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I’m reading a fantabulous book for post-trauma recovery. I’m reading it because the authors are my guests this Thursday night (streaming on line 7pm EST and then available in our free audio archives) on YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA. I started reading the book just so that I could be prepared for the interview — and I can’t put it down. I soooo wish I’d had this book in my recovery!
LIFE AFTER TRAUMA: A Workbook for Healing, by Dena Rosenbloom, PhD., and Mary Beth Williams, PhD., covers five important areas in recovery after trauma: safety, trust, control, self-esteem, and intimacy. In addition, it approaches these things from a perspective of belief, as in: how your beliefs change after trauma and how those beliefs impact your experience/feelings of the five categories. I love this for a couple of reasons:
a) everyone’s perception of trauma is different, so basing recovery on your personal perceptions makes the process completely individualized for you. This is important so that you get to the crux of the matter that’s bothering you, and also, so that the work you do resonates deeply with who you are.
b) beliefs are what make you YOU, so treating them as the engine that makes your post-trauma recovery move allows you to reconnect with yourself while rebuilding and tweaking who are you — actions which are entirely necessary in order to learn to live a meaningful life after trauma.
The book is both instructive and supportive. The authors lay the foundation for understanding your post-trauma world by outlining common reactions to trauma. First, they explain the physical reactions by listing the usual traits, including rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, nervousness, sleep difficulties, etc. They go on to outline the mental reactions, including changes in the way you think about yourself and the world, disruptions in your thoughts, confusion in our sense of what happened when, and heightened awareness of your surroundings. Mixed in throughout the book are short excerpts of survivors’ experiences so you can see you really are not alone. Plus, the exercises and checklists allow you to easily organize your work and progress.
If only I’d had a book like this during my recovery! I would have learned so much sooner that I wasn’t crazy, or alone. I would have learned ow to create for myself better coping mechanisms and understanding. I would have felt comforted by the layman approach in which I would have understood every word in the book while at the same time getting professional guidance that would have led me to being more and more proactive in my recovery while still moving at a pace that felt safe for me.
Here’s why I really wish I’d had this book: I, like you, had deep, dark days when I despaired that I would never be free of PTSD symptoms, or even just able to live feeling connected to myself and the present moment. I cried many tears that I would spend the rest of my life in posttraumatic stress disorder darkness, alone and lost. If I had had this book I would have read (as early as page 5!) this one sentence that would have given me so much hope:
We wrote this book because we believe that healing is possible and well worthwhile.
Knowing that professionally trained people had so much belief in me would have buoyed me up when I was feeling so down. Having a workbook that gave me a step-by-step guide would have given me a path on which to focus my discovery of myself and my healing.
Sigh… if only we all could have what we need at exactly the time we need it on our healing path. At least you have this information now, and the interview on Thursday (where you can call in with your life after trauma recovery questions). What will you do to take advantage of it and bring yourself one step closer to the healed person you wish to be?
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