Saying Goodbye to Mr. Circumstance: A Life with PTSD, For M: Losing Memory

click on comic to enlarge

hover over comic for additional messages

This comic is part of an ongoing series on PTSD. To view the rest of the series click on the following link. Thank you for reading. If you’d like to write me directly to share your experiences you may do so at lilyelainehawkwakawaka (at) gmail (dot) com , or feel free to comment here below the comic. It means a lot to hear from you.

  1. megwood said:

    This is interesting — I knew that trauma certainly disrupts memory from the point of the trauma forward, but had never thought about how it would also impact memory from BEFORE. And yet, that makes perfect sense. The thing I hate about this so much is how unfair it is that one person and one event (or series of related events) can take SO MUCH. I want my brain and your brain not to let that happen. But I also know our brains are very, very tired.

    Love you, sweetheart. Keep these coming.

  2. Johanna said:

    Thank you for sharing this. It resonates deeply with my experience having faced severe neglect and abuse as a child and teen and have Complex PTSD and general anxiety disorder. About five years into therapy as an adult, I got all the family members I could reach to give me pictures and artifacts of my childhood, and spent several painful sessions working through them and connecting with those parts of myself, since my earliest childhood. The dissociation is still profound, and I remind myself that it served the function of keeping me safe. It’s just so hard to remind myself that I’m safe *now*, enough to integrate the past without feeling terrified in the present. My heart goes out to you on your journey. Know that lots and lots of us have been there, and are there, and are walking this path too. Which is also a grief on a grief, but means you’re not alone. 🙂

    One other note– I have found cranio-sacral treatment to be immensely helpful. In my last session of that, the cs therapist (also a dear friend) put her hands on my neck, just above my larynx, and said “What’s going on here? Tell me about when you were little.” I froze, then started talking about my post-trauma life. She shook her head, “No, BEFORE. When you were really, really, really small.” “I’m crying really loud and I know no one’s going to come help me.” *THUD* And then we talked, and then she did some more work, and inexplicably I felt so much better afterwards. Fragile and exhausted, but better.

  3. megwood said:

    Interesting you mention cranio-sacral treatment, Johanna. I just was at a lecture last year about body work/massage therapy for women with PTSD and substance abuse disorders. It was reporting on a study in which women in substance abuse treatment also received body work/massage specifically geared towards treating PTSD. This interested me in particular because there’s a strong connection between fibromyalgia and trauma history in women (something like 3/4ths of FMS patients report a significant trauma history — a physical trauma of some sort). The study found that the body work reduced PTSD symptoms dramatically (which in turn had a positive impact on drug use as well). I’m hoping to see more research on that in the future in the hopes that HMOs will start paying attention to the ways in which massage therapy can treat more than just standard physical injuries, but also mental health issues as well.

  4. megwood said:

    In case anybody is interested in reading a little research on body work and trauma, here are two good articles (both from peer-reviewed journals — high standards):

    Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005;115(10):1397-413. Abstract:

    MIndful awareness in body-oriented therapy for female veterans with PTSD taking prescription analgesics for chronic pain: A feasibility study. Altern Ther Health Med 2007; 13(6):32-40. Full text of article available:

    I don’t think the group who did the research I heard about at the lecture has published yet on their study.

  5. Johanna said:

    Thanks, Meg. That’s fantastic research. I can’t recommend CS treatment more highly. I found out about it when it was recommended for my 4 week old son after his difficult birth. The provider I took him to saw him once a month for 3 months and he was much better (less reflux, less colic, less crying, better/deeper sleep, etc.) And then she suggested to me that some treatment might be extremely helpful for my own body/mind integration and struggles. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

  6. Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka said:

    So glad you’re both here. Thank you so much for sharing your insights here. I’m deeply grateful. Much love to both of you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: