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How to remember.....


ManyFaces
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so.... After realizing that the problems I've had these past couple years, weren't going to go away, I finally went back to see my old shrink. We've had a couple sessions so far, but last week we briefly touched upon the concept of trauma. We talked for a bit about all the variables involved in trauma and all the crap that goes with it. But we said nothing about the trauma I have experienced

I want to talk to someone about all the crap I've seen/done/experienced, but I don't know how. I mean where do you start ya know? where was the start of it all ya know? was there a specific start? how do I tell the difference between an actual traumatic event and a simply horrible event? How do I know that the events I remember are the ones that influenced me? how do i know which ones didn't? how do I break though the haze that surrounds some of the memories? why are some sharp and other dull? how do i know these "memories" are not simply products of my imagination? How do I place these events in order? how do I place these events in chronological order if I cannot place any of there times?

Its all so troubling right now. Theres so much to sift though, its tough. A large part of the problem is also my inability to tell time. I mean I can read a watch and all that, but not with my memories. I'm know I'll never be able to remember things like what month it was at the time, or what date, but i can't even distinguish between different years. The best I can do is seasons, though sometimes there are markers for dates/seasons and what not. I can figure out some of the times of some memories, but mostly I cannot. I have memories of me as kid mixed in with those of me as a teen. How can I sort though all the memories, and deal with them, if I can't place them?

whatever. screw it. maybe this is just me trying to run again, trying not to have to deal with the events that have shaped me. who knows? who cares? i'll live

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JP, Putting things in chronological order is my own idea. And while I agree it might distract me for a time it is very needed. I can only place most of my memories within to 4yr blocks of time which is a large gap. If I cannot place the events to even with in a year of the actual time, I don't think I can properly judge weather they affected my actions/emotions/thought. Many of the "crappy" memories lump themselves together and overlap which causes me great distress. For example I can remember my friends head getting split open at one of my birthday party's, one of my not so good birth days. And afterward my parents getting into an altercation in the steet. The problem is my friend got his head split at his own birthday party, and this altercation in the street did not happen on his birthday. Hence my need to put things into Chronological order. I feel that putting things in order will help me put the memories in there own respectful places, as well as give me a better understanding to why and what I've done. Without knowing the age or around the age that these things happened to me, I cannot deal with the emotions or sort though them properly.

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I went to see my shrink on monday after missing last weeks session and got alot done. He explained a couple things, that not to sound like a prick i was already aware of, but hearing it from someone else's mouth made it feel somehow more "normal" or easier to deal with. We talked for a little while before he brought up an interesting point, I still do no consider myself a victim. I will not say I am aware of all of the crap I've faced, but I am aware of a large part of it. Being aware of the past, and being aware that others have faced much worse and survived to tell the tale makes my problems seem irrational and insignificant. Its more then that though, if I viewed myself as a victim I don't think I'd be able to cope. Acknowledging that there was nothing you could have done to prevent an event to happen, acknowledging that you were a powerless entity in a chain of events is a hard thing to do sometimes. I refuse to see myself as a victim, rather a survivor.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Manyfaces,

This is why we use the term "survivor" rather than "victim." The term survivor is much more empowering. The word victim implies passivity and helplessness and no one likes to think that way.

As to the question of how to know which events in your life were traumatizing and which were troubling and the difference between the two, there are two answers:

1. Any event that was life threatening because of its overwhelming force and real threat to you life is traumatic. Survivors of earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, rapes, etc. are people with trauma.

2. A lot depends on each individual and their past history and neurological makeup, as to whether something results in a traumatic disorder. People can tolerate a lot of trauma and not have PTSD. PTSD comes in when a person is over their limit as to the amount they can tolerate.

For example, being in a war and facing battle up close may not be traumatizing for people who have not experienced trauma in the past and who have strong neurological systems. That is why some soldiers return home from war and are fine.

But, every human being has a limit. Go over that limit of trauma and they become "traumatized" and suffer PTSD.

If you experienced a lot of trauma then you may now have PTSD and are a survivor of those events.

Allan

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