Monday, April 28, 2014

Our bodies bear the burden

This is an excerpt from the forward of Robert Scaer's book The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease by Bessel van der Kolk:

"When people develop PTSD, the replaying of the trauma leads to sensitization: with every replay of the trauma there is an increasing level of distress. In those individuals, the traumatic event, which started out as a social and interpersonal process, develops secondary biological consequences that are hard to reverse once they become entrenched. Because these patients have intolerable sensations and feelings, their tendency is to actively avoid them. Mentally, they split off or “dissociate” these feelings; physically, their bodies tighten and brace against them. They seem to live under the assumption that if they feel those sensations and feelings, they will overwhelm them forever. These are patients who rely on medications, drugs, and alcohol to make these sensations and feelings go away, because they have lost confidence that they can learn to tolerate them without outside help. The fear of being consumed by these “terrible” feelings leads them to believe that only not feeling them will make them go away".

There is no way around trauma except through it. If we're at our wit's end, it's hard to be there for ourself, which is why the support of others in helping us through it, is crucial. This is also the reason why children who suffer trauma at the hands of their care givers are deeply traumatised. (You can read more on betrayal trauma from Jennifer Freyd).

Try tapping on the following phrases:

I'm tapping to help me through this

I'm tapping for the courage to be able to feel ...

Even though it's excruciating to feel ... I'm willing to feel 10% of it

My body bears the burden of ...

Even though I rationalise things away, my body tells a different story

I feel ... about my body and its symptoms

Even though I want to be over this, my body isn't and that makes me feel ...

If it ever occurs to people to value the honour of the mind equally with the honour of the body, we shall get a social revolution of a quite unparalleled sort ~ Dorothy L Sayers

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