Retraumatisation..There are two basic types of retraumatisation:
- self retaumatisation - where something I do retaumatises me. It's a learning curve to identify thoughts, words or actions which are retaumatising, but once identified it is posable to avoid these choices or places or people which are retaumatising. The word "triggering" is often used as a survivors warning. It's sot of the same or similar but I am finding the term "retraum,atising" more significant because it is not just thoughts that are set off but trauma. As I progress to the 80% plus stages of recovery, I am finding the concept of trauma and trauma release to be significant. I am grateful to sexual assult helplines who talked me through some situations where they warned me not to retraumatise myself.
- involultary traumatisation - where we find ourselves involuntarily retraumatised by others or situations where we were not in control. *** warning potentially triggering illustration *** the clasic for me was that before my last colonospy I briefed my consulting phisician that I am a survivor of csa and I requested support beforeand after the operation and a detailed report of any signs of csa. Apart from a brief note that a 3 cms scare was observed every promioce was broken. I was retraumatised beforeand after the operation and sought the assistance of helplines. I was also given a prostrate examination without warning neither did I give consent. The pain of that procedure was not explained - in face that was new trauma to my body which complicated my identification of the pain I was experiencing. Any reliving of the sexual trauma can retraumatise and so it's important to have a counsellor or access to a sexual assult helpline or on line support to help you to identify retraumatising events. Such events may stir up the emotions to give "a buz" but it's activating trauma which is not helping.
At this stage I'm documenting this introduction which a view of developing this as a resource as time goes by.
One area I am finding needs a lot of care is medical treatmenr andmedical examinations. Whilst I have found some health professionas are sensitative and take into account my needs, others have not. I found some GP's are uncomfortable talking abour sexual abuse but I think the term sexual trauma may be more precise. Sexual trauma acknowledges the trauma in my body not just moemories inmy head or even "body menmories". Some are appreciating that they have a traumatised patient. I have a great dentist who has adapted my my needs and I don't get retraumatised during his procedures.
Recently I had severe pelvic platform pain. After about the third session my pysio has come around. At first he was limitesd to standard external physio but now he is able to let me discuss how I'm feeling and his treatment is more effective.
I have had to "shop around" but it's starting to get better.
The most triggering are situations where I feel traped and the profesional is exercising control
(I need a sence of control even an acknowledging of my trauma)
being in a confined environment
staff that are rules and procedures orientated
staff who present themselves are flexable and responsive - often just giving me an out or stoping to listen to me,
gives me an opportunity to calm myself, to reassure myself that it's ok.
Each of us wil develop our own responses and please - I'm not being prescriptive
but I think identifying this are of retraumatisation can help us.
Hopefully over time healtgh care professionals will become more trauma sensative and more responsive.
My responsehas been to look for those I'm "comfortab;e" with.
Sadly I have found that some are not as responsive as promosed. Just so my positive experiences don't give a false impression.
Negotiation is the main proncipal. It's empowering and when there is a good outcome it has facilitated my recovery.
for those who are advocates a useful term may be "trauma ensitive care".