Friday, May 28, 2010

commitment and a trauma time line

i've finished chapter two of my workbook. this chapter was all about how to stay safe while working through the rest of the exercises....especially in chapter three. the third chapter is about the trauma itself. writing about it, remembering it, documenting it.

at the very end of chapter two there is a quote from goethe:

"until one is committed, there is hesitancy...the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred....Begin it now."

so here it is. i'm committed. i'm saying it for the whole world to hear. i am committed to doing this work. i am committed to overcoming this difficult part of my life.

i've started chapter three. i've done a trauma inventory--what it is i've been through. i've done an exercise on my positive traits (which was very difficult for me to do). i did an inventory and scale of the frequency and severity of my PTSD symptoms. my next project? a trauma timeline. here is the exercise:

One way to record your trauma history is to draw a trauma time line. Take a roll of white paper and, beginning at the end of the roll, mark spaces for each of the years of your life on a horizontal line. This line can be a foot or many feet long. You may want to start the beginning of your life a few inches from the end of the roll so you can record any events that happened prior to its beginning. Did your mother have any serious prebirth events that could have impacted you (was she battered, did she fall, was she in an accident, was there a significant death during her pregnancy, was she confined to bed, etc.)?

Put any significant events that happened to you throughout your life above the horizontal line. These can be positive or neutral events (e.g., starting school, moving to a new home, first date), as well as traumatic events (e.g., illness, injury, abuse). Below the line, record events that happened to others who are important to you; these should be events that impacted you as an observer or witness but did not directly happen to you (deaths, births, etc.). You may use photos, magazine pictures, personal items, or drawings of yourself and others, placing them above or below the line to symbolize events, persons, and places.

If you wish, you can extend your time line into the future beyond your present age and put in some of your future intentions. This time line has been called "the Torah of trauma" by some individuals. You may find that constructing a time line is too retraumatizing to do alone; seek professional help if you need to. Also, take your time. Do a year or a few years at a time and then take a break. Take time to relax, regroup, and unwind.

i am a bit overwhelmed by this. last night i spent two hours on the phone with my mom, brainstorming the events of my life. i have to say that while most of what we talked about weren't really "significant" or "major" events, there were a lot of things that i didn't remember. and most of the things i recalled right away were negative....but overall, the pages of notes i took list positive events. this really kind of opened my eyes, i think. the negative experiences overshadow much of my life. but i had so many positive experiences...good, happy times with my family, my friends, life events that i just don't think about often enough.

so tomorrow night i will be starting on this time line. wish me luck.


kroessner said...

I am so proud of you. Seriously, I am so impressed at the work and the self inventory that you have done. Thank you so much for sharing your journey of introspection with the world through your blog. You are truly amazing.

VICKI IN AZ said...

I am so proud of you too! This is so brave and to share it all here, is generous, you are a leader.

I have many thoughts as I read what you have written. Firstly, since I no longer speak to my mom, yeah it catches my breath to know you talked to yours for so long about your life.

I know the feeling very well of realizing that there were so many good times and I just don't remember them because I just don't remember any time. I am grateful for this now. In years past it made me crazy and I felt like I was making all of it up.
My therapist explained to me that when you forget it is like surgery for cancer, they have to remove much good tissue to be sure that all of the disease is gone.

Forgetting, a curse and a blessing.

Sending you love,

Paula said...

I join! I am very proud of you. Lately I had to focus on getting my physical stability back after surgery and now Iam coming along. Finally I have time to read all your past posts! You are moving fast forward! But then we all have our own paths, dont we. My one will take me far out over the next 3 month.