History with PTSD, Part 2
Friday, July 6th, 2012 • PTSD Guest Post: Professional Perspective •
By the time I finished I was exhausted and sobbing from somewhere deep inside. The facilitator had me rest and then encouraged me to rejoin the group. She explained that it appeared I had stored up energy probably from some deep trauma and it was beginning to shift. The experience in group that day was profound. And she was right the old energy was shifting.
Within three months I began to remember being sexually abused from age three to age nineteen. When the repressed memories started coming it was like my skull cracked open and thousands of images started appearing before my eyes. At first they were coming so fast it felt like I was tied to the front of a 200 mile an hour Japanese bullet train and was moving through miles and miles of images.
The early flashbacks lasted for about eighteen months. I wore a rubber band on my wrist and tried to remember to pop myself to come back but it didn’t always work. Over time the flashbacks diminished. I was totally re-traumatized recalling all the childhood/adolescent experiences I had hidden from myself. Later I discovered that was part of the healing process.
During a long “dark night of the soul” period I was confused and overwhelmed with all that I was recalling. Some days I would get my children off to school then I would go into my bedroom and stand facing the wall all day until it was time for the children to return from school. I simply could not face a world where such terrible things were done to children; the things that were done to me were unspeakable. I would somehow pull myself together and meet the children as they got off the school bus. Later I wondered how I survived those early days of recovery.
For two years I had memories come back to me in bits and pieces relating to the abuse and the domestic violence I witnessed between my parents. It was complex as it was not just my father involved with the sexual abuse but he had other men involved. Even now memories come to me when I am deeply stressed or anxious.
During this two year period I was in traditional talk therapy, did Alexander Technique, Massage, Reikki, Cranio Sacral Therapy, yoga, way too much exercise, did Expressive Arts Therapy and worked with a homeopath. I started doing self hypnosis as I had been hypnotized when we lived inCaliforniaand found it to be very helpful. I was healing and yet still curious about my symptoms. So I kept going toLondonbookshops looking for more information, new and different answers as the memories kept coming. I remembered the individual incidents but what happened in the third year were the emotions and feelings attached to all those terrible times were now raging almost uncontrollably inside me. Or it just felt like everything was out of control but really I was in the next phase of healing. This phase seemed was worse than recalling the memories.
Fortunately one day I found a book about something new… PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I read the book in one sitting from cover to cover and knew I was totally symptomatic. I was frozen inside as the book described so many of the things I had experienced. I was getting my answers and it was difficult to take all this new information in. For so long I had suffered in silence it was hard to believe that trauma was not being recognized and defined in the main stream. My therapist had heard of PTSD but was not totally familiar with the treatments being used in the mid-1990’s. Between my therapists’ skills and new knowledge and my life experiences we started addressing the PTSD.
I was fortunate to get the help I needed and now I am called to help others. I have worked with clients who struggle with the after affects of a variety of traumatic experiences and many suffering from PTSD. It has been a privilege to train hundreds of professionals in working with traumatized children and teens in recognizing trauma, significant loss and the need to grieve. Many times grieving adults don’t understand how to get the proper support for their traumatized and/or grieving children.
I have used a variety of modalities including hypnosis, Expressive Arts Therapy, sand tray play (Jungian technique), Gestalt Therapy and Transpersonal psychology. I have seen many people go from strength to strength with the proper support and live with PTSD with a new perspective. Many diagnosed with PTSD and those suffering who have not been diagnosed can heal with the proper treatment and support.
I see the Divine in people. Many times people can’t see it in themselves. My work is to help others see their deepest goodness, their Divine spark and to remember who they really are and to help them heal from whatever trauma was in their life.
With almost seventeen combined years as a holistic counselor and clinical hypnotherapist I have seen a huge variety of trauma including from car accidents, sexual assault, divorce, natural death of a loved one or friend, genocide, murder, disease diagnosis, institutionalization, natural disasters, long term illnesses and more AND I have seen the resilience of people to heal and move forward in their lives. In my life healing took recognition of PTSD, proper professional and personal support and my willingness to do the work to get through it. We each have our own journey and I feel blessed everyday that I got the help and support I needed and that now I can use my own experience with PTSD and other acquired skills to help others.
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 inLondonand 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.
History with PTSD, Part 1