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Personality disorders vs effects of trauma, and therapy for trauma

(11 Posts)
bodenboyssocks Sat 17-Sep-16 18:26:01

I​ have read threads on here about children suffering from trauma, meltdowns, emotional flooding, violence, other executive function problems. One ​of my ​dc was very ill a few years ago, when he was 2, and was in hospital/on medication for​​ a long time, and it had dire affects on his wellbeing and behaviour. I found this video of a Yale lecture which changed our lives​​. ​ I​ worked on the basis that my LO was suffering from trauma, as a result of the illness, and I took from this video that he could be "cured" by the brain being effectively rewired by the therapies and exercises, without medication. I​f any of you have not yet found this video and you have troubled children, then you may well find it is helpful.

This was 2013 and things may have moved on since then. If you google therapies for children who are suffering from trauma you will find other therapies too. ​Many sound ridiculously simple but if they are done regularly they work - or at least they did for us.

I ​also ​found this a really easy to understand​, easy to watch and short ​explanation about fight/flight:

crispandcheesesanwichplease Wed 02-Nov-16 16:15:56

Hi Bodenboys. I know you posted this a while back but I've just found and watched it, fascinating. I'm an adopter so familiar with the early trauma and attachment stuff.

My DD was diagnosed with attachment difficulties about 4 years ago after years of me struggling with her behaviour and wondering why.

Interestingly, prior to her diagnosis I had an older friend with 2 adult DSs. She was the only person I had ever met who had experienced the specific behavioural issues with her DD1 that I experienced with our daughter. No-body else got why I struggled so much, as no-body had done with her.

Several years down the line we get our diagnosis and me and friend start to talk about her son and why he might've had similar problems. Turns out that she got pregnant with her DD2 whilst DD1 was about 11 months. During her 2nd pregnancy she had serious health issues which led to her being hospitalised for most of the pregnancy. Her DD1 was cared for by the friend's mum. There it was - the separation from his primary carer at a crucial stage in his early life and the absolute fear this would have caused him.

It suddenly all made sense, 30 odd years too late for her but an explanation at last. It's fascinating. And very interesting that the psych giving the talk on the film talks about peadiatrics being way ahead of other disciplines on these issues.

Just wanted to share that with you!

bodenboyssocks Wed 02-Nov-16 22:07:28

I am very pleased to hear that! When you have been through it and seen a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel then it makes you (me anyway) feel like spreading the word! I am pleased you pm'd me too as otherwise I wouldn't have seen this.

I hope all turned out well for your friend.

bodenboyssocks Wed 02-Nov-16 22:21:40

I sent that too quickly. I hope that all turned out for your friend's children. Although so much is better now for dc and us, there are times when something comes up and I realise that I just won't know for sure how we are doing until dc is fully grown...and every time there is the smallest infection I have to turn off my own fight/flight panic mode! But I guess that is just being the average parent..!

dibly Thu 03-Nov-16 09:29:58

This looks great, thanks.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Thu 03-Nov-16 14:50:06

Boden I am very pleased to report that friend's son is now a perfectly functioning and successful adult with a professional job, a good relationship and strong friendships.

It gives me hope!

Our daughter has made significant progress in her self-regulation in recent years and compared to how it used to be our family life is much calmer and we are all happier and less strung out than we used to be. I think that she might always struggle with some emotional/social regulation but I prefer 'quirky' personalities to dull ones!

Having said that, although our daughter is still lagging a bit with her emotional development in social situations (compared to peers), the work we have done, the talking, sorting out what emotions are being felt, finding non-destructive outlets for the emotions, getting her to recognise when she's struggling, means she has become a very emotionally intelligent girl who understands her emotional/arousal state better than a lot of adults. As such I feel she has an advantage that will serve her well throughout her life.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Thu 03-Nov-16 15:49:46

Hi again Boden, re the fight/flight response, I'm interested in knowing if you experience the following. These days our DD's meltdowns are rare but I find that if a situation arises which, in the past, would have almost definitely ended with a massive meltdown, I find myself immediately being triggered by past situations. So, although our DD is self-regulating, my dread and fear spike and I do, on occasions (I'm embarrassed to say), overreact and go into storm trooper mode. Ironically much the same as traumatised children do.

This response of mine is not very helpful and I've only very recently become aware of it. I'm very interested to know if other carers of traumatised children do this and nearly posted something about it last week.

bodenboyssocks Fri 04-Nov-16 11:33:28

I think that in relation to infections etc, others probably see it as a overreaction (if they noticed - basically i start to feel sick and stop breathing for a bit... ), but it doesn't last long.

However, a while ago something else happened. I realised that I had started to feel intense anger a lot of the time, and that i was heading towards having rage issues. I then realised that i had been shelving a lot of negative stuff because i hadn't had time to deal properly and it was catching up with me. I realised also that i wasn't even sure what i was feeling immediately, so you are right, it is ironic - I had been spending a lot of time helping dc with emotional intelligence while my own emotional intelligence muscle had basically stopped working.

I considered going to the dr and asking for betablockers just to try to calm down a bit, but in the end i just went back to basics - every time I felt anything uncomfortable I would sit down immediately and write down what had happened, how it made me feel, and then go through the feeling and describing (in writing) the anger, fear, sadness, sorrow in relation to that event, and that would then process, and I would then be fine for a bit and then fairly quickly (like, an hour or so...) get wound up again about something else so i'd do the same thing, over and over. Once i had started doing this, literally after a couple of days i found it was lifting. It felt a bit like magic, lol. I then started doing what i used to do again, acknowledging the feeling in my head and processing straightaway.

Most of my rage was to do with other people's reactions and behaviour during the time when dc had been ill/having emotional problems. I had found it hard to talk about what had happened, people made assumptions that it was autism, adhd, etc, thought i needed to hear it and and said I was in denial, and things like that. It wasn't helpful, but before all this had happened it would have been water off a ducks back and I realised that it was because at that time, before it all happened, I had dealt with my feelings about things quickly and rarely got wound up, whereas while things were difficult I just didn't have the time or the headspace and so i shelved it. It started to come out at a time when things were near normal, after the euphoria of dc being ok, everything back to just sort of normal, so it was the time for the shelved stuff to resurface, maybe.

If that does not make sense, I will not be offended!

Thank you very much for saying that about your friend's son! It gives me hope too! I think you are right, that the skills dc are learning cannot fail to stand them in good stead. And thank god for the internet and forward thinking psychs!

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sat 05-Nov-16 16:14:59

Hi Boden

Thanks for your reply. Have read it but don't have time to reply to it just now. Will do so when I have more than a nanoseconds use of my own brain rather than being everybody else's!

crispandcheesesanwichplease Tue 08-Nov-16 21:30:53

Hi boden, I finally have a bit of time to think for myself, sorry for the delay but I needed a bit of space to think about what you said and, well you know what family life is like - when do I get my brain to myself???

The point you made about other people's unhelpful advice/observations. I can tick that box because I had them telling me I was imagining my DD's problems (or on other occasions actually that I was actually the cause of them- so I was apparently in denial). Meanwhile I was terribly worried about her and extremely stressed out.

Ditto having to shelve all my immediate feelings due to having to cope with the regular tsunamis coming from her and function well enough to keep our household and lives running.

Ditto what you say about it (the rage and anger and hurt) all coming out once you found yourself in a safer space regarding your DC's health being ok again. After a significant period of unhelpful professional intervention (DD was in long-term fostering with us but we have now adopted her) we have now been free of agencies for about a year and the anger and hurt is suddenly coming out thick and fast for me!

Your triggers seem to occur around health issues, understandably, whilst mine are around DD's behaviour and it's potential to explode in the way it used to. Does your DC still exhibit trauma based behavioural difficulties and if so how soon afterwards are you able to sit down and do your own processing and write it down?

Also, do you have any other techniques that help you 'decompress' after a triggered panic?

Totally agree with you about beta-blockers and ADs btw, I'm not anti them but for something that is potentially long term then I think strategies may be more helpful.

I'm beginning to wonder if what I'm experiencing could actually be a form of PTSD. What do you think?

bodenboyssocks Fri 11-Nov-16 09:50:29

I will pm you. From what you have said about the significant period of unhelpful professional intervention, I am not surprised that you are feeling something akin to PTSD - and it is possible that once you have worked through the feelings associated with that then other things (including tsunamis) will be easier? We didn't have any unhelpful professional intervention and if we had I think it quite possibly would have pushed me over the edge! We have a really supportive doctor and that has helped a lot. Anyway, i will send a pm about the decompressing.

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