For the last few weeks I have been doing course work on trauma. This has been both enlightening and profoundly painful. One of the projects that I am doing for the course is a video on PTSD. Two weeks ago I thought that it would be a good idea to do a trial run. No one was home so I sat down with my computer and started. Worked for about a half hour. I thought that I had accomplished a great deal. And I had.
What I also accomplished was to trigger a panic/anxiety attack that lasted for about a week. It was not always strong but it was relentless. Sleep was difficult and so was general functioning. At one point the anxiety attack struck with such force that I thought I was having a heart attack. (Since I have panic attacks frequently I found out and learned the signs of a real heart attack) This was so intense that it scared me and my family. I thought that I would not survive it. It scared my family so much that they put me on lock down from all school work for three days. I could read fiction, if it was not stressful and needed to do extreme self care.
The point of this is that though I took the three days off I went back to work on learning. Set up a new work schedule and increased the self care. It was a stretch for my comfort zone. I pushed the boundaries of my bubble a little harder than I usually do. But I grew and I learned more resilience. Each hard step can make us stronger if we grow from it and mot move back into our shell. That little chestnut was painful. But learning that like stretching muscles is painful so is stretching my bubble.And that information was very affirming.
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And this is why one shouldn’t push a client who’s had trauma too hard to remember unless (a) their current life is stable and/or(b) they have supports nearby – family or friends who know. Thanks for writing this and doing this.