In my experience all of that is true. The trauma of my childhood left me numb in early adulthood. The current pandemic and all of the other things going on around us every day have left me numb from time to time now. It’s the overwhelming stress that just living every day can bring right now. So, I find myself doing some of the things recommended in the article below to help in the short term, while also knowing that if that doesn’t work, I need to consider the long-term options as well.
I’ve survived both childhood abuse, and a suicide attempt. I know what it feels like to believe that it will never get better, just as much as I know that it can get better because it has.
Truthfully, you are a survivor, and the world needs you and your story. How else will the other survivors around you know what is possible?
No, reading them won’t be the same as going to therapy, and I can’t say that I have read them all myself, but if you’ve read any of them, let us know what your thoughts were on the book.
As you read the rest of the article you’ll see how self-distancing conversations look a lot more like those conversations with friends I referenced earlier. Getting away from all of the “I” and “me” and fairly judging the situation quietly and calmly as if it was happening to someone else can put it into a perspective that we sometimes lose when we are thinking of ourselves, especially those of us who struggle with self-blame. Of course, then that self-blame turns to rumination which feeds into depression, and round and round we go.
There is a better way, and the examples given can help if we are willing to practice them. Especially the idea of reminding ourselves that we’ve already been through tougher, and more stressful situations and come out the other side.
I will admit, in healthcare, these two types of narrative incoherence could cause a problem. How would a medical professional move forward with a diagnosis when our response to the first question is to dump an overwhelming amount of possibly relevant, possibly not, information, or to dismiss any symptoms? It really would be difficult to know. We know that the folks who get to the quickest, and best, healthcare are the ones who come in with details like what is wrong, how long it’s been going on, what happened previously to an illness or injury, etc. Trauma survivors typically struggle with exactly that.
This is only one way where not being able to tell a story in a coherent, effective, way hurts survivors. It blocks us from legal proceedings, as I said before, and it blocks us from being understood by those closest to us quite often. So, if you really want to connect with others, and maybe get better healthcare, learn to tell stories. That’s how the world communicates. But, if you’re confronted with someone who is struggling to tell a coherent story, consider what kind of trauma they may be dealing with, and have a little patience.