History with PTSD, Part 1
Friday, June 29th, 2012 • PTSD Guest Post: Professional Perspective •
I had known from a very early age that there was something about me that wasn’t “right.” It felt like a dark secret, something black and murky. No matter how hard I tried to remember nothing came into my consciousness. I lived many years feeling something was wrong with me and I was on a perpetual search for answers to try and understand these haunting feelings.
I became one of those people who went to church and turned to God, who read books to find the answers, attended one workshop after the next, changed houses, relationships, friends and jobs until I was worn out.
Discouraged and frustrated I left the church in my mid- twenties. I began looking to Eastern philosophies, started meditating, doing yoga and traveling the world still looking for THE answer. I traveled to natural and man made spiritual sites, spent time in non-denominational communities, talked to many teachers and guides and still no answer.
There was a deep inner chaos I never could explain. There were so many questions about my fears and struggles with relationships, jobs and sex. I read hundreds and hundreds of books partially as an escape but also pursuing the relentless search to explain my pain and suffering.
Growing up in the Deep South in Louisiana speaks volumes with nothing else said. Yes, everything you hear about Louisiana is true….the good and the bad. You rarely hear of the strong under tow of violence running rampant. In my childhood days incest was ignored and everyone just seemed to accept that it happened. As a kid I struggled in school with learning, keeping good friends and weight. When the weight came on beginning at age seven the bullies got cranked up and didn’t quit harassing me until I lost weight five years later before going to junior high school.
I don’t know how I made it through junior high and high school as these were particularly brutal years for me with the abuse. My belief in God and somehow having a deep belief that God thought I was special probably saved my life and my sanity. I’m not sure where I got the idea that God thought I was special, I guess all those hours at Sunday school and summer church camp.
I was repressing everything that was happening to be in regards to the abuse. Everyone in the family talked about the domestic violence but no one every spoke of the sexual abuse, never.
Moving to Los Angeles in my late twenties for a marketing job I met my future husband within six weeks of arriving. Eventually we had two beautiful daughters. When my eldest daughter arrived I thought I might finally feel more comfortable living in my own skin. It didn’t happen. Then five years later I had my second daughter. Still there was no relief from the incessant erratic behavior and overwhelming sense of deep doom. We APPEARED to be the happy family but by now it felt my soul, my body and my psyche were being crushed by the mysterious dark side of me. Part of me believed we were a happy family but the other side of me knew the truth.
I ended up in therapy while still living in Los Angelesand this was the beginning of my recovery though at the time I didn’t realize it. A year after my therapy started my husband was transferred to London,England. The whole family was excited about the move overseas. By now my oldest daughter was almost ten and her sister was four.
I decided to study to be a transpersonal psychotherapist when I was in England. I researched training institutions before we moved over. A month after we arrived in England I had applied for one of the trainings and was invited to attend a week long preliminary session to be evaluated for the three year program.
I was required to work with a transpersonal therapist in preparation for being accepted into the training program. I selected a Catholic nun for my therapist. I wanted to work with her as she was also a spiritual guide. We were working together when I was accepted into the training. About a year into the training I was in a required therapy group when I had a profound experience.
The group facilitator realized my leg was shaking and she questioned me about my feelings. I told her I was feeling overflowing with emotions and that was causing my leg to shake. She asked if I would be willing to get on the floor and follow her guidance. I agreed and slipped onto the floor. She had other group members put huge cushions around me. The group facilitator asked two men in the group to sit at my feet holding up a cushion that I could kick. She encouraged me to kick and just allow any sounds that needed to come out to emerge. At first I was shy about kicking but she urged me on. I let go began to kick the cushions as hard as I could and then I started screaming. It was like a two year old having a tantrum. The facilitator sat next to me and held my hand while encouraging me to just let it all out. It felt like 39 years of pent up energy, anger, frustration and hatred being released though my feet.
Kim Nagle has sixteen years experience as a transpersonal counselor and more recently has become a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. As a long time group facilitator, seminar lecturer and trainer she has trained thousands of professionals in working with trauma and grief issues. Nagle is a professional public speaker and speaks regularly on a wide variety of topics. She is on the national speaker’s bureau for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). Nagle did her first professional training inLondon,Englandwhile living there as an ex-patriot with her husband and children. She did additional trainings at the world renowned Tavistock Clinic in London and then she studied Clinical Hypnosis in the United Sates. In her practice now she specializes in addictions, trauma/PTSD and she teaches self hypnosis. Nagle also works with veterans in several capacities as well as their families. She is a member of numerous professional organizations.
The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele.