Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Levels of the Mind

*This  post is extremely dated.  I wrote it about three years ago if not a bit before but it treats on post traumatic stress and is one of the most comprehensive texts I've ever penned on the subject of how compound trauma appears and how one may heal it level by level without medication.  This is essentially my story in a technical view. 

This is going to become rather technical and though it often takes center stage in my mind I do not speak of it much at all.  This is the first time I have attempted to place this on the page and I would forewarn those who have not interest in psychology to skip this post entirely and do something with their time which is of more interest to them.

Surely a basic understanding of the human mind brings us to the idea that the mind works on several different levels.  There is the basic conscious and subconscious and the like but I have had the wonderful opportunity to slowly go through compound trauma and slowly leave it level by psychological level without drugs to confuse my perceptions and have thus gained something of greater insight into how the mind can become damaged and also how it can mend itself. 

I have been generally more interested in how to mend damage done to the human mind rather than dwell on the things which can harm it, but in order to understand the healing of the mind one must understand a basic idea of the damage in this particular case.  I will therefore brief you on what happened to my psyche during the slow onset of post traumatic stress as it rather mirrors the healing process.

The most important part to comprehend in this case is that this compound trauma took years to fully mature into what it became and eventually cause me to lose my memory and certain types of physical, mental, and emotional perceptions.  It also took a form which led me through a downhill path in which when I was certain my mind and body could stand no more except it be to death and even after I had started having panic induced seizures something else would happen which would take me to an even deeper level of trauma.  I do not recall how many of these downhill steps I took but I recall certain symptoms which included an inability to feel any kind of emotion save compassion, a sense of haziness which stayed with me constantly, a sense of exhaustion and brittleness in the skin and the feeling that pain like lightening seeped out of each pore.  These symptoms made up my whole life for an extended period of time.  Once I left the downward path of trauma the kind friend of amnesia set in.

Amnesia proves highly important in comprehending how trauma can heal.  Compound trauma also heals in stages, just as it accumulates.  It is the upward psychological healing that interests me at present and which drives me to write this post.  Imagine one is climbing a very massive and steep staircase.  Each step represents a level of trauma and when one reaches a step a part of the amnesia is lifted and the trauma in various forms enters back into the person's consciousness.  The mind is an extraordinary tool and master of healing itself because it releases only as much memory as the person can handle and overcome at one time.  This process of releasing is a tricky and sometimes messy one.  Often the person will experience powerful feelings of hysteria, bipolar extremities, and a sense of helplessness.  I have sometimes experienced seizure like symptoms in these moments, which felt much like a panic induced seizure but in reverse with my feeling better and lighter afterward rather than sicker and darker.  Not long ago I rose another psychological step and the inside of my chest and body felt deathly cold while the outer layer of body was warm, as though my mind and bowels were going into a slight case of shock. 

The person in attempting to find a way to deal with the released memories or feelings will naturally gravitate toward something that soothes that particular type of pain.  I recall at one point walking into the gym feeling entirely worn from one such step up and feeling a need to take a yoga class though in my conscious thought I did not pinpoint why.  I spent the next several months doing yoga three hours a week in class and practice besides and completely foregoing the rest of my workout regimen.  As well as yoga worked for that level of trauma however, it would not have been sufficient for the levels before it and not quite right to handle the levels that followed.

While on that psychological upward step one has the psychological necessity of working through that piece of trauma.  It carries its ups and downs and once that level of psychological upheaval has been mastered, one comes to a wall.  It is the wall which is leads to the next step upwards.  If the person does not give up and continues to try to master his or her pain eventually they will be able to rise over that wall onto the next platform.  With each new step or platform the trauma diminishes and the memory slowly restores itself. 

It proves a slower process than anyone would likely wish but there is always a bright side to everything.  Besides the obvious healing power of the situation it surely expands a person's experiences and skills, since each level is different and must be handled differently.  I believe the previous level I just left responded best to writing.  I have reason to believe that the level I just reached may perhaps respond well to running, which until tonight I have never been able to do.  That being said, should you find me comparatively remiss on this blog in the upcoming months, look for me on a treadmill.  I'll be burning trauma and calories.

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