Neuroplasticity and cPTSDMay 31, 2018
Neuroplasticity was just a fancy word really and I had no idea what it meant :)
I never thought it was actually possible for our brain to change, I thought once we are adults things are pretty much set in stone when it come to my brain. Well, turns out that I was very wrong!
Our brain doesn't loose the ability to build new neuronal pathways or strengthen new neuronal pathways (VIDEO ON BRAIN FUNCTION WITH CPTSD). This is fantastic news and so so important for us when you had a childhood filled with abuse: physical, sexual and emotional and/or neglect - especially emotional neglect.
Through all that trauma and abuse we missed so many developmental milestones in our childhood. So neuroplasticity becomes really important us, because now as adults, we have to really catch up on a lot of stuff we missed out on due to our traumatic childhood experiences.
Every child will experience traumatic experiences at some point growing up that will impact their development or pause their development briefly. Like:
- losing a grandparent
- having to move to a different state o
- know their parents getting divorced
- an earthquake...
BUT if they're in a nurturing, caring, supportive environment, they quickly get back on track to reach their childhood developmental milestones.
For us that wasn't the case. We didn't have the support and nurture and love to help us overcome traumatic experiences and the trauma and abuse just keep happening again and again... so our development never really got back on track, leaving us with a lot of catching up to do.
The good news is that we really can change we really can learn new skills we really can change our behaviors can
HERE'S a video on BRAIN FUNCTION WITH CPTSD
When I think of my triggers, flashbacks and struggles with cPTSD, it feels like we can't change... but when we look at other areas of our life, we can prove that our brain can change learn new skills till they become automatic.
For example, when I moved from Austria to Australia, all in a sudden I had to drive on the other side of the road. And I can tell you, my very first reverse car park was a disaster :)
We soon learn that new skill and soon the new neuronal pathways develop and strengthen and that new activity becomes just an automatic habit.
There were many adjustments I had to make due to different cultural things between Austria and Australia, for example, new ways of how to introduce myself - etiquette...
So I just had to really get this into my head that if I can get my brain to change in this context, than I can also do this for learning to manage my cPTSD.
Initially when I was triggered by something, that meant that for the next few months I was seeing myself therapist about the same trigger over and over. I just couldn't get past it, stop thinking about it or let it go. There were constant flashbacks and nightmares about it too. Is this happening for you too?
Being triggered used to keep me stuck for many months in the past, but now a decade later things have changed so much for me. Nowadays, when I'm triggered, I still have a flashback, that vivid memory, but it lasts only a very short time. Sometimes even actually minutes to a few hours and it's very rarely that it goes everyday
And that is so my wish for you too
So it is really exciting that we can really really learn new skills, behaviours, routines, habits, attitudes... to help ourselves in getting back within the Window of Tolerance or make our Window of Tolerance bigger whichever way you prefer to look at it :)
I just can't stress it enough, keep reminding yourself over and over. I had a post-it note on my computer for many years telling myself myself
my brain has tremendous capacity to change
Okay so I think it's really important that you keep reminding yourself of this too :)
Just keep at it, little steps by little step and you get there too. Slowly with tons of patience you will recognise the changes. It takes a long time to build those new neuronal pathways. People or society often doesn't see or understand just how much hard work, determination and commitment is required to re-wire our brain and build those new neuronal pathways.
Patience with oneself is key here, okay. So please be patient with yourself. Please be kind with yourself along the way too. Allow yourself to pause and feel proud about your work, because it is a really difficult thing to do and it takes a lot of energy :)
Do you feel disconnected from your body?
Self-awareness and feeling safe in your body are difficult concepts after Childhood trauma. People with complex PTSD often feel disconnected from their body.
This is a normal coping mechanism to survive the trauma but puts as at great risk of developing burnout and disease in adulthood. This video series is for you to become more aware of all the different ways your body is talking to you and some practices, tips and exercises. You can watch it here
As always, I'm sending you lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little.
Here is a video on how to rewire our brain after trauma
For more videos hop on over and check out my YouTube Channel.