Learn the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD, with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

One of the world’s foremost psychiatrists specializing in PTSD, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk visits Big Think to discuss the history of the disorder, its varying effects on sufferers of all ages, and forms of treatment that can “help people to come back to life.”

To understand PTSD, says Dr. van der Kolk, you have to understand the nature of trauma and the ways in which traumatic triggers can vaporize anyone’s joie de vivre.

‘Is Recovery the Right Word?’ by Dolly Sen

omeka-net-4762-archive-fullsize-757b9035f7beee79de9361dc5997f5bfExcellent reflections by Dolly Sen from an Archive of Mental Health Recovery Stories.

‘The problem with the Recovery Model is that it is a medical term, and is expected to sit safely and warmly in the medical world. The recovery model says you need to look beyond the symptoms and see the person. But the whole relationship between service user and professional is regulated by the symptoms, depending if your symptoms go up or down, decides what treatment you get, if any at all.

It is also assuming that there is an illness to recover from. That the mental and emotional pain is not a very human and very appropriate response to trauma, that it has to be pathological, a sickness.

If that wasn’t enough, it then puts you in a system where people blow out your candle and then ask you to get better, or it takes your candle away and then asks ‘where is your light?’ You won’t find a better example of catch 22 than in psychiatry.

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‘What’s Wrong With You? Nothing. What Has Happened to You? Something.’ by Dr Michael Cornwall

mcornwall‘Licensed Mental Heath professionals are trained and are required to find out what is wrong with people.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of the people who could benefit from professional mental health services, in my opinion, are suffering from feeling something is wrong with them. They already feel bad about themselves, like they are failing in life. They often feel a lot of guilt, shame and self-loathing. They are often already judging themselves.

They may have been overwhelmed  by losses, by life events, or have not had their crucial needs met, or have been unloved, neglected, bullied, abused or mistreated by family and others. Because of what has happened to them, they may struggle to not identify themselves as someone who’s lot in life is to be rejected or harmed by others.

Enter the room with them, the totally well-intentioned mental health professional. Too often that encounter adds to the person in need feeling like they are somehow strange, abnormal, defective or damaged goods. Because right away out comes the DSM and the search begins for a valid category of psychopathology symptom cluster. The questions begin – questions aimed at finding abnormal psychology symptoms so a diagnosis can be made and treatment begun as soon as possible.

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Happy One Year Birthday, Maddie!

rsz_851_bouquet_of_romance_products_largeOver a year ago, I met a special young lady from this side of the world, Well, let me clarify. We have never met physically, we started emailing each other. Maddie had blogged on Wired In To Recovery in the early stages of her own recovery, I had commented on the blog, and then we started emailing.

Maddie has talked about how she has been feeling on many days over the past year. It’s been very special (and an honour) to have followed her through this stage of her recovery. I have learnt so much. We’ve also been working on her Recovery Story, and boy-oh-boy, is that a Story! And Maddie has also helped me with a problem I had in my personal life.

Today is Maddie’s first year birthday. She’s been clean and sober one year! Isn’t that amazing, Maddie? One year today!

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