There is now scientific proof that trauma changes connection and activation patterns in the brain. This information comes as no surprise to those (individuals, partners and families) suffering from the affects of traumatic events or those working in the field but offers some additional understanding. In this interview, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk offers insight into how the malleability of the brain works for and against us and how body based treatment may provide relief. Full article can be found here.
"Knowing how to live isn't an instinct. We're not born with it. It's a skill. And one of the places you learn it is in the outwardly slightly unusual, but in fact deeply normal and productive setting of a therapist's office. It isn't a sign of disturbance to go to therapy. It's the first sign of sanity, and of a proper, grown-up commitment to mental health."
I (Jessi) work with a lot of 20-somethings who struggle with severe anxiety and depression. At first glance, the client is the problem-- They don’t know what they want and have no motivation, there is a strong fear of failure, and guilt-- so much guilt. After a little digging, we often find that their parents are lurking right around the corner with a complicated set of expectations.
Parents who just want their children to be “happy” (aka- parents who attempt to avoid the anxiety associated with watching their children struggle) dedicated their lives to laying out an idealized path for their kids. The unintended effect of “perfection” is raising a generation of young adults that lack the ability to problem solve and manage hard emotions. Because parents conditioned their kids to believe that their unique-specialness would translate into happiness, they often return home to safety when the “perfect” life doesn’t come easily.
In another time, one seen as harsh or cruel, our parents acted as wolf. There was a transition from nursing to teaching. One where parents demanded their cubs to hunt on their own and keep-up despite the struggle. The cubs learned to trust themselves and to depend on an inner strength fueled by their ability to overcome adversity.
I believe that this is what is needed now. There is a quiet call, only heard by a few, to stop avoiding the hard emotions associated with living a full life. A movement towards fear so one can thrive instead of just survive. It might hurt but you probably won’t die.
Read more about helicopter parenting and its effects.
Recent research by Ohio State University shows that writing down your negative thoughts then crumbling it up and throwing it straight into the trash can lead to significant change. Discarding the thoughts seems to show your brain and body what's important and what isn't- what's worthy and what's meant to be out with the trash.
More ideas to manage hard thoughts after the jump...