PTST Treatment: The Importance Of Integrating Memories
The French psychiatrist and philosopher Pierre Janet proposed that "when patients fail to integrate the traumatic experience into the totality of their personal awareness, they become 'attached' … to the trauma: 'Unable to integrate traumatic memories, they seem to have lost their capacity to assimilate new experiences as well. It is … as if their personality has definitely stopped at a certain point, and can not enlarge any more by the addition or assimilation of new elements …. All [traumatized] patients seem to have had the evolution of their lives checked; they are attached to an insurmountable obstacle. '"
For survivors with PTSD symptoms, it's very common to feel you can not go forward, and even though you hate going back, that is the place to which you continue return.
Janet goes on to say that "without the dissociated elements of the trauma [are] integrated into personal consciousness, … [survivors are] likely to experience a slow decline in personal and incidental functioning." Which means in order to heal – in order to move on into the future – we must conquer the past by making it become a small part of us, rather than looming largely over us.
This is the challenge of trauma, and ever, the challenge of PTSD. Being able to tell the story of your trauma is the first step in bringing it down to size. In the aftermath of experience you must redefine yourself; you are not power less , you are power ful . Words can give you power. When you use the words available to you, when you tell the story, you begin the construction of a post-trauma identity where you are the actor instead of the acted upon . This is how you begin to heal.
No matter how difficult it is to pull the details together, you must begin to try. Start thinking about the timeline of your trauma. This may encompass a few hours or a period of years. Sidle up to the idea of pinning down the memories and putting them in an order. Approach this idea slowly and carefully but do begin looking at what frigtens you; This is a big step in healing. You can not get the help you need from practitioners, doctors, friends, family, colleagues or lovers if you can not communicate what ails you. Beginning to choose words to express the pain starts the process of you taking back control.