Many of you asked about the podcasts that A sent me, so I’ve gathered them here for you, along with my key takeaways from them. I listened first, immediately (despite it being almost 10pm) to this one – featuring Bessel Van Der Kolk – on restoring the body: yoga, EMDR, and treating trauma. Remember that my conversation with A had been all about how I didn’t intellectually understand why my feelings and emotions were hard to understand and explain…. and this podcast did a miraculous job taking me out of that, and making me not feel ashamed – but in fact, making me feel incredibly normal.
The underlying message being one in which individuals who have been traumatized cannot separate their body from the experience and therefore we are unable to make sense of events, or re-write our memories. I identified SO strongly with this podcast and its message, that I listened to it twice. It talks about how trauma hijacks our body, so that we don’t own ourselves anymore, and how the work in therapy is to own ourselves again. About how the most elementary bodily functions – eating, rest, sleep, feeling safe – are eliminated when we have been traumatized. Our primitive brain hijacks our body, and the goal of the work is to own your moments and your body again. And this makes SO much sense to me.
My favourite excerpt(s) and message from this first podcast is this: “We learned that the ability to put things into words and articulate thoughts disappears. Which was an important finding because if people are going to overcome their trauma we need to find ways to bypass what they call the tyranny of language. Trauma is not about being reasonable, or being verbal, or being articulate…. We can talk until we are blue int he face but if the primitive part of our brain perceives something a certain way it is almost impossible to talk ourselves out of it. Which of course makes verbal psychotherapy also extremely difficult because that part of the brain becomes so very hard to access.” [Bessel Van Der Kolk]
The second podcast that A sent me was this one, featuring Brene Brown – a researcher on vulnerability. It’s all about the courage to be vulnerable. What I loved about this one, and the sentence that slaps me in the face every time I listen – is this – Does that mean that our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted? [Brene Brown]. And about how the moments where we show up, even if they don’t go well, are the moments that define us. And if we, this collective community, do not see the truth of this – then I don’t know who would.
Because if anybody knows what it means to show up, it is us. We show up to therapy. We show up for ourselves. We show up despite the odds that have been increasingly and forever stacked against us. We find a way to keep going. And the most comforting thing I received from BOTH these podcasts, is that experiencing the symptoms and feelings that have so many times made me feel so incredibly alone – all of these things, they are what make us human. To live vulnerably is not flowery, or fun, but every time we take a risk, we increase our capacity for beauty.
I hope that you enjoy these as much as A did, and as much as I did. I needed them so badly, and I didn’t even know it. Please do let me know your thoughts.