Nov 17, 2011

The Journey, Interconnectedness

This week I have been in residency. Love it, and I want to talk about the interconnectedness of the world, and relay that message across the world. We as humans desire to have and maintain contacts, and facebook and other social medias show just that. How many did you make contact with on your social network, and does that make you feel good knowing that you can talk to them no matter where they are at on this earth. It is something, up until this point I had not considered in the human condition, how we resonate with one another, how we feel everyday, and who is apart of that social framework. Disturbances that arise in peoples lives because they are isolated, fail at levels of contact, are afraid to open up, and feel destined to be alone in this life. It makes me also think about the damage that is being done across the world, the contacts that we have are really limited. Children also realize the value of being connected, to be able to share, trust, and feel as if they are included. Without that feeling many fall into despair, and some fall into crisis. This week has rejuvinated in me what it means to connect and fulfill that need, relate to others in a way that not only feels great, but showed me and others that the connections we made will last for a lifetime. It is such a powerful feeling to have these newly formed friends, to be able to share, trust, and be able to identify with. I encourage all children affected by bullying to reach out, and know you are not alone in this world. You have got to see this

Nov 2, 2011

Freeze, Disruption, and Discharge

There seems to be some confusion as to the freeze response we face as humans. Take for example, Dr. Scaer addresses interrupting the discharge process. In a way, if you look at a teaching instance in school and the teacher disrupts the process going on in the mind, regardless of any threat that is present, snaps the child to the forefront with symptoms of rapid heartbeat and feelings of intense emotions, so much so they flush severely, tingling under the facial skin, and goose bumps. It also causes them retraumatization, as the body reacts to the situation as another threat. Essentially, the minds mechanism to recognize threat starts all over again, however, during the concious state, they cannot re-enter the state of freeze, and the only process available is the emotional state they feel. It is like living in a slow motion event, startled severely, but completely concious to what is happening. It causes stress on the body that I cannot even begin to describe, and the tingling moves around in different parts of the body until it finally diminishes. After the episode, the childs awareness is heightened to what I would like to think of as 5x their normal awareness level. I tend to think of this as putting the body in overdrive, and causes a lot of irrational thinking. Later, the child goes home, and looks at the event, again enters the freeze state, and what is interesting is that they cannot seem to escape these events in the mind. Dr. Scaer makes a great point about how trauma when not resolved sustains itself in the procedural memory of our survival instincts.

In the past I talked about getting treated and trying to find the cause of the sped up thoughts, that caused problems for speech formation, the person seemingly gets lost in what they are saying. I theorize that the process that was so active freed up, causing memory to be more organized, and in a way speeding forward. Speech that is not normally necessary in the survival mechanism becomes overwhelmed with the processing of new information, up until that point that the brain couldn't process new information readily. The narrowing of the mind simply lets go, and new sensory input is starting to be absorbed more readily, at a rate of 10x the brains normalcy.

Also, it should be noted that upon successful treatment, that the emotions attached to the procedural memory that allowed the child to survive and feel in their world, are also going to release forward, and will cause what some may think of a breakdown episode, crying without reason, and heavily so all day long, yet the child or adult may feel happy all day as well. The borrowing that takes place in the brain to help store and review information upon demand has to learn to work as separate processes, implicit needs to function in a way that is long term, and the explicit memory needs to re-adapt to the notion of taking in information in the short term for sorting and sifting information. The time frame for this can range up to a few months until normalcy returns.

Now, what happens after a child or adult comes back to the forefront and is learning again? Several things happen, exploration, noticing certain inescapable symptoms (aftereffects) like tremors that stay or diminish over time, and they start thinking about back when they were social and attempt to self-actualize from what they remember. The problem is, as adults they are lost in this process, and takes them a lot of time to start learning with others, whom are often associating with other trauma victims. This can have its positives and negative values in corresponding.

However, what is most notable is that they continue to observe people long after treatment, and watch non-verbal cues very carefully, and can almost predict when someone else is starting to get angry, or expectations of what may happen may have already been thought of prior to the conversation. Those they view as not being able to trust based on the behavior they exhibit can cause them to isolate from them. In one sense, the procedural memory will take quite a bit of time to keep evaluating and discovering there is no percieved threat from those they used to view as threatening. In some ways, you can look at this as an extensive lack in their social knowledgebase, based on only the social cues they learned in a negative and incorrect fashion. Their perception is truly based on a dangerous world, more heightened than any other person.

People who have rectified information that was previously stored as flashbacks, can read things that can trigger a state of hyperarousal, and can bring back a memory associated to what they just read. Chances are in reading that some may very well do so, because they can associate to the information that is coming in. I would have to say that after a year the person if in social situation can learn enough to evaluate their held biases, and correct some of the anxieties. However, one of the worst things trauma survivors can do is to isolate and think this is now going to get better. It takes practice, and a good amount of effort has to be applied.

Oct 17, 2011

PTSD and complex trauma

A major breakthrough has happened on bullying even if they don't realize it already. How it effects us as a person, our mind, and the control it has over us has been discovered. However, not completely in the effects that remain such as migraines to name one. Can bullying a child and expecting them to rationally have a knowledge-base of how to interpret data from a narrowed capacity due to trauma, no.

Adults have to start stepping up, start educating those who are hurt, because the knowledge you help to build within the childs mental warding off ability is their true lifeline to figuring out the details "they don't understand".

Everything we do daily is emotional, physical, and takes a lot out of a child trying to learn in an abusive environment. Repeated abuses shut down this window of opportunity during a time when the sheaths are forming (middle school) around the wiring in the brain. For example, if you are right handed and use a mouse with your left hand, imagine how you can do that after a while with some practice. It's uncomfortable, awkward  and to say the least frustrating.You have essentially trained a new skill. Imagine going into school daily and feeling this way, the frustrations you must encounter, and have no way to understand it. Children who go through bullying ARE LEARNING a negative skill. How to close you out, their mind starts narrowing in what it can learn, and further adaptation is thwarted. Isolation becomes a factor in the process of this shutdown. Memories will have emotions tagged to them without the ability to integrate normally.

Thus, you have untagged memories that are "stuck" in a time and space that remains unresolved, until someone steps in to interrupt the impeding process. Giving the right information for them to be able to apply is easy enough should the person "know" what the child is experiencing. It is why it is crucial to have an environment that allows information to flow freely, and is safe for them. The child has to be able to click with the information and self realize to more effectively deal with the information that they hold in the mind. After information is released it is important to rectify it to its end,  and release the emotional hold that has been attached to it for so long. What has been placed in the subconscious has to be brought forward in a way that is in the present, and remains there for further exploration. The studies and new theories address this, and up until now I was unaware of them.They bring good insight to any counselor in the field today.
Authors like:
Robert Scaer: The Vagal System
Robert Scaer: The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency
Emotion Focused Therapy for Complex Trauma
Emotional Freedom Techniques
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).