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#1 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 03:10 AM

Today is exactly one month that I am DP-free. DP was never my main problem, but it was the most acute. I felt as if I was not able to work on anything else while DPd, as I had no capacity to process things as I usually do. The other day my knowledge of another foreign language came back, only because I was able once again to put individual words into coherent narrative, as I was not losing my energy on just trying to cope and survive another day.
I read over and over the posts of people stating that they are staying away from the Forum, once they get better, or when they feel exhausted with reading about DP, and I honestly understand that. However, for me this Forum has only been beneficial, as it was a logical step in my recovery. I see it now as I saw it when I first logged in, as just one option in a multitude of options: embrace whatever works for you.
I did not come here first. I had three years before that, with DP on and off, to figure out what is wrong with me, to take therapy and meds, to go through stages of healing of at least some consequences of the trauma that made me this way. Not many people talk of trauma here, but I came to realize that most people I interacted with actually had some early attachment trauma in their life, that made them prone to perhaps dissociate more easily than other people.
The tone of this forum is set in a very rational way. It attracted me at once, as I ran scared from chats at other forums that I frequent, as I could not cope with the amount of trauma triggers. It does not mean that people with DPDR are not suffering. They do. Immensely. Just the nature of this state makes us detached from emotions, and it makes expressions of our suffering seem a bit detached, as well. I felt safe and at a precisely right distance here.
I had DP before, and I will have it again, I am almost certain about that. It does not scare me, though. Other times in life I got out of it on my own. This time I needed more support.
For people I know in rl, some close people, it means nothing when I say I am DP-free now. For a whole month. They absolutely cannot understand how precious it is and what does it mean to wake up one day and not feel completely out of one’s own mind, thoughts, body. Because they do not know what it means to be disconnected from life. So, the only people I can share that with are you.
I have a massive load of other stuff to deal with, so I cannot say, hey, wow, now I am DP-free and everything will be great now. My work on so many other issues has only just begun. But it is ok. I never expected to just miraculously step out of DP, and find everything else just where I left it. Basically, it subsided in me because now I am able to deal with other stuff.
Anyway, if you are struggling right now, know that DP can come and go. The experience of people with DP differs, and your recovery will probably be different than mine. If your DP has been with you for years, then you are a real-life hero, but no one will ever know the amount of will power and courage it takes for you to go through your days. I absolutely sympathize with you, and wish I could express my admiration for you in a better way than this. But you know what I mean.
I do not intend to stay away from this Forum, not only because I am certain I will be DPd again some time; I think it is a well needed self-help tool. To be able to say things knowing the others would understand without too much explanation, to vent, to get some feedback, was already huge for me.
Take care and see your around,
A.



#2 forestx5

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Posted 08 May 2020 - 08:14 PM

DP wasn't my main symptom either. I became ill in 1971 at age 17.  The internet didn't appear until the mid 80s, and I guess I discovered this site in the mid 90s.  It had a smaller audience then, but there were some great people on this forum and they meant a lot to me.

I lost 40 years to mental illness, but I am as recovered as anyone can be from a serious mental illness. I feel confident in saying that most individuals who had symptoms as severe as mine, and got treatment as poor as mine, likely died of their illness.    My depressive episodes were

epic struggles for survival.  I once went virtually sleepless for 52 days, during which time I continued to work 40+ hours per week. I can't even begin to describe what that was like.

I would lose over 30 lbs of weight during a depressive episode.  I would go from an athletic 205 to anemic 175 in 6 months time.  I look back over those years and my memories are more faded than normal, because I never made them in full color.  I acted for most of those years and I feel a bit guilty about it

because no one ever really knew me.  I wouldn't let them. 



#3 Cali123

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 11:09 PM

Today is exactly one month that I am DP-free. DP was never my main problem, but it was the most acute. I felt as if I was not able to work on anything else while DPd, as I had no capacity to process things as I usually do. The other day my knowledge of another foreign language came back, only because I was able once again to put individual words into coherent narrative, as I was not losing my energy on just trying to cope and survive another day.
I read over and over the posts of people stating that they are staying away from the Forum, once they get better, or when they feel exhausted with reading about DP, and I honestly understand that. However, for me this Forum has only been beneficial, as it was a logical step in my recovery. I see it now as I saw it when I first logged in, as just one option in a multitude of options: embrace whatever works for you.
I did not come here first. I had three years before that, with DP on and off, to figure out what is wrong with me, to take therapy and meds, to go through stages of healing of at least some consequences of the trauma that made me this way. Not many people talk of trauma here, but I came to realize that most people I interacted with actually had some early attachment trauma in their life, that made them prone to perhaps dissociate more easily than other people.
The tone of this forum is set in a very rational way. It attracted me at once, as I ran scared from chats at other forums that I frequent, as I could not cope with the amount of trauma triggers. It does not mean that people with DPDR are not suffering. They do. Immensely. Just the nature of this state makes us detached from emotions, and it makes expressions of our suffering seem a bit detached, as well. I felt safe and at a precisely right distance here.
I had DP before, and I will have it again, I am almost certain about that. It does not scare me, though. Other times in life I got out of it on my own. This time I needed more support.
For people I know in rl, some close people, it means nothing when I say I am DP-free now. For a whole month. They absolutely cannot understand how precious it is and what does it mean to wake up one day and not feel completely out of one’s own mind, thoughts, body. Because they do not know what it means to be disconnected from life. So, the only people I can share that with are you.
I have a massive load of other stuff to deal with, so I cannot say, hey, wow, now I am DP-free and everything will be great now. My work on so many other issues has only just begun. But it is ok. I never expected to just miraculously step out of DP, and find everything else just where I left it. Basically, it subsided in me because now I am able to deal with other stuff.
Anyway, if you are struggling right now, know that DP can come and go. The experience of people with DP differs, and your recovery will probably be different than mine. If your DP has been with you for years, then you are a real-life hero, but no one will ever know the amount of will power and courage it takes for you to go through your days. I absolutely sympathize with you, and wish I could express my admiration for you in a better way than this. But you know what I mean.
I do not intend to stay away from this Forum, not only because I am certain I will be DPd again some time; I think it is a well needed self-help tool. To be able to say things knowing the others would understand without too much explanation, to vent, to get some feedback, was already huge for me.
Take care and see your around,
A.

What helped you the most? And what’s different now from when you were dp’d?

#4 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 07:24 AM

@Cali123,

 

I also try to understand what helped me the most, and I will try to put some of it down in written here, but it has to be understood contextually, as part of my whole life and experience. What worked for me may have nothing to do with another person's experience, as the causes of our conditions may be completely different.

 

Now, my DP is just one part of a complex condition caused by early childhood repetitive trauma. Trauma itself is of no importance here. What was important for me were the consequences of traumatization:

  1. My deeply hurt dignity, that resulted in self-loathing, toxic shame and some identity confusion, which developed further into dissociation (dissociative amnesia) and depersonalisation
  2. The loss of safety in my immediate surrounding, which resulted in generalized anxiety disorder and derealisation

My main problem as an adult was my inability to incorporate certain memories or parts of the memories into my life narrative (such as emotional memory of an event: I would remember the facts, but had no emotional relation to it, or I would remember something, but it didn’t feel as if it happened to me). My other problem was my inability to feel the unbearable feelings: of fear, shame, anger and hatred towards those I held responsible for my trauma.

 

My coping mechanism can be compared to an auto-immune response to certain type of information/emotion. As I was not able to process and incorporate certain experiences into my reality when I was young, the same mechanism continued to work into my adulthood, basically re-arranging my perception of reality, including my perception of self and of my emotions.

 

*

I was terribly DPd since January (and I was DPd on and off since the end of 2016), but I believe that in this period I was finally able to make some steps that helped me the most:

1. I took on a professional assignment (I am a freelancer), and I did well, even though I was rarely in my full cognitive capacity throughout the day. I put some extra hours and effort into it, and I did it.

2. I was lonely out of my mind with my DP (and some other issues), even though I have people in rl, so I joined several self-help forums and a chat, and took a lot of comfort from knowing people who go through something similar... It was helpful to step out of my usual manner of speaking about myself and my problems, or about life in general, trying to articulate it all in written for a kind stranger who is going to read it. It somehow made it more clear for myself as well.

3. I tried to understand who I am and what my needs in life are. I know this may sound as a cliché, but I was NEVER in touch with my real self, with or without DP. It was a deep and serious consequence of the trauma I suffered as a child, as I continued to have some kind of auto-censorship not only of my actions, but also of my thoughts. I tried to override that coping mechanism, that became obsolete in the meantime, and I was surprised with what I found, and what I continue to find in me.

4. I practiced some kind of radical candor in all communication. I was able to speak out loud things that I was not able before. I don't want to seem vague, so I will say that it had to do with clearing a lot of relations in life, but most specifically with my mother (who used my hurt and my attachment issues to manipulate me for most of my life, in order to get some kind of emotional satisfaction for her insatiable emotional needs). However, I found myself dealing with other relations in life just as well, both meaningful and superficial. I learned what it means to set boundaries. I will need to practice that a whole lot more, lol

5. I tried to accept my body, my pain, my illness and my mortality. These things never meant anything to me, as I knew how to dissociate from them for as long as I lived. I was detached from my body, and its needs, I could ignore the pain, I was not acceptant of my condition as a mental illness, and I never properly dealt with the issue of human condition and finiteness of life. I guess that what I tried to do and continue to do is some kind of radical acceptance of things for what they really are, and I hope to make it my new normal.

6. I had and still have problem with Genralized Anxiety Disorder, so I learned that holding a fidget helps, when I go outside. I do not feel as anxious any more, and I do not feel weird for squeezing a colorful rubber spiky ball in my hand. I only say this because anxiety was contributing my DP a lot, and I can feel it could do it again, so I try to keep it contained any way that I can.

7. I find it ok to protect myself from certain situations and stimuli (and people) that I find unpleasant. Before, I could not really tell the difference, as most things were unpleasant for me, because of anxiety.

 

In summary, I think that learning about myself, about my relation to my body and emotions, articulation of my life experience for others to read, connectedness to real-time emotions and timely reactions in accordance with them, all contributed to feeling less DPd over time, until at one point it completely subsided.

 

*

The most significant moment that tells me about being DPd/not being DPd is in the morning, when I wake up, or if I am still in a half-dream state. If I do not know who I am, where and when I am, and what awaits me that day, then I know I am DPd.

 

On the other hand, now I wake up knowing where my body is, where its limits are, who I am, who I live with, how old I am, and what I have in plan for that day. Some days it is thrilling, other days it is just normal...idk...sometimes I am in pain, or do not feel like doing anything, but it feels like me, like my body, and my mind, and my day to do with it what I want.



#5 Cali123

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 11:10 PM

@Cali123,

I also try to understand what helped me the most, and I will try to put some of it down in written here, but it has to be understood contextually, as part of my whole life and experience. What worked for me may have nothing to do with another person's experience, as the causes of our conditions may be completely different.

Now, my DP is just one part of a complex condition caused by early childhood repetitive trauma. Trauma itself is of no importance here. What was important for me were the consequences of traumatization:

  • My deeply hurt dignity, that resulted in self-loathing, toxic shame and some identity confusion, which developed further into dissociation (dissociative amnesia) and depersonalisation
  • The loss of safety in my immediate surrounding, which resulted in generalized anxiety disorder and derealisation
My main problem as an adult was my inability to incorporate certain memories or parts of the memories into my life narrative (such as emotional memory of an event: I would remember the facts, but had no emotional relation to it, or I would remember something, but it didn’t feel as if it happened to me). My other problem was my inability to feel the unbearable feelings: of fear, shame, anger and hatred towards those I held responsible for my trauma.

My coping mechanism can be compared to an auto-immune response to certain type of information/emotion. As I was not able to process and incorporate certain experiences into my reality when I was young, the same mechanism continued to work into my adulthood, basically re-arranging my perception of reality, including my perception of self and of my emotions.

*
I was terribly DPd since January (and I was DPd on and off since the end of 2016), but I believe that in this period I was finally able to make some steps that helped me the most:
1. I took on a professional assignment (I am a freelancer), and I did well, even though I was rarely in my full cognitive capacity throughout the day. I put some extra hours and effort into it, and I did it.
2. I was lonely out of my mind with my DP (and some other issues), even though I have people in rl, so I joined several self-help forums and a chat, and took a lot of comfort from knowing people who go through something similar... It was helpful to step out of my usual manner of speaking about myself and my problems, or about life in general, trying to articulate it all in written for a kind stranger who is going to read it. It somehow made it more clear for myself as well.
3. I tried to understand who I am and what my needs in life are. I know this may sound as a cliché, but I was NEVER in touch with my real self, with or without DP. It was a deep and serious consequence of the trauma I suffered as a child, as I continued to have some kind of auto-censorship not only of my actions, but also of my thoughts. I tried to override that coping mechanism, that became obsolete in the meantime, and I was surprised with what I found, and what I continue to find in me.
4. I practiced some kind of radical candor in all communication. I was able to speak out loud things that I was not able before. I don't want to seem vague, so I will say that it had to do with clearing a lot of relations in life, but most specifically with my mother (who used my hurt and my attachment issues to manipulate me for most of my life, in order to get some kind of emotional satisfaction for her insatiable emotional needs). However, I found myself dealing with other relations in life just as well, both meaningful and superficial. I learned what it means to set boundaries. I will need to practice that a whole lot more, lol
5. I tried to accept my body, my pain, my illness and my mortality. These things never meant anything to me, as I knew how to dissociate from them for as long as I lived. I was detached from my body, and its needs, I could ignore the pain, I was not acceptant of my condition as a mental illness, and I never properly dealt with the issue of human condition and finiteness of life. I guess that what I tried to do and continue to do is some kind of radical acceptance of things for what they really are, and I hope to make it my new normal.
6. I had and still have problem with Genralized Anxiety Disorder, so I learned that holding a fidget helps, when I go outside. I do not feel as anxious any more, and I do not feel weird for squeezing a colorful rubber spiky ball in my hand. I only say this because anxiety was contributing my DP a lot, and I can feel it could do it again, so I try to keep it contained any way that I can.
7. I find it ok to protect myself from certain situations and stimuli (and people) that I find unpleasant. Before, I could not really tell the difference, as most things were unpleasant for me, because of anxiety.

In summary, I think that learning about myself, about my relation to my body and emotions, articulation of my life experience for others to read, connectedness to real-time emotions and timely reactions in accordance with them, all contributed to feeling less DPd over time, until at one point it completely subsided.

*
The most significant moment that tells me about being DPd/not being DPd is in the morning, when I wake up, or if I am still in a half-dream state. If I do not know who I am, where and when I am, and what awaits me that day, then I know I am DPd.

On the other hand, now I wake up knowing where my body is, where its limits are, who I am, who I live with, how old I am, and what I have in plan for that day. Some days it is thrilling, other days it is just normal...idk...sometimes I am in pain, or do not feel like doing anything, but it feels like me, like my body, and my mind, and my day to do with it what I want.

I can relate to #5 a lot. Just trying to accept that this is my new normal but I just don’t think I’ll ever understand dp or why I still experience it. I get moments where I don’t think about it and I can go about my day, which is why I haven’t been on this site for months but idk, it’s just still in my subconscious I guess. It’s like I know I’m still experiencing it. I guess my mind just can’t let go. Idk. But congrats on feeling like you again lol I can’t wait to fully experience that feeling again. It’s like I’m in limbo lol like part of me can experience life, emotions, pain and regular human abilities and go about my day & the other half just can’t feel like it’s my body. Idk, I always wonder if it’s just psychosis and not anxiety..

#6 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 09:02 AM

Tnx for the congrats, Calismile.png

From what you say, I am almost certain it is not psychosis what you experience, as it sounds as DP spot on.

Give it all some more time...I believe it is already a very good thing that you can feel some connectedness to a range of emotions, even if only with some part of you.

I hope you will soon be able to connect with yourself even more.

I wish you all well, take care,

A.



#7 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 05:39 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I thought I should do a follow up to my previous post.

 

April and the first half of May were still ok, I enjoyed being out of the deep DP fog.

 

Soon, however, I was overwhelmed by all the feelings from trauma that DP kept at bay.

 

I felt desperate, suicidal, and it took a lot of effort to start processing those feelings, in particular of anger, rage, and hatred, as those were the feelings I was once denied to express. I would in consequence feel a deep self-hatred, because my learned behaviour taught me to rather destroy myself than admit to the horrible reality. Fortunately, I was now able to reason with myself where those self-destructive thoughts come from, and not to act upon them.

 

In August, I became aware that I still do have a lot of dissociation (being unable to concentrate on some tasks, losing parts of conversation), and probably DP to some extent, but not as deep as before. One major trait of this disorder in my case is to hide things away from me, in particular to leave me ignorant that dissociation is actually taking place. I am often unable to see it while it is happening, and it sometimes creates confusion. I seem to be ok at some point, while in reality I am using my coping mechanism presenting myself as doing ok, or actually believing that I am ok, while in reality I am not.

 

In retrospect, in the previous period, I would have moments of not identifying with certain aspects of my life, seeing them as remote or strange, observing them completely emotionally detached. On the other hand, I have re-connected with a lot of aspects of my professional life, and I am able to work and actually be good in what I do, just as I used to. What bothers me the most is how detached I feel from the people that I know I love. As my trauma is relational, it seems that the only way to see the perpetrators for who they are, and not to turn the hatred towards myself, was to switch off – again – some emotional response, in particular when it comes to close personal relations. So, unfortunately, it influenced all of my close relationships. I still try to deal with it...

 

Anyway, I want to say to whomever reads this and perhaps identifies with some of the things that I go through, that there is some sense of progress to it all, no matter how hard it is sometimes, and I think that this sense of progress is actually keeping me strong. I carried the burden of trauma my whole life. Since the end of 2016, when I was first dx with DPDR, I have gone through so many different stages. However, even when I was completely desperate I somehow clung on to the next step that will bring me closer to myself. This is not an advice, I basically try to understand how and why I go on, but if anything, I would say that I, as many people around here, have some crazily strong survival instinct, and I just won’t let go.

 

Take care,

A.



#8 Broken

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:31 AM

"One major trait of this disorder in my case is to hide things away from me, in particular to leave me ignorant that dissociation is actually taking place. I am often unable to see it while it is happening, and it sometimes creates confusion"

 

I completely agree with this description. I too have relational trauma, and as much as I want to lie to myself the cause is physical and can be cured through supplements, in reality it will only be dealt with by processing the trauma. I have signed up for a magic mushroom trial which I hope to get on later this year. I have tried therapy, emdr etc but nothing can make that trauma "real". It still feels numb and detached as a memory so I cant process it properly

 

I posted this recently, you may agree with what it says:

 

https://www.dpselfhe...ription-of-dpd/



#9 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 10:04 AM

Hey, Broken,

 

Tnx for the comment, and also for the suggestion, I read your other post, too.

 

Since we both have relational trauma, I will go a bit more in depth here about its consequences on me, with hope that it may have some meaning to you too. I have another dx, besides DPDR, which is dissociative amnesia. You probably know about it, but both these disorders belong to the dissociation spectrum. I like the idea of the spectrum in this case, because it allows for the possibility to be more or less dissociated, or dissociated in different ways, but it is quite clear that the mechanism behind it is the same. Experientially, for me they are just different manifestations of the same thing.

 

My dx of dissociative amnesia is established based on the lack of childhood memories roughly before the age of ten, and not even all the memories, but those that have even remote connection to the abuse that was inflicted on me. I basically could not remember my life before the age of ten, except for some time spent in school (it was safe space for me, but I never heard a word during classes, because I was completely dissociated), and some time spent away from home, such as during long summer holidays when I was away from the abuser.

 

I cannot tell you exactly where DPDR ends and where the dissociative amnesia starts, because I think that there is one and the same mechanism behind them, as I said. But, what I managed to determine with dissociative amnesia, while struggling to come to terms with memories of the abuse is this ... bear with me, lol, this is a bit difficult to put to words...like: I remember something, but there is one part of it missing, and that is emotional aspect of this memory. It is not even that I see it from the third person perspective, even though it happens sometimes, it is more that a whole emotional aspect that memories otherwise have for us is missing. Some part of my mind, removed the unbearable weight of the emotional aspect of that memory, so that I can go on with my life.

 

It continued to shield me even when it was no longer necessary, into my adulthood. After I was not longer able to spend incredible amounts of energy just on keeping that emotional weight away from my daily functioning, I basically crashed under it, because the emotional aspect of these memories carried their real meaning: that is where all the trauma began. That is where all the fear and horror reside. (I got DPDR, in its debilitating, acute sense in the winter of 2016, and it subsided a few times, but in the winter of 2018 my battle with core trauma and its legacy began, and that is when my dissociative amnesia was dx, and I recovered my first emotionally charged memories at that time.)

 

I realized two things during this process of recovering the emotional aspect of traumatic memories.

 

One: that I have an internal avoidance of these memories. That I am so scared of them, not only because of the violence itself, but also because I was scared to death not to betray what was going on in my early life. When I managed to find courage to look that way, I realized that I have been scared to death by the perpetrator, and then shamed to death, so much that in my mind, any thought of revealing the truth would mean the death of me or someone close to me.

 

Two: that I have something that I would call amnesia for amnesia. Every time I would remember some bits of these emotionally horrific experiences, there was a mechanism in me erasing them immediately. If I weren't an absolute nerd, writing down everything that was going on with me, I would not believe myself. I would literally wake up one day without that memory, or emotional part of that memory, and go back to what I was writing, and I was like...holly cannoli...wtf...

 

I trust my memories much more these days, and I managed to incorporate a lot of them into my life narrative. Like, I am not ashamed to tell people I know that I have been abused, and that I deal with a lot of consequences of the trauma that came out of that abuse. I see it literally as a wound on my brain and in my body, as it influenced everything, probably from my brain's functions to my hormonal and other functions. There is no end to different auto-immune reactions that I had, from a very young age, and a whole lot of other things that often go hand in hand with trauma, including anxiety, somatization, depression.

 

I don't know if it can be completely healed, but I can tell you that I had no other way than to face the reality of those memories, in their full scope, emotions and everything. It does not mean, however, that a person has to remember everything. There is no point in trying to remember every sad detail, but it is necessary to understand that it really happened, and in order to do that, we have to acknowledge its emotional aspect. And I can tell you that it was a real-life horror to live through, but I kept repeating to myself that what a small child managed to survive, certainly a grown-up can manage to process. For this particular step, it took me a year and a half, well, closer to 20 months actually, and I think there is more to come, that I yet have to deal with.

 

I just wish to tell you to be good to yourself, to be kind and patient, and give yourself as much time as you need to sort it all out. I always liked this forum, because people are compassionate, but not in that usual, "sorry it happened" way, but in a more rational way. In this fashion, I have to say I prefer to look forward, and even though I appreciate when people say "sorry it happened", it somehow does not do anything for me. I prefer to say things that have to do with the present moment, and I hope you will manage to be as present in your life as possible.

 

Anyway...sorry for this long post, it is possible that I repeat myself...

 

Wish you well,

A.



#10 Broken

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 05:00 PM

Thank you Anna I really appreciate your reply.

It sounds as though we have a somewhat similar experience and very traumatic childhood. Thank you, being kind to myself is definitely a problem. I would dissociate as a childI believe and cant be certain of my memories. But remember being obsessed with never displaying anger and trying to read other peoples minds so I could understand them...

I have so much fear and dread in me 24/7. I have recently started to focus on it. As awful as it feels I try to tell myself it is only a feeling and wont kill me. I hope this will help.

Have you ever done group therapy? I am half tempted to try this. To speak to others that have been through similar trauma

#11 AnnaGiulia

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:39 AM

Hey Broken,

 

Yes, you are right when you say to yourself that it is now safe to feel, no matter how awful it is. It is only a feeling, and now as a grown-up you are finally able to process that feeling, to put it into words and to place it in a particular context. It is by no means easy, but it can be done - at least that is what I say to myself, and truly believe.

 

I would have definitely tried group therapy, or a survivors support group if I had the opportunity. Unfortunately, there were no such options where I live, and I found a lot of support online instead. For me it was the most important to articulate my experience and to put it into words somewhere where I felt safe and understood. My favourite phrase is: if it is mentionable, it is manageable :)

 

Wish you well,

A.







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