Tag Archives: trauma

Quote of the day – On social support and healing

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“(…) safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. (…) Social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.

Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love (…).

Isolating oneself into a narrowly defined victim group promotes a view of others as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst, which eventually only leads to further alienation. Gangs, extremist political parties, and religious cults may provide solace, but they rarely foster the mental flexibility needed to be fully open to what life has to offer and as such cannot liberate their members from their traumas. Well-functioning people are able to accept individual differences and acknowledge the humanity of others.

Bessel van der Kolk – The Body Keeps The Score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma (Penguin Books, 2015)

Do we suffer from too little reciprocity? From too much selfishness? Is the hyper-individualistic lifestyle of autonomy at all cost, isolation, and “every man for himself” making us miserable and sick?

How many of us feel truly seen, heard and understood? How many feel forsaken? Trapped between anger and absence? How many of us self-medicate (or are medicated!) just to cover basic human needs like safety, forgiveness, acceptance and connection?

How many live a life without rapture, life as rupture, as opposed to the healing powers of love, kindness, joint experiences, of breathing, movement and touch… What does it take to feel agency, to overcome duress?

This book has been a revelation and I cannot recommend it warmly enough. You’ll understand your body and brain like never before.

Wake-up call

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Dear readers, dear friends,

thank you so much for following my blog and thank you for your comments. Please have understanding if I am going to be a little quiet, a little absent for a while. Our family went through a traumatic experience two days ago. We could have lost our sweet little girl, our giggle-box who is always upbeat. She fell down an entire flight of stairs at a friend’s house, rolled over three times and landed on her face at the bottom. It was my fault, I didn’t pay attention, and a few seconds is all it takes.

My son and I are still very shaken, having witnessed the whole thing, my husband who was out of town and had to rush home to the hospital is still walking in a daze. She lost a tooth and dislodged another, but apart from that, miraculously, there was NOT ONE bruise on her head or body.

I want to take this opportunity to THANK GOD AND HER GUARDIAN ANGEL(S) for saving our daughter. While we were in the hospital, and she had finally fallen asleep connected to those monitors, I just sat up and looked at her and thought how beautiful she is and how much I love her and how I would give anything to be able to keep her safe forever. When she was very little, I used to watch her sleep quite often, but somehow along the way I just forgot to be grateful. Well, I am grateful now, more than you can imagine. I AM TRULY TRULY GRATEFUL! I would also like to thank my friend I. who kept her cool and offered unconditional support, the ambulance crew, particularly the very dedicated emergency doctor who pulled rank and drove us to the right hospital for her jawbone to be examined and her tooth re-positioned, as well as the personnel at the Uni Klinikum Children’s Ward, who gave a terrified and conflicted mother a lot of their patience.

Every wobbly step she takes now, I get a heart attack and my son gets all flushed and starts to tremble (he is the most caring, loving and responsible older brother anybody can have), and her smile is not quite the same, but she is here with us, she’s playing, she’s her usual jolly self, she’s alive.

Forget ambition, pride and all that crap that seems important when we’re on top of the world. The only thing that really matters is that we are God’s partners in creating life. Real life. Real souls. A fancy house, a prestigious job, our self-absorbed plans?… none of that is worth a rat’s ass. Things can always be fixed. With people, it’s often irreversible.