The PTSD Feedback Loop

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Telling stories about my trauma helps me deal with my PTSD. But the positive responses that I get from sharing my story can reinforce my PTSD feedback loop. I go down a spiral where I become hyper-focused on my past trauma and how it still affects me.

I’m allowed to have fun

I’ve shared my deepest darkest most vulnerable moments with the public. And luckily, I’m not famous and only have a small following.

There are no trolls yet for me. I only receive positive, emphatic, and supportive responses from people. And it’s great. 

There is another side to everything though. And all the positive responses that flow in when I share my trauma disappear when I share my work that is unrelated to it. 

That reinforces my PTSD feedback loop. I go down the spiral of only thinking about my trauma. Of coming up with new ways to tell my story. Of reliving every horrible painful moment. Then I feel obligated to keep sharing. To share until I’m empty.

But I’m allowed to have fun. I’m allowed to be my goofy, awkward self. I’m allowed to show off my work and be proud of what I’ve done as a food photographer.

My trauma is only a part of me. I’m so much more than it. 

The flee part of me recognizes this struggle. And to protect me, she comes up with reasons to not post and to avoid interactions on social media platforms.

But as a creative, this avoidance turns into self-sabotage.  People don’t ask for my portfolio site. They ask what my Insta handle is.

These platforms are a part of our modern life. I need to learn how to have a healthy relationship with them. And avoidance isn’t the answer.

The Body Keeps the Score

One of the most helpful and life-changing sources of information I came across is Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

This book manage to explain everything I was experiencing and helped me while I was waiting to find a therapist to work with.

If you want to understand the science and psychology behind what you’re feeling, this book is for you. However, it can be triggering for people who have suffered through sexual or violent traumas.

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