Trauma and PTSD collected info, commentary and links
(Update 2015 — in just the three years since this post was first written trauma is now quite universally being spoken about in mental health circles. It’s not necessarily truly being practiced on the frontline of social services nor is the ubiquity of trauma involvement with all the major psych diagnosis being profoundly understood, but the change in the literature and what gets reported in the media is quite promising.)
A lot of people like infographics as it makes visual facts that might not otherwise sink in. The most important fact on this infographic and one I’ve underscored again and again on this blog is that the vast majority of folks in the mental health system (this infographic says 90%) have been subject to trauma. That was certainly my experience when I worked in the mental health system. It’s just starting to be widely acknowledged now. It was not when I was working in the system even though it was obvious to anyone who could actually see what was in front of their faces.
As a social worker and clinician working with “the seriously mentally ill” for many years, I never came upon someone who didn’t have fairly severe traumas in their histories. I can pretty confidently say those who I encountered who were in that particular labeled segment had a solid 100% rate of trauma in their histories. What gets called mental illness is in large part a reaction to trauma. It’s quite simple really. When we start listening to people’s stories of pain rather than numbing them out and effectively silencing them with neurotoxic drugs we will start healing them. Until then people will remain broken. One of the most basic needs for a wounded human being to heal is to be seen. Recognized. Validated. Yes.
Without appropriate care and integration trauma changes both our bodies and minds for many years and sometimes for our entire lives. Right now the mental health system knows virtually nothing about how to care for people who have been traumatized and in fact often traumatizes them further. It’s downright dangerous to subject a traumatized person to most social services. This is a tragedy that has to end. The body is very much impacted and that is why diet and lifestyle (exercise etc) matter too.
There are, in fact, many ways to heal from the insults of trauma and the path can vary greatly from individual to individual. See the drop-down menus at the top of the page for many ideas about how to start considering methods of self-care and other therapies too.
Below this infographic is a list of posts on this blog that speak to trauma and mental health issues. I will save this page in the navigation drop-down menu as well, now that it comprises a nice collection of work about PTSD and trauma. As appropriate I’ll update and add to it.
Click the image to see it enlarged and have access to the PDF file as well.
More on Beyond Meds about Trauma and the Body:
Yes, the body needs to be listened to. It can tell you more than you can imagine. Including what it needs for deep sustenance. It can help bring great healing to your mind/body and soul. Learning to listen to the body, depending on how long it’s been ignored can be a long, but also, wonderfully rewarding process. My journey of listening to the body is in part covered here: Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs
And when I first started learning to do this I had to do it in tiny wee bits because my body was in screaming pain from the iatrogenic damage the psych drugs caused. See: Life as a meditation: my contemplative adventure in time though it helped lead to understanding my body in such a way that I could nurture it in many ways.
Don’t forget to check out this very important new book The Body Keeps the Score
And ● Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma — “Drug Stress Trauma Syndrome” and ● Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia. Yeah, they all have things in common.
And more on PTSD in general:
● PTSD versus a post traumatic response – So the second half of the title of this post refers to what I’m calling a post-traumatic response. I think that many so-called mental illnesses are the result of a post traumatic response. Because they do not all have the hallmark signs of PTSD, as currently clinically described, it’s worth making it clear that I absolutely think that what is labeled schizophrenia, bipolar, depression and other forms of anxiety, are often indeed also post traumatic responses. The reason I’m making a distinction is only because of the current clinical understanding of PTSD which is limited to ONE form of post traumatic response at this time which is characterized by extreme forms of anxiety.
● Psychosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Story as a Vehicle of Healing – “My descent into “madness” began when my mother died. Within days of her death I would experience the first eruption of what I now call unconscious content, manifest as intense, unexplainable fear. I didn’t know what to do with that kind of fear. It felt foreign and overwhelming to me so I pushed it away and pretended it wasn’t there.”
● “Uneasy in good times and overwhelmed in bad. This is the legacy of childhood trauma.” – “Too many of us grew up in families wracked with pain. Emotional wounds accumulate in settings of neglect, abuse, bereavement, molestation, violence, and misery. As adults, these ancient injuries undermine our happiness. We often choose poorly in relationships, careers, and pastimes. Even if we don’t make gross mistakes, we lack the confidence to endorse our own choices. We feel uneasy in good times and overwhelmed in bad. This is the legacy of childhood trauma”
● Not Crazy: you may not be mentally ill – a book on the trauma that is routinely misdiagnosed as illness and how the so called treatment of said illness, pharmacologically based psychiatry, is in turn another trauma. Psychiatric drugs too, are agents of trauma.
● Trauma, Psychosis, and Spirituality: What’s the Connection? (part 2) – “It is not always clear what sort of experiences are best called “psychosis” and seen as bad, or what kinds of experiences are best called “spirituality” and seen as good. Instead it seems there is a realm of experience that is outside of our cultural norm, that we might call mystery, where people have experiences that are challenging, with a possibility of being seen as either bad or good, and of resulting in life outcomes that may be either bad or good in the conventional sense.”
● For men and women who hold toxic secrets that are making them sick — I suggested in a post a week or so ago that many people who are medicated for so-called mental illness are holding traumatic secrets. I shared a noxious secret in that post. We live in a culture where it’s often not safe to reveal these things. The mental health system largely likes to pretend these things don’t happen or they pretend they have nothing to do with the depression and/or psychosis someone is experiencing. This means that the very place people in distress are expected to get help often actually retraumatizes people.
● The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) is the product of collaboration between Vincent J. Felitti, MD, who founded and directed the Preventive Medicine Department at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA, and Robert F. Anda, MD, MS of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who designed, analyzed the data and prepared numerous scientific publications from the ACE Study.
● Trauma Change Resilience: there is a drive to not only survive but to thrive — Without appropriate care and integration trauma changes both our bodies and minds for many years and sometimes for our entire lives. Right now the mental health system knows virtually nothing about how to care for people who have been traumatized and in fact often traumatizes them further. It’s downright dangerous to subject a traumatized person to most social services. This is a tragedy that has to end.
The woman in the above video is not alone in knowing how to approach those traumatized. We need this sort of empathic and loving care system wide.
For books dealing with trauma and PTSD visit that section of the Beyond Meds Bookstore.