WOW ! What an amazing testimony for TRE taken from post at http://www.psychforums.com/borderline-personality/topic83179.html
by Lily82 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:21 am
I have been using something called Trauma Release Exercises, and have had such dramatic results, that I wanted to share it with others. I will tell a bit of my story, then explain how the TRE has helped me.
I am 29, female. I was diagnosed with BPD when I was 18. At the time BPDers were seen as incurable and manipulative, and I had a pretty bad experience in the psychiatric system. The doctor who diagnosed me tried to get me to be ‘assertive’ and just shoved pills at me.
So, I was in denial about how serious my issues were (as were my family). I had Depersonalisation Disorder since I was 8, started cutting when I was 12 but was kicking and biting myself when I was a kid, been bulimic since 13, started drinking at 14. I was in a adolescent unit for 6 months because my SH was out of control. I was swallowing glass and razor blades and constantly overdosing. My mood swings were out of control, and I was drinking daily just to calm myself down. I had to leave school, lost a lot of friends because of my behaviour, and only got a few qualifications. By that time I was so dissociated I could barely think straight, let alone read a book or study. That made me feel ever more stupid and worthless, and I just gave up on everything.
I tried college but dropped out, because I couldn’t concentrate and I was failing. I made some new friends, but my social skills were pretty bad. Because I had dissociated when I was 8, that’s when my emotional intelligence stopped, so my social skills were really childish and I was way too trusting. I was a total people pleaser, giving away my possessions and buying stuff for people to get them to like me.
I got my first serious boyfriend, which was awful, for both of us. I was constantly paranoid that he was going to leave me, I was really jealous of his friends especially female ones, I never accepted affection or kind words from him even though it was the one thing I really needed. I was constantly ashamed of how I was and my cutting was out of control. I would get angry for totally imaginary reasons (he was cheating on me, going to leave me etc), be ashamed of myself, then SH. I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, mainly for suicide attempts and depression. If he left me alone for the night, I would feel like I’d stopped existing, like I’d lost my connection to the world. I would drink just to knock myself out, because the dissociation was unbearable.
So luckily for him, he managed to get away. I then wound up with quite abusive boyfriends after that, but because of the way I’d treated my first boyfriend, I wanted to be abused to punish myself. I was living on my own, but not coping or surviving. I scraped by financially, as I was spending all my money. I was barely holding down a job, and had issues with co-workers. I had friends but many were getting tired of my constant instability, and by this time I was getting mini psychotic episodes and paranoia. The dissociation was getting out of control. I’d wake up and not know where I was, lose time, I was confused and forgetful. My drinking was out of control. I then got my heart broken, and had a breakdown and lost my job and apartment. I also at this time was having a psychotic/dissociative episode, and completely lost the plot. I wound up in hospital after trying to kill myself, after a 7 day overdose binge. I had to move home, but nobody picked up on the fact I was psychotic/ dissociated and so I went years of not being treated. I developed paranoia and agoraphobia, and was do dissociated I thought I was dead. I thought people around me were replicas and out to get me. I was cutting and had bulimia, still. A lot of self-loathing and mood swings and anger.
So, fast forward a few years, I am in a therapy group for women with BPD, using Mindfulness. At first it was hard, because of my dissociation, I find it hard to express my emotions. But I am using breathing techniques when I feel myself ‘switching’ or getting angry.
So, a friend recommended that I try Trauma Release Exercises to help with the dissocation and anxiety. I was skeptical because I couldn’t see how it would help. I honestly cannot believe the change in me, in only a few weeks! The first time I did it, I cried, and I felt like all the pain I had been blocking off had come to the surface, but then it went and was replaced with peace. Here are things I have experienced so far.
*Ability to recognise and express my emotions, and I am able to be more honest with myself. For example, instead of being upset that ‘Everybody is leaving me’. I am able to think ‘I don’t have the emotional skills to make people stick around’. Or ‘Nobody understands me’ I now think ‘I have poor communication skills’. So I am more factual, than emotional. Emotions aren’t getting in the way as much, and I am able to change
*I feel more compassion for myself, and for the people I have hurt. I couldn’t face up to how my behaviour was affecting other people, although I felt constant guilt, I didn’t have the tools to not do it. I was outside of my body, just watching myself behave in a way that constantly shamed me. Now I am more aware of the way I have treated people and how I wish I could go back and change things
*I feel more open, like all the ‘modes’ and barriers that were stopping me from seeing myself is gone. I can communicate better in therapy, before all I could say is ‘I’m depressed’.
*My separation anxiety is lessening. I don’t feel I disappear when people go away
*I am a lot more assertive. I can take responsibility for when I am wrong, and see where I don’t need to feel guilty. Before I felt guilty over everything, and allowed myself to be abused and blamed for things I didn’t do. I project less, I don’t blame others when I make mistakes
*I feel more inside of my body and more grounded
*I am starting to feel more whole as a person, and I can see more positive personality traits that I can connect to. Before I was either ‘all bad’ or totally empty. I was whoever I was with, or whatever other people wanted me to be
*I am a lot less angry. Because I am crying and feeling sad, it’s not turned into rage, like it used to. And if I do get angry, I can ground myself a lot easier
*My moods have settled down, because I am less triggered
* Better impulse control- this is also down to the Mindfulness
*I am starting to see myself properly, and know that I exist and that I am real! Most important thing!
*OCD and intrusive thoughts are lessening
*I feel I am getting to know my true personality, and not the disordered, sick Personality Disorder I ended up with
*I feel I am moving forwards for the first time in my life, not stuck in the past, or going round and round in circles!
I would recommend these excercises to anyone with BPD. I think people with BPD have such trouble seeing themselves as they really are and can’t communicate their emotions, and getting rid of the original trauma will help to take down the barriers, so you can start to heal. I know that I couldn’t name my emotions or know how to deal with them. I was locked into my head, stuck in this cycle and didn’t know what was going on. Doing TRE has helped me communicate, which I could never do before and I am feeling more peaceful. I still have bad days, where I am in ‘bad mode’ and loathe myself. But I am more in ‘good mode’ and have built a more stable base inside of me that I can fall back on if I wobble!
Also, the TRE does not trigger memories at all. So please don’t worry about being retraumatised or that it will bring up painful events. With these excercises I had learned that although I am seeing myself and feeling ashamed of how I was, I am being rewarded with more stability and clarity and a better understanding of how I ended up like this. Everything is starting to make more sense.