Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Unconscious intrusions

One of the most common effects of classic PTSD is unwanted and uncontrollable intrusions: a smell, a sound, a picture will spontaneously appear, and retrigger the same affects which were present when the traumatic layering happened.

What I realized yesterday is that Developmental Trauma Disorder ALSO has intrusions, but they are unconscious.  You are going one way, then suddenly find yourself going another way, and you don't know why.  I don't know why.

It seems that the social part of us never really shuts down. It keeps trying to reactivate.  It hits start, and send, and the ping goes out, and that ping bounces off the protective elements in the nervous system, which immediately prohibit that part from coming on-line.  It is too dangerous.  It is like the government telling you where you can't go, when they really have no idea if it is safe or not.  They don't want to chance it, and don't want you to chance it either.

This blocking is a sort of intrusion, one you can't see.  The memories come up, without coming up, and they have an effect, but you do not realize they have an effect.  You just find yourself often numb, often unable to focus, and unable to plan.

And this goes on for a while, then this center hits temporary nervous exhaustion.  This is where addiction comes in.  This is where the desire to check out becomes overwhelming.  This is where you--I--need to hit the reset button, which is what drug and alcohol use does.

And it is interesting to speculate that perhaps in some senses standard, recognized addictions like those to drugs and alcohol might in some respects be healthier than addictions to work and sex and gambling, because there is a cycle of connection, and a cycle of disconnection.  An addiction to work is more or less continual shut down.  Most boozers have times when they are emotionally available.  They just can't sustain it.  Heroin and opium addicts have written great works of music and literature.  They are there, and then they are gone, then they come back, and so a lifetime is spent.

And let me add one more addiction to the pantheon: the addiction to moralizing. If judgement is a cognitive reframing of the primal emotion of fear, then it is a logical concomitant of what I am calling unconscious intrusions.

I am usually most productive idea-wise in the morning.  This is not just because I can connect to the dreams of the previous night; rather, my fear of the day leads to continual ideas and dissociation.

In a Freudian sense--and I tend not to use Freuds language because he was more than a bit slimy--much of what I write is reaction formation.

And to be clear, the same idea can be presented in the same way, using the same words, but come from many different places emotionally.  It is not bad to theorize and ponder, and fight for understanding.  I am simply speaking to myself, in a public sphere.

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