I’m not any kind of any sort of psychological professional. I talk about what I’ve lived through and learned because of it. I am not a full-blown scholar with copious amounts of Masters Degrees or a PHDs. I’m just me, talking to you about myself, hoping my experiences will teach you to avoid certain aspects of life. I’m your proverbial mother hen.
It seems that the published community, whether that be of lay-persons or professionals, have just as much trouble defining Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), as they do Sociopath and Psychopath. In the case of this post, I will center on PTSD, which is the chronic form of Post traumatic stress. It’s what lasts for many months or years, without the help of a professional. I will list the article which defines the difference when find it. Yes, giving credit is due, here, but it’s the definitions I’m interested in sharing with you at this point in time.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Is the Chronic form of Post traumatic stress which does not end relatively quickly and may require more intricate help from a psychologist or psychiatrist to find relief. Anti anxiety medications may be needed. When the effects of trauma last for many months and even years, without evident lessening of severity, it becomes a full-blown disorder. Ruminating is very present, in both acute and chronic PTSD.
Rumination as with PTSD: This is a paraphrase of what I’ve learned and read.. Rumination is very present in PTSD, though it’s not generally understood if this practice is healthy or contributory to PTSD trauma felt, which only adds to the severity of PTSD. I for one believe it can be healthy if it doesn’t become habitual. If a person habitually ruminates in the acute stage of Post-traumatic Stress, it can develop into full-blown PTSD, if not dropped asap. I will explain more in the comment section if you need some clarification.
I’m a firm believer that there are many things that are beneficial to our health and well-being if done or eaten in moderation. That includes ruminating. The key here is in MODERATION.
Rumination can be beneficial to trauma survivors as a coping mechanism. A few years ago, I didn’t know what this looked like in survivors of acute Post-traumatic Stress. Last year I talked to a young woman who had just returned from fighting in Afghanistan. Since I was currently in the same place, I realized I was watching myself in her. She was wild-eyed, talking in earnest about her experiences and what she learned while there. Her experiences were fresh and raw in her mind. She looked and sounded crazy, though I knew she wasn’t. My boss got mad at me for taking time with her, but I knew she needed to vent and have someone listen to her. I gave her a caring ear. She needed someone to listen, and chose me at that point in time. I don’t even know her name.
Ruminating takes on a couple different forms: Mentally stewing over every fact, tear, action and reaction surrounding the trauma or talking about the experience, repeating every word and sentence many times, and every time the survivor tries to speak. Generally, if you aren’t talking about the abuse or trauma, you are incessantly thinking about it. This was me when I first got out of a very real type of hell, with a psychopath. This was me, especially for the first few months after ending the relationship, though for me it lessened continuously with each passing week. I couldn’t understand what I went through. I couldn’t find a way to believe it in order to settle the experience in my heart and mind. I went through a walking nightmare, and when things came to a head, I was left very very confused, and horribly afraid.
This is where a lot of survivors get stuck. There comes a time when you can’t possibly research the abuser, mental disorders, what could have been wrong with you, etc. any more. You have reached a stale-mate in your own psyche and heart. When the learning has been learned and the talking has been talked out, many times our hearts still aren’t settled. This is normal. The difference is how you choose to respond at that point, to the stale-mate. Many survivors get stuck in the mental spin, refusing to settle the issue to the best of their ability. Sometimes they aren’t able to stop, as it has gone on for so long that their minds have developed the habit of ruminating. It in itself becomes a trauma-bond, and addicting. When this happens, you are faced with a choice. Continue on, being stuck or fight to move on. This is why moderation is the key.
We need to allow ourselves the time to process the trauma and abuse. We do need to take whatever time is necessary to be able to move on. However, when this becomes a habit, it is near impossible to let go. In this case, some survivors continuously allow the abuse to continue, being affected still. The abuser is still in control, even though he or she has been out of your life for some time. No one wants that. No one wants to stay stuck in that place. It’s very hard to live through, and sometimes just as difficult to walk away from.
One day (hopefully sooner rather than later) you will realize that you are researching the same old crap, on a different day. You’ll realize that it’s an echo of the previous researching venture. You find yourself running into the same old wall. It hurts, every time. This is when you need to tell yourself, “it’s over”. You need to find the only bit of understanding there can be or is, “It just happened.” or “It just ‘is'”. Understanding this doesn’t mean that you’ll stop hurting over night, or that the effects of the abuse won’t linger, some. It just means you are ready to take another DECIDED step in the right direction.
Breathe deeply, with each step you take. If this post finds you in exactly this place, find peace in your heart, knowing you are recovering. Fight his voice in the meantime and center on EVERYTHING positive. Don’t let negative thoughts be so intrusive that you are unable to function. Don’t stop moving forward. When the right direction isn’t clear, then be determined to keep MOVING! As long as you continue to move toward healing and a healthier life, you won’t be stuck, and soon will be able to say “I am STRONG!”