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Old 05-28-2008, 10:48 AM #1
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Default trauma and recovery

this was sent to me and we wanted to share with you here.

From "Trauma and Recovery" by Dr Judith Lewis Herman

"Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary symptoms of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning.
Certain experiences increase the likelihood of harm.
1. Being taken by surprise
2. Being trapped
3. Being at the point of exhaustion
4. Being physically violated or injured
5. Being exposed to physical violence
6. Witnessing grotesque deaths
Trauma occurs when action is of no avail--when neither resistance nor escape is possible.
The traumatized individual may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event--or may remember everything in detail but without emotion. Traumatic symptoms have a tendency to become disconnected from their source and to take on a life of their own. (Dissociation)
The Main Categories of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
1. Hyperarousal: Persistent expectation of danger2. Intrusion: The indelible imprint of the traumatic even returning unbidden.3. Constriction: The numbing response of surrender
In Hyperarousal
The system of self preservation goes into permanent alert as if the danger could return at any moment. (Symptoms: Startle easily, reacts irritably to small provocations, sleeps poorly). It is the constant arousal of the autonomic nervous system.
In Intrusion
Long after the danger is past, traumatized people relive the event as though it were continually recurring in the present. The trauma interrupts daily life. (Symptoms: Flashbacks during waking; nightmares during sleeping)
Traumatic memories lack verbal narrative and context; rather they are encoded in the form of vivid sensations and images. They resemble the memories of young children.
Traumatized people find themselves reenacting some aspect of the trauma scene in disguised form without realizing what they're doing (e.g., putting themselves in dangerous situations this time to make the end come out differently (a version of the repetition compulsion).
Seen as a possible attempt at integration--to relive and master the overwhelming feelings of the traumatic moment(s).
Attempts to avoid reliving the trauma too often result in a narrowing of consciousness or withdrawal from engagement with others and an impoverished life.
In Constriction (numbing)
The system of self esteem shuts down completely (a state of surrender). The helpless person escapes not by action, but by altering her/his state of consciousness.
Events continue to register in awareness but its as though these events have been disconnected from their ordinary meaning (similar to trance states).
Those who cannot dissociate may turn to drugs or alcohol for their numbing effects.
Adaptive during the trauma, numbing becomes maladaptive once the danger is past.
In an attempt to crease some sense of safety, traumatized people restrict their lives.
In avoiding any situation reminiscent of the past trauma or any initiative that might involve future planning and risk, traumatized people deprive themselves of those new opportunities for successful coping that might mitigate the effect of the traumatic experience.
Because post traumatic symptoms are so persistent and widespread, they may be mistaken for enduring characteristics of the victim's personality.
Disconnection
Traumatic events breach the attachments of family, friendship, love, and community. They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief system that gives meaning to human experience. They violate the victim's faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis. It is a shattering of "basic trust." A sense of alienation, disconnection pervades every relationship.
Damaged Self
Trauma forces the survivor to relive all earlier struggles over autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy.
The developing child's positive sense of self depends upon a caretaker's benign use of power.
Traumatic events violate the autonomy of the person at the level of basic bodily integrity (Body ego -> first sense of "I")
The belief in a meaningful world is formed in relation to others and begins earliest life. Basic trust, acquired in the primary intimate relationship is the foundation of faith. Trauma creates a crisis of faith.
Damage to the survivor's faith and sense of community is particularly severe when the event themselves involve the betrayal of important relationships.
Survivors oscillate between:
Uncontrollable outbursts of anger and intolerance of rage in any form.
Seeking intimacy desperately and totally withdrawing from it.
Self esteem is assaulted by experiences of humiliation, guilt, and helplessness.
Vulnerability and Resilience
Individual personality characteristics count for little in the face of overwhelming events. With severe enough experience, no person is immune.

http://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych270/PTSD.htm
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:56 AM #2
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Default Re: trauma and recovery

i am not an armed forces combat vetern, i apologise if my reply is inappropriate here... the article is very interesting

i got this far in reading it bebop and froze...

</font><blockquote><div id="quote"><font class="small">Quote:</font>
The traumatized individual may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event

</div></font></blockquote><font class="post">

brings up some memory of things past that when the event occurred, it happened just like that... couldnt recall details minutes after it had just happened... things spun so quickly thru my mind it was a total (raging) color blur.... a lot of fear and adrenelin..

thanks for sharing this article..
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:06 PM #3
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Default Re: trauma and recovery

Same here NoWhereToRun...

I guess I have several incidents and an accumulated PTSD...some events I've always remembered, others appear out of the ends of my finger tips as I type.

When I was wounded, the bullet knocked me out. I awoke in the middle of a battle wondering what happened.... images, colors, and a flood of details swirl around the incident.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:19 PM #4
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Default Re: trauma and recovery

yeah Troy.. the colors hadnt occured in my memory of it til i read Bebops' articles.... i guess i automatically associate red with anger (and other emotions) but that is really the predominant color in those memories.... anger that i could or should be treated in the way i was at that moment....

i can only imagine your circumstances Troy when you have these memories, trying to recapture that flury of emotions and thoughts.... glad you made it here Troy... the words others have given me are soul medicine... people do care....


thank you Greatly for sharing here Troy...
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:28 PM #5
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Default the color of red

You're exactly right, but I hope you don't give me too much credit for posting here. There is a lot of fear involved in the posting, but I'm getting better at it.

The color red ... sure...I see the red mixed with black, darkness, along with some flashes of light ... overhead flares and the flash of weapons in the night. And there's the sound of bullets snapping past my ears -- very unique sound if you've never heard it ... and in a sense, you're glad to hear it because it's the ones you don't hear that hit you.

This particular event is even more compelling for me in that a good friend died right beside me when I was wounded and knocked out. A young guy, newly married, baby on the way ... and he's dead ... in the night ... in some forsaken place without a name.

That night, I looked into the eyes of the enemy just a few feet away as we shot at each other. And I looked into the eyes of my dead friend.

So ... I know what happens when things are not done the way they should be, when things do not come off as planned. Maybe this is part of what causes our hyper frustration levels.

"When we do our best but it just isn't enough ..."

T.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:41 PM #6
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Default Re: the color of red

growing up from about age 7 and beginning to understand a little about life and death and war, i wanted to ask my Dad about his war stories but didnt want to... i imagined they were horrible memories that he wouldnt want to recall... i wondered what haunted him... he was a kind and gentle, but strong man

having met a few vets as ive traveled, in homeless shelters and other places, ive seen upclose what has been done to these good people....

i think you are brave for reaching out to others Troy..
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:20 AM #7
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Default Re: the color of red

Thanks for understanding ... and thanks to your dad for his service. Maybe some of the stories here will help you get a sense of what he wasn't telling. I'm glad he was a kind and gentle, strong dad for you. I'm sure he is proud of you now.

T.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:27 PM #8
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Default Re: trauma and recovery

I am a wife of a military member who has been diagnosed with PTSD. He serviced in Viet Nam as a Marine. Over the years I knew he needed help to handle his memories but as most things like this the soldier needs to admit that he needs the help. His final straw was when his daughter joined the service and was sent to Iraq. It hit him hard and when she came home he finally admitted he needed help. Which is great and he is doing good. But what I want his some help so I can help him. The military has the help for the alcholic but it does not teach you how to handle when the PTSD side. I am not sure how to speak to him or do I do things to cause the problem to react again. I want to know how I can help.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:05 PM #9
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Trig Re: trauma and recovery

I, too, am not a veteran of war. I am a 38 year old woman who was raped over and over again when she was five. He was sixteen and it happened for 180 days...a full school year. I repressed all of those memories until I was twenty-two. Everything that you wrote about in the article is true. I still deal with the images, the smells, the sounds, the textures of what happened to me as a child. I am also suffering from Bipolar I Disorder. In my manic episodes I become hyper-vigilant and the flashbacks and nightmares come flooding back. Sometimes it feels so real that I lose my breath and my heart feels like it is going to pound out of my chest. I can't sleep; I can't think. Fear rules me; my concious and unconcious mind.The artilce made me realize that what I feel and have experienced is real and that I am not alone. For that, I thank you.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:48 PM #10
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Default Re: trauma and recovery

well i am a combat vet and i just got out about 8 months ago. im here because i do not want to go to a shrink and my loving girlfriend is worried about me. over the past few months i been having this feeling of "no use" "no purpose" then depression comes into play and i have flash backs of my brothers who have died by my side. then i start wondering if i should be there with them..... theses thought have gotten stronger and stronger and i been getting angry and angrier. its killing me and ruining our relationship.
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