Forget the trauma?  Easier said than done


by Dr. Rhonda Sherrod

(C) January 13, 2018


I get so tired of listening to people--and it's usually some preacher--saying, in effect, "Stop dwelling on the past.  You can't accesss your future if you stay in the past."  Yeah, sounds good right?  But does it sound easy?  Is there some switch that can be flipped to erase or diminish those powerful memories of traumatic events?  No, of course not!  If we could flip a switch, so many people wouldn't be suffering and in crisis!


What would be "truth-sayers" should talk about are strategies and techniques that people can employ to shut down-- or at least, calm down--the intrusive thoughts that surely present themselves at any given time if one has suffered trauma.  Those intrusive thoughts, that can slip into consciousness through any sensory modality, can creep up or pop up at any given time--even when you are supposed to be happy.  Perhaps you perceive something similar to, or that reminds you of, something you saw during the traumatic event(s); or manybe something you just heard makes vivid a remark that was made during the traumatic experience(s).  Perhaps it is an off-the-cuff, thoughtless and dismissive comment that someone made when you disclosed the trauma (or tried to talk about it) that triggers a new wave of sadness or despair.  Maybe it is his hands on your body a certain way that--although meant to be loving and affectionate--sets off a torrent of anxiety and negative emotions.  Something that simple can make the mind start ruminating--and you start brooding. 


Trauma is trauma; and it affects brain physiology.  When something reminds you of your trauma, and parts of your brain get activated, how do you "stop dwelling on the past?"  Well, you need strategies and tools to manage, and perhaps vanquish, those intrusive thoughts when they surface. You need a compassionate, informed approach. What you don't need are homilies, platitutes, and trite, pat responses to complex phenomena offered by some person whose smugness exceeds his or her cleverness.  In many ways, a person who suffers real trauma has to learn to live again.  This is not simple stuff.  Yes, it would be nice to forget, but that's just not likely in many situations.  That magic pill has yet to be produced.  





      SHESPEAKS:  Dr. Rhonda Speaks   Topic:  Managing Feelings

Remember:  Some days you may feel fragile, but that does  not mean you can't transcend that feeling and                                                            Excel!     

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Managing Feelings

Sep 26, 2017
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