blind from birth and crippled from birth. So, not only CAN He…He has and will. Will He do it for me…in this life? I don’t know. But I DO know that it will happen in the next life for sure. I will be given a new body…and that means a new brain, too. One that will be perfectly developed. I cannot even begin to imagine what that will look like.

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