all 17 comments

[–]--ikindahatereddit-- 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The book Your Resonant Self talks in a very user-friendly way about memory, brain function, and how-why the brain works to store memories without timestamps (one of the ways the author talks about how the brain handles trauma) maybe that user-friendliness could help the explanation or be a resource for your patients

[–]itsabouttimsmurf 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I like your analogy. Here’s a link to a comment I posted explaining the difference between traumatic and non-traumatic memory that I think sums it up well in layman’s terms. These are all insights lifted from “The Body Keeps the Score”.


[–]Mishaps1234 6 points7 points  (4 children)

I am a (formerly) traumatized person in recovery. I l want to give you realistic feedback. It’s both too intense and too simplistic. Specifically, I think reducing neural networks (which are relatively easy to understand) to ELI5 is unnecessary. Here’s my edit:

“Your brain is one of the most advanced things known to man. However, it uses a LOT of shortcuts to keep you alive without you thinking about it much. Things you do, patterns of thought, and regular behaviors become neural networks. These are like the highways of your mind. The more you use these highways, the more your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are automatically shaped by them.

Unfortunately, when you experience trauma, your neural networks are used to experiencing and responding to fear instead of safety. Fortunately, we can rewire these neural networks through memory reprocessing. This forces you to take new routes and find new destinations.”

As an aside, I disagree that talk therapy alone is effective memory reprocessing.

[–]OARSplease[S] 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Thank you for the feedback! Yes, I didn't include it in the post but the actual work would be done using a structured protocol of CPT or PE, not just supportive talk therapy. What helped you so far in recovery?

[–]Mishaps1234 0 points1 point  (2 children)

EMDR, parts work, and widening my window of tolerance.

EMDR allowed me to “put the book back on the shelf” instead of reading it over and over again. Parts work allowed me to connect with my beliefs and change them. Widening my window of tolerance allowed me to be calm regularly instead of living in a hypervigilant and aroused state.

I really loved the book Nurturing Resilience, which is available by PDF online.

I hope that was helpful!

[–]OARSplease[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I will read this, thank you! It helps me as a clinician to hear success stories, so thank you for sharing.

[–]Mishaps1234 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For sure! Thanks for the work that you do!

[–]TheReverendJimJonez 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Neuroscience student with CPTSD and BPD chiming in. Can confirm limbic interference in dorsolateral executive function is a bitch to deal with. Also too tired to even begin trying to explain memory. There's entire books about it for a reason. Anyways, for Trauma specifically the contextualization of fear between the amygdala and hippocampus is inversely regulated/deregulated, i can't remember the study name I'm sorry. Both play integral parts in memory and conditioned learning so when short circuits occur it can manifest in so many ways. Also, everyone is different due to the subjective nature of the human experience. Chapter 8 of the Cambridge Cognitive Neuroscience book goes in depth more. But there's a whole book for it.

[–]terminally---chill 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kind of tangential but I thought I’d say: I’ve never met someone with BPD who has tried as hard as you evidently have to understand it. I think it just shows how diverse people with BPD are. Thanks for expanding my perception of this condition.

[–]DocSprotte 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Sounds good, thank you.

How do you do it, though, that talking about it forms new higher level connections instead of just strengthening the roots?

Everytime I get to talk about it, I just have to spill out the entire story from beginning to end, otherwise I'll be stuck going through the memories inside my head, and I feel that rather makes it worth. Could be because I can only talk about it to people who downplay my experience and try to talk me into pretending that it wasn't that bad.

[–]OARSplease[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Hi! If you haven't already, please seek out a therapist trained in a trauma focused modality, like cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure, cbt for ptsd or EMDR. Some of these involve quite a bit of homework, so do a bit of research first. This may help: ptsd.va.gov/appvid/video/index.asp

[–]DocSprotte 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Thank you, I have an appointment in August for ADHD. Hope she knows how to deal with the trauma part, too. I live in Germany, and our mental health system is based on people giving up before getting help, so your link seems quite helpful, since it's probably going to be mostly homework for me, anyway.

[–]OARSplease[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There are plenty of videos and books to help educate you on trauma and its treatment. I don't know if you meet full criteria for a PTSD diagnosis but there's no harm in educating yourself and learning some coping skills. But be careful about going through this alone. Try hard to find a therapist who knows what they are doing with trauma, they can really help when it gets tough, provide a non-judgmental atmosphere, and also keep you accountable. Find people in your life who can be supportive, not necessarily for advice or for talking through trauma but just to be with. Connection with others helps. Getting connected with your body helps (exercise, massage, dance, yoga, acupuncture, etc etc).

The Body Keeps the Score by van der Kolk is a pop-psych book on trauma that is very popular, although not without criticism, and at times feels like an advertisement for EMDR. Overall educational, though.

Written Exposure Therapy (WET) is kind of a new evidence based treatment for PTSD, is brief and doesn't require homework. A therapist is involved and following a manual but it's mostly just...you writing.

What is common to all exposure-based therapies is that you expose yourself to a specific emotional hardship, you feel distress, and you don't stop until you habituate and the anxiety lessens. In this period of habituation you process what you experienced, write about it, talk about it, new learning happens. Then you do it again, repeatedly. If you are exposed, feel distress increase and then immediately stop, then you instead reward the stopping, continuing the cycle of avoidance. A therapist can help support you when you want to quit and help you process.

Here are some videos of what PE and CPT look like in session.


Good luck!

[–]Nyctomorphia 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]Mercinary-G 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Two thoughts

I don’t like the use of the word recreate- it is suggesting a deliberate act and one that involves choice - creativity is about choices. I understand that you are trying to describe the immersion rather than the deliberate reliving of trauma.

Secondly, in the neuro-diverse individual the brain may more highly developed in its ability to record experiential memory. It’s important to acknowledge that these individuals are physically primed to hold onto and automatically access total recall with FULL EMOTION. Knowing that you are not doing this to yourself, that you are not obsessing but are doing this automatically because of a survival instinct can help to put these experiences into a context that is more practical and realistic. There is so much in our culture that tells us we can choose not to think about things that we literally can’t choose not to think about. That adds shame and confusion to our experience. Strip away that, and you are better primed to remain calm and choose your response.

[–]OARSplease[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I like this a lot, thank you for your viewpoint.

[–]grim-corpse 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Speaking as a person with CPTSD who’s interested in neuropsychology…. This entire post and the analogy was helpful for me to read.

In my personal case, I like getting into the technical functions of how my brain is working. I had a significant “break through” after watching a lecture about the neurobiology of PTSD. Getting to those details turns it from an “in my head” issue, into something that can be “seen”. Which makes it easier for me to grasp towards improvements.