For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Nov 22, 2008

Post memory backlash a/k/a healing

Lately I've been rambling about the big memory I've been processing for quite some time. I ranted about it yesterday on Grace Uncensored. Now that I'm back in a familiar emotional place, which is not at all comfortable, I thought it might be worth sharing.

While each survivor will find their own rhythm or sequence of the mind providing answers, it will become familiar. Processing horror can actually become "same old routine". We process so much we become desensitized to our own sh*t. Sort of like watching yuck on CSI or Ducky on NCIS. I prefer to change the channel and usually do. But when it's the main presentation in the mind, there's no changing the channel.

Because the details are being relayed by a previously dissociated self, it feels second hand. "This is what happened to you. I saw it." It is not experienced as first person even though we may have some crossover of body memory and/or emotions. For me, first there is the shock or surprise of knowing (the silent gasp) followed by any emotions or words that need to be immediately released. Once knowing the emotional/physical pain or piece of knowledge is out, there is the acknowledgment and healing of the parts involved in revealing the previously unknown.

I have often experienced a specific sensation or knowing in my mind or body that the healing happened. Sometimes a bit more processes over the next hours or days before I know the healing of the alter(s) has completed. Then comes confirmation of the healing process--the brain making new connections. Some call this an integration headache if parts tend to merge or integrate post healing. Whatever you call it, the brain DOES make new neural connections. It has been proven in research conducted in the Netherlands by Ellert Neijenhuis, et al. using PET scans on clients with DID pre-healing and following them through to post-healing. Before I knew of the studies, I described the headache as feeling as if my brain were making new connections. Hmmm.

Within a day or two of processing my recent chunk of trauma, new information continued to flow related to the newly disclosed information. I would describe it as information that was unable to be relayed until the healing and the new connections. It feels different. It's more like thoughts landing suddenly in my brain.

My recent memory began several months ago but became quite intense around Halloween. The next round happened surrounding my birth date earlier this week. I felt the healing acknowledgment during my nap following the therapy session. The next day was headache day. I'm still getting tidbits here and there and being led to information that doesn't make sense to me yet. But the main content of the trauma was processed. This was my first big memory processed since beginning the blog. It may have been my first this year. Since my last major healing event, processing has slowed down greatly, thank goodness.

The big unknown is whether this memory still has unprocessed aspects that I will need to know one day. This particular memory has come up several times over the past 10 years because of the intensity and the different messages. I've shared before that I have had several major integrations. This last healing felt like three previously integrated parts coming back to give me the new pieces.

The backlash, as I call it, is that the emotional distress that I had been feeling in the background as depression is now surging through my body as "mine" and it feels awful. I wonder how I survived knowing most of me has always been THAT depressed and THAT terrified. I can barely stand it when three are sad and/or scared. And that's where I am today. Caught in that place of wanting to die just because it would be easier and knowing I could have a better rest of my life if I ride out the discomfort.

When all settles down, one day I will realize that "today is a good day" and the worst will be over...for now. We survived our horrors because our innate will to survive triumphed over the trauma.I personally believe we all survived for a reason. What if we don't allow ourselves to live to know that reason? Maybe the reason is giving DID a strong voice so we can change the world on this issue. And that means we need every survivor joining together to be heard.

Our time is coming. Changes are being made slowly in our country. Massachusetts has already figured this out. Maybe they will be the nation's role model. The Obama Administration promises resources toward protecting the children. Grassroots efforts will finally have as much weight as the formerly big lobbyists. There will be a way we can finally be heard.

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