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My personal thoughts on how to deal with traumatic experiences

2011-10-07 21:19:10 by Pizza9000

Some of this is going to be hard for me to write, but that's ok. That probably just means I'm long overdue to be affirming it to someone. Well, who knows me better than me? Noone. And that's unfortunate, because I don't know myself that well. But I think I'm starting to learn.

I see a lot of people go through a very painful experience and it is always amazing to me how they just pick up and carry on. Not that it's ever that simple. There is always something going on behind the scenes. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has to do with the immediate time after the event occurs and how that time is spent that determines how the person deals with the experience.

The way I think it works is this. In the immediate aftermath, I mean somewhere in the vicinity of the next couple of weeks after, of a traumatic experience what I think happens to people is they become vulnerable and they really become a different person. I also think they are very susceptible to outside influences, which is why I've always thought it's really best to just leave them alone for a little while after the event occurs. Painful as it may be, I really think it's best if the person just has complete solitude for a while so they can gather their thoughts without distraction. If they are immediately subject to outside influence, I don't think it's necessarily a BAD thing, but I think it takes a lot longer for the person to understand what they went through and how it changed them because they have so many people telling them about THEIR experiences. That's just the way it is. People talk from their own experiences (like I'm doing right now). We can never get outside our own skin, so we have to do it that way.

In my example, in the immediate aftermath of my mother's death, I found myself surrounded by family members who all had ideas about what would be best for me. Everyone had ideas about how I should feel, what I should do. Me, a 13 year old, subject to a lot of confusion about the world in the first place, was pretty readily willing to just accept whatever comfort I was given. I'd take any kind of advice on moving forward with my life (i.e. getting a job, studying hard in school, how to be sociable). Just anything to make the pain go away.

I was in therapy for a while, and I don't remember it doing much good. For a period during my freshmen year of high school, with the help of some dopey self help book I was recommended, I told everyone that my emotional state was due to a metaphorical "gremlin". I don't know why I was recommended that book, but reading it as an adolescent, I wasn't really capable of making the distinction between an actual gremlin and the vague concept they talked about in the book. I think that was the beginning of my period where I didn't have any friends, come to think of it.....

I wandered through high school in a complete daze. Teenage angst doesn't even begin to describe it. I saw so many negative things in the world, and the fact that noone else seemed like they cared about or even noticed the things I did just made it worse. I felt completely alone. I did develop social relationships during that time, but in general, the only comfort I found was playing my guitar. My guitar has done a lot for me and I've spent a lot of time with it. That's one bond, at least, that can never be broken.

It's coming up on ten years since my mom has been dead. The person that I was ten years ago is gone. I've only recently, in the past year or so, begun to feel comfortable with myself again. I don't know how to put it into words. It almost feels like I'm just now realizing what my life is now. Maybe this is that phase they call "Acceptance". I think that's a bunch of bullshit. Nobody ever ""accepts"" these things. You just learn to live with them. You figure out what you need to do to make it through the day and you develop a personality based on that. The pain, as in the feelings, may not always be on the surface, but the memories are always there.

I don't think I've made myself very clear with this entry, but something just made me post it. If anything, it's been an exercise in self-exploration. I think the point I wanted to make about traumatic experiences is that a person needs time alone in order to understand and learn from the experience. If they aren't able to get that, understanding yourself can be a long process. I don't know if I've made any progress in understanding myself. Honestly, I've questioned how much it even matters. All this introspection is very narcissistic anyway.

Ahh, I'm digging a hole here. People do different things for different reasons. If I could get outside myself, I might be able to understand.


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2011-10-08 01:24:07

Introspection CAN be narcissistic, but not always. Some people are just wired to live rich, inner lives.