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.