Reading Journal

(Written in February 2005)
I’ve been reading from October 2003 and it’s fascinating. My whole struggle with terror & despair is laid out moment by moment, sensation by sensation. I can read it now that I feel OK, now that I’ve fought my way through, I can see my strength and how hard I fought, I can appreciate my courage and determination. It makes me feel — what? Not “proud” exactly — it’s more like a sense of a very solid foundation under me, like I felt when I read Dilys’ piece for Circle of Hope and felt the strength and solidity of generations of Quakers. Well done, Jenny, well done.

[Reading this today, January 2011, knowing that I will go through more times of being disabled by PTSD, I feel a kind of bitter amusement at my naiveté.]

Reading over 2003 — I describe that feeling of being frozen with terror, blind, stuck, sometimes I even start to feel sleepy.

In Waking the Tiger, Peter Levine speaks of this frozen state: “The helplessness that is experienced at such times is not the ordinary sense of helplessness that can affect anyone from time to time. The sense of being completely immobilized and helpless is not a perception, belief, or a trick of the imagination. It is real. The body cannot move. … When the event is real and unfolding in a truly disastrous way, the effect of helplessness is drastically amplified. Later, when the threat is over, the intense helplessness and immobilization effects will wear off, but not completely. when we are traumatized, an echo of this feeling of being frozen remains with us.” pp142-3

Dilys’ piece is in the post for May 31, 2010

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