4 Steps to Erasing the Trauma of Painful Memories

GoodTherapy | 4 Steps to Erasing the Trauma of Painful MemoriesMost everyone has at least one traumatic memory embedded in their brains. One that still resonates for me was the time my mother left me alone when I was six years old to take the babysitter home. When I looked apprehensive, she told me not to worry. “I’ll be right back,” she said, smiling brightly, and drove off. As it got dark, I became more and more frightened that something had happened to her and she wasn’t coming back.

By the time she returned I was totally terrified. She found me standing outside wailing. She scolded me and took me inside. Years later, whenever my wife was late coming home I would become worried and anxious. My heart would begin to pound, and more than once when she was particularly late, I had a full-blown panic attack.

I know I’m not alone. Some have memories from a car accident, a rape, a natural disaster, a violent parent, a drunk husband, a hospital stay, an assault, the horrors of war. Experiences like these are more common than you might think, with an estimated 60% or more of Americans who have experienced at least one of these at some point in life. Not all of these memories cause people to experience trauma later in life, but they can cause problems for many, and for some they can be debilitating. People with posttraumatic stress (PTSD) can become hypersensitive, with nerves on a permanent state of high alert. Fear and anxiety recur without warning, and nightmares can ruin sleep.

Memories and Trauma

But now there are simple, yet effective, ways to actually erase the traumatic emotions that often accompany these memories so that they can finally be put to rest. Many people can do this work on their own. For more difficult traumatic memories, working with a therapist who specializes in healing trauma can be helpful.

In his book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says, “Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, it was primed to learn quickly from bad experiences but not so much from the good ones.” It’s why traumatic memories so often stick in our brains, while positive memories seem to slip away. “It’s an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive,” Hanson concludes.

Fortunately, new findings from the field of affective neuroscience can help people heal traumatic memories that can contribute to PTSD, depression, bipolar, and even Alzheimer’s. One of the things we are learning about memories is critically important: Though the brain is particularly good at recording bad memories, they are not permanently locked into the brain’s memory banks, as we once thought. Whenever we actively recall a memory, it transforms and becomes vulnerable to modification.

When we recall a memory it becomes a little unstable and for a window of perhaps two or three hours, it’s possible to modify it before it settles down again, or “reconsolidates,” in the brain. That’s why, paradoxically, recalling bad memories can help us heal from old wounds. Reliving traumatic moments again in a condition of safety can help a person disconnect the memory from the painful “alarm” mechanisms that are the source of so much discomfort.

In the book The Archeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions, Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven say, “Emotional memories remain forever malleable, subject to influence by future events—through a phenomenon called reconsolidation.” This is the basis of various treatment approaches for healing trauma including prolonged exposure therapy, supportive psychotherapy, emotional freedom techniques (tapping), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), trauma-based cognitive behavior therapy, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

How to HEAL

Based on the latest in neuroscience finds Rick Hanson offers a simple, yet effective, method for rewiring the brain from the negative emotions associated with trauma to the positive emotions associated with health and wellness. In his book, he describes a four step process using the acronym HEAL.

  1. Have a positive experience.

Step 1 activates a positive mental state, and steps 2, 3, and 4 install it in your brain. In step 1 we notice a positive experience that’s already present in the foreground or background of your awareness. In the example I offered at the beginning, I tuned into an experience where I felt safe and supported, and brought to mind experiences of safety and security.

  1. Enrich it.

Too often we spend minutes, and sometimes hours and days, ruminating over a negative experience, but we gloss over the positive. Here we take time to deepen the positive experience. I would open myself to the feelings of support I have in my life. I would picture and my wife and friends and the many supports I have, filling my inner conscious with at least 10 to 20 seconds of positive memory.

  1. Absorb it.

Here we imagine ourselves drinking in the experience. I imagine all my cells being infused with the experience. I feel it sinking into me and becoming part of my brain and all the parts of my being.

  1. Link positive and negative material.

Hanson describes this as an optional step. We don’t want to become overwhelmed by the negative, but to hold the negative in consciousness while it is infused with the positive. Hanson uses the image of a garden. We imagine the beauty of beautiful flowers we are planting. We become aware of the weeds and gently pull them out so there’s room for growth. He concludes by saying, “Whenever you want, let go of all negative material and rest only in the positive. Then, to continue uprooting the negative material, a few times over the next hour be aware of only neutral or positive things that may have been associated with the negative.

I bought back the memories of being left by my mother and some of the associated experiences of getting anxious whenever someone I cared about was late. Focusing on the negative while activating positive experiences can actually “erase” the fearful feelings from the past. I still remember my mother leaving me alone and being angry with me when she returned, but it doesn’t grab me and shake me up like it used to do and I’m much less anxious when my wife is late coming home.

I describe other techniques for healing old pain in my book, Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well. I often use them along with the ones that Dr. Hanson teaches. In this engaging TED talk Dr. Hanson describes how we can rewire the brain for joy and happiness and heal from trauma. In another show he describes how our mind can change the brain from being Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive.

Even when traumatic memories don’t reach a level of discomfort associated with PTSD, they can still be destructive. Hanson notes that unresolved trauma “increases inflammation, weakens your immune system, and wears on your cardiovascular system. No one has to live with traumatic memories from the past. They can truly be healed now and forever.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jed Diamond, PhD, LCSW, Men's Issues Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • wyatt

    June 12th, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    I am not sure that I understand exactly why you would want to forget about the painful memory. Yes I get that this is not something that you want to rehas every single day but at the same time don’t you think that it would give you a sense of pride to know that you can think about it from time to time and it doesn’t have to defeat you like it has in the past?

    There is something that for me would make me want to fight this thing head on and show myself that I can be this thing and that I have not allowed it to beat me.

  • samira

    April 30th, 2017 at 12:15 AM

    Am strong girl but its hard to forget wat hppen to me cuz I have mental truama and I try to forget but I can’t even my dreams are about my trauma

  • Jed Diamond

    June 12th, 2014 at 4:46 PM


    Thanks for your comment. These processes don’t erase the memory. I agree that its empowering to think about what has happened and how we’ve dealt with it. What these do is to take away the traumatic and fearful feelings that often accompany the memory. They take away the post-traumatic aspects so we can live easily on the other side of the pain.

  • tony

    September 3rd, 2017 at 11:22 PM

    hey jed diamond I am asking for your help with trauma and such :)

  • Jed Diamond

    September 4th, 2017 at 1:34 PM

    Tony, Happy to talk to you about trauma, healing, and my work. Drop me a note to Jed@MenAlive.com (Be sure to respond to my spamarrest filter when writing for the first time.

  • Adelaide

    June 13th, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Love the HEAL method as I think that this can relate to many of us in so many stages of our lives, whether we have experienced something truly traumatic or not. And the thing that I most love about it is that it truly encourages us as to what the end result should indeed be all about which is about healing and letting go of that painful past to make room for a happier future.

  • Krista

    June 14th, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    It is great to take a moment even when you are facing horrible times and memories, to think about the wonderful people who have helped to pull you through this and who have never left you. Those are the things that I hope that I would be able to fixate on, the strength and the sanity that I would be able to derive from others in my life, those who have given me the courage and the encouragement all along to keep moving forward even in the face of adversity and fear. If that is one good thing that could come from something like this then I would hope that these are the people whom I could cling to and whom I could always remember all of the things that they have so willingly and openly given to me.

  • Jed Diamond

    June 15th, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve found these tools to be simple, effective, and very healing. I use them in my own life and with my clients.

  • jeremy b

    June 16th, 2014 at 4:17 AM

    Do you think that trauma is something that most people need the help of a therapist to get over, or are there some things that one could do on his own to start getting through the healing process? Yes I am talking about me because I have so many painful memories from my childhood and at least I am aware enough to know that in so many ways they have left me totally screwed up, but I just don’t have the funds to commit to real therapy. Hsve any thoughts on that or some things I could work on at home to get through some of this?

  • Jed Diamond

    June 16th, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Jeremy, thanks for the note. Most people have experienced trauma that needs healing and there’s much we can do on our own. I recommend a book by my colleague Dr. George Pratt called Code to Joy. It gives excellent
    directions for doing a lot of healing of old wounds. If you need more help after that, a good therapist can be helpful.

  • jeremy b

    June 17th, 2014 at 4:21 AM

    Thanks, I will be checking out that book

  • Debbie

    July 20th, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    My two brothers and I were sexually abuse by our good friends next door when we we little. The youngest brother was later diagnosed skitsophrenic and died at age 22 from suicide, my other little brother just died 3 weeks ago due to self abuse with drugs, he was 57. I an 58 yrs old and have had drug abuse problems in the past hut I went to therapy and it helped. I was also physically and emotional abused by my mother but my brothers were not. I have been diagnosed as depressed bipolar but I can’t take the medicine for it so I take a low dose of Prozac to get me by. My family is and always has been in denial about my brothers and me, this has caused me hidden anger because me and my brothers feel different and my older siblings and our parents don’t understand. How can I deal with this anger. I don’t let it control me but I would like it to go away. Thanks, have a good day

  • Jed Diamond

    July 20th, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Debbie, Trauma can impact us and the wounds can stay with us for a long time. Fortunately there are many good treatments now for dealing with the effects of trauma. A good therapist who is trained in dealing with abuse and trauma issues can help you deal with the residual anger.

    Know that the anger is healthy and with support you can find ways to heal the anger and gain greater peace in joy in your life.

    Good for you for hanging in there. It takes a lot of courage to live deeply and stay open to healing.

    I appreciate your sharing your story. I’m sure it will be helpful to others who have experienced similar pain.

  • Jeanine

    February 28th, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    Thanks, I needed to hear that. I’m going through that very situation right now.

  • Victimized

    February 28th, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    i have been seeing a therapist since August twice a month. I almost had a breakdown. I couldn’t believe she was finding a way for me to start feeling like it just happened yesterday. When I know I need a good cry I stop it before it’s finished. I need to stay in that moment so any suggestions or will therapust finally help me to break down? She asked if there were more incidents. And she says I need to talk about them. I know she’s right. I just don’t like crying in front of someone

  • Charlotte

    October 22nd, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    First of all…please stop referring to yourself as victimized. You may have been a victim..but no longer. Call yourself a survivor if you need a name. you can and will overcome and get stronger in every moment that passes…I too have experienced more trauma than most…and I deal with it every damn day. I was once invited by my counselor to smash something in her office..I wanted to but this is really a test of wether we have self control…but crying sobbing and letting yourself dissolve into a puddly mush of incoherence is OKAY. I highly suggest it.

  • Arika

    February 28th, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    When I was very young after my mother divorced from my )stepfather stepfather,my little brother went with his dad, while I unfortunately had to live with our mother, she claimed she had Lupus (found out this year that she was not cliclinically diagnosed) back to the story with her claim she started doing drugs, therefore messing with her brain. Do to the drugs she could not pay the rent,so she would let men live with us, herself and I. What makes it traumatic is because she would do 1 of 2 things with me and I am not even in my double digits at the time,she would either take me to a place that was both a restaurant and a lounge, she would put me in the restaurant where I could see her as did drugs and drank sometimes to a stupor, there were times she would go out but rather than taking me with her she would leave me with the men she had helping her pay the rent, they tried things to no avail,because I had a guardian angel in the form of my Grandparents. With all this said, I was lucky to find a man who was willing to take the time to get me over some of my fears of how men treat women, it wasn’t an easy task for him he had to tell me to relax the first time he held my hand, but still to this time I am not very comfortable around men. I want to thank my Grandparents and my boyfriend for helping me without my asking. Wonderful article and true.

  • Jed Diamond

    March 1st, 2015 at 6:57 AM

    Healing and working with a therapist can be on life-giving, but difficult, process. Trust is essential and takes time to develop. I encourage clients and therapists to take whatever time is necessary to develop trust so you can open up, cry, get angry, whatever you need to do. Don’t ever hold back your tears. They are always healing.

  • Nancy S

    May 16th, 2015 at 12:35 AM

    I am very familiar with Rick Hanson and have listened to over 50 hours worth of his talks, interviews, books, etc. He SPECIFICALLY cautions against using this method with Traumatic memories. In his words, it can be a “one way ticket to hell.” Difficult memories and experiences, Yes. Trauma – NO!

  • Michael

    October 28th, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    That experience with his mother was a trauma as It created anxiety in similar situations.

  • Nicky

    May 16th, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    What if someone has had several bad experiences and traumas to deal with? I have been abused when 9.Raped at 15 sexually harassed at 17..sexually assaulted at 39 and was beaten and my life threatened at 41 by my ex partner..I now question every relationship I’ve had with a man..I don’t trust them and I don’t trust my judgement.Every trauma brings up my past again and I wonder if all are connected..ands well as being truly unlucky. I want therapy but don’t know who to see.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    May 17th, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Nicky. If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, https://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Charlotte

    October 22nd, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    Nicky I too have had so much trauma in my life beginning at a very young age to and including adulthood. One thing I now know NOT to do is repeat the past…a lot of times we seek to relive the trauma with someone new refardlesa of wether we are aware of it or not. only then can you move forward instead of constantly reliving the same trauma. It does get better with therapy..cbt or dbt therapy…so I hope you sought and found someone you feel that after some time you can trust…I prefer social workers aka licensed counselors instead of psychologists. All the best to you, and try as I do not to let every moment of the present, our GIFT, to be stolen from us. There is beauty and safety in the current moment. Stay safe.

  • Louise M.

    August 8th, 2017 at 5:27 AM

    Hi have been through alot of childhood sexual trauma in which the anger had been dormant for years as I became an adult I fell into patterns of more abuse and alcohol to cope. I found myself not wanting to repeat how my mother lived and left the situation but never realized even though i physically left, the memoiries and the pain were breeding and never released with the right support and therapist. I have had therapists who do more harm than good at times and yes it is so incredibly important to find one that truly validates you and your feelings. I am in the process now of finding a new one and just may leave my current one even though she is encouraging me to stay. I did not appreciate when she told me anger is a choice. I love the above statement that says anger is healthy and just need the proper help to process it and heal it. This is where I am at currently. Recently my mother tried to choke me and i found myself retreating isoloating and more angry at her and all those who hurt me in the past so i know I have lots more healing to do. The other day I found a utube video on the EFT, tapping, and it so helped to know that anger serves as a protector for more pain but that it does not necessarily allow one to have a healthy life and relationships if the anger is never let go. Maybe that is what the therapist was trying to convey was that I don’t have to hold onto it but I never until yesterday understood why it was so strong and why i was having trouble to stop being so angry. I can’t thank the man enough Brad Yates I believe for spelling it out so simply. Years of therapy and was never put to me so clearly. Therapist really need to find more wholistic approaches to their treatments and clients. i am so grateful i now understand why i had been holding onto my past anger for so long and why this recent trauma sparked my like a cannonball so full of rage and upset. In the book The Four Agreements , the author writes that the second agreement is TO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLLY, peoples insults, wounds, hateful acts. They are the ones filled with unresolved issues and problems but yes as a survivor it is indeed a journey and can be a long road to comprehend that it is not about you or that it is not your fault especially if you endured sexual trauma as a child or abuse of any kind as a child as sadly many of us had. Through yoga, walking, self talk, self compassion, I am learning to love myself again and understand that if certain family members do not validate or support me it does not diminish my self worth. Many are blessed to have support by loved ones and friends and there is a huge silent majority perhaps who suffer alone and individually without support or undertstanding. Those are the ones I want to help some day when I feel stronger as I have been in there shoes. Despite my anger that was looking for and found answers, I always have had a strong desire to be healed and whole again. I now know that this recent trauma is one that i too will get beyond with determination and finding better support. Thank you Jed for all the references to books and advice you provide. It is refreshing to see a professional not caught up in text book pyschotherapy. To everyone else out there with stories and struggles, I wish you find the healing and the life you are meant to have. At some point my story of my pain and journey will be out there to help others to never give up no matter how bleak it gets. Namaste, ( I honor the light in all of you)

  • Amm

    February 12th, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    Your article is real and based on bitter truth prevails in society. I was brought up in an environment where domestic violence was an evry day thing. I cnt remember any day of my childhood without seeing my father hitting abusing my mother in front of me thrashing all the houshold stuff beating my mum angrily. And i use to be sad lonely grieved. My school time was a real disaster i use to panic at evry public speaking or making friends. Low self esteem anxiety and a feeling of helplessness is stored in me. Now m married to a loving caring husband. But all of a sudden after so many years i get to see those miserable scenes in my sleep. I cnt control that i wake up terrified with heart pumping strongly. I just dnt know how to take that out of my unconscious mind and could improve confidence or be more social. Is there any way i can help myself with some practise or books. Plz advise.

  • Mariann

    September 27th, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Thank you for you comments. I will read your book.

  • vivian

    February 25th, 2017 at 4:35 PM

    ::”” What about if I don`t honestl have any good memorys ?
    “‘ seriously I can not remember any nice things that happened to me as a small girl ( CHILD)) iv

  • Louise M.

    August 8th, 2017 at 5:32 AM

    in a thriver group I was told to start creating new joyful memories. As you do this more and more joy will come into your life. I am working on this myself. Take yourself to a nice dinner. Invite a few special friends over. Treat yourself to a pedicure and don’t feel guilty. Whatever things small to big that bring you joy. Just do. As victims no we don’t know what it is to have happy memories. But now as adults we can create knew ones!!!! For me if i pick flowers or buy flowers , that one small thing can help me hold on to greater things coming and lift my spirits when I am sad or feel like I am stuck in the pain. Hope that helps

  • vivian

    February 25th, 2017 at 4:37 PM

    “I CANT REMEMBER any thing good that happened to me , when I was little .

  • Heidi

    February 26th, 2017 at 2:51 AM

    For me EMDR took away the fear, guilt and anger from the memories I had. I can still recall what happened but the negative emotions associated with my PTSD disappeared and I felt empowered. Years later Ihave very few symptoms remaining. I am a very happy and balanced person. For me, this worked extremely well.

  • Rebecca

    April 20th, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    I’ve been told by family members I was sexually abused when young. I have a terrible memory and anxiety I don’t want to know what happened but he what to improve my memory and anxiety. Any books etc that would help

  • Kimberlie

    April 30th, 2017 at 9:03 PM

    I think it sweet that you care so much about your wife, and are awaiting her arrival home! I cannot even fathom that kind of care and support. I also thought it was kinda funny that the article open with pointing out that we all have 1 memory thats traumatic in our life, try hundreds of painful memorys, my entire life is one giant painful memory…
    I am incredibly grateful for my kitty companion pet, he has been more loving and supportive to me than Any human being i have Ever known in this entire life…
    When i think back to last week, it sends shooting pains in the center of my body. The sadness scares me at times, because during those past moments, i could only Hope& Pray things would get better, little did i actually know looking back, they wouldnt.


    June 6th, 2017 at 4:43 AM

    I think the only way to move from the bad memories is to create new ones..positive and good ones. We are not our past or the people who hurt us and scarred us.

  • diana

    June 27th, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    every relationship with men results in their acting out violence and I am always the target, I’m in my 60s and realize it’s their fault, some of them are dead, the worst of them a suicide, yet , I am not done with my life , and I am healthy, happy, single, and free..the trauma leaves me lonely – no one wants to hear about it, no one comforts me in my sadness, and I know nothing will ever take away the pain of knowing that a lover, a partner , a husband violated me and separate me from my good health and physical safety, and I subsequently could not raise my children or work. The point of my experience is that it’s not my fault, it’s theirs, their lack of love, weak moral core, insanity and stupidity lead to their low trashy ways of living. I don’t know how I survived but they didn’t. Karma took care of them all.

  • Gabe

    August 1st, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    I can’t get over the breakup with my ex 4 years ago. We had a good relationship that eventually degenerated into an argument that ended pretty bad for me. I was young and dumb and did not think that getting into an argument with people I resent and ending a relationship and was going to leave me with emotional wounds and painful memories. I often relive that bad episode and it simply does not seem to get away from me. I can’t break free from my anger and resent for what they said to me. Even if they did some good things to me before and even after this and tried to reconcile with me it does not wash away the bad words and hazing and threats they said back then. My relatives say that I am too arrogant and do not tolerate anyone saying anything bad to me. Although I have tried seeing the good things they did to me and my part of fault in that argument, I can’t stop hating them. I have gone through worse humiliations at school long before this one, which fortunately, I managed to forget and cannot recall them even if I want to. I know that something bad happened and I have a vague memory of what happened but fortunately it no longer affects me emotionally. I think forgetness is the only real answer, when you are no longer able to recall a past trauma even if you want to. Most of my bad memories are from school and I have a latent hatred towards people of my age. Even my ex said that this is not a valid reason to stay away from other people. Anyway, I have trouble sleeping, have headaches, stomach aches and heart aches because I can’t put up with what happened. Years later, I deeply regret getting into that argument which meant another blow to my already fragile and damaged self-esteem. I wish I could forget what happened and no longer be stored in my emotional memory. I started worrying about my mental health and my condition since I have already destroyed more than 4 precious years of my life and I am really worried that I am going to waste my whole life and remain professionally, socially and financially unrealised because I am blocked into a miserable memory. I started to empathise with people who have been abused by others because it is easy to say get over it and live as if nothing happened. I hope that starting a new relationship in autumn will erase the trauma of my ex. Any help from a mental health professional would be appreciated.

  • Jed Diamond

    August 1st, 2017 at 1:58 PM

    Gabe, I know how painful it is to go through a break up and then feel re-traumatized by the memories. Its a form of post traumatic stress disorder and can be debilitating. Fortunately, there are many therapists who specialize in helping people heal. There are a number of approaches that can help. I recommend you reach out to some therapists who specialize in working with these kinds of issues.

  • Gabe

    May 28th, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Dear Mr Jed Diamond
    I am the one who has suffered from breaking-up with my “first love” 6 years ago. I want to mention that I am now feeling better since I have been taking medication (Aripiprazole, Valproic acid, Venlafaxine and sometimes Olanzapine) for a year and a half. I have spent two weeks in two psychiatric hospitals. I have also been doing psychotherapy for the last 9 months. It is primarily the medication that has alleviated part of the symptoms. At least, I can sleep well at night and have nice dreams and my head, heart and stomach no longer hurt so badly. I still hate those who have abused me, but it is no longer such an obsession. I come from a country in Eastern Europe where many people are rude and conceited and I’m hoping to move out to the civilized Western Europe next year. I still can’t concentrate properly and have stomach aches and some heart aches. I hope to find good psychiatric care in the West to permanently forget this traumatic episode (hopefully it is possible, otherwise my life is destroyed). I have been raised in a family of intellectuals and from a young age I had trouble with being overly sensitive and easily offended, so probably I am predisposed to PTSD. I have completed a degree in Biochemistry in the UK with the trauma I have been talking about and now I am doing a second degree back at home and a master’s degree, so from my own experience it is possible to do something in life with PTSD even though it is hard. I hope that my recent experience will help others dealing with the same issues.

  • Diana

    August 4th, 2017 at 2:57 AM

    I have tried different Counseling and have not been helped. I have been reading that the field has changed a lot and I’ve been thinking about trying it again.
    When I was 17, (my18th Birthday was 2 weeks away) my parents figured out that I was pregnant. Because of THEIR standing in Society as my Dad was a Clinical Psychologist, they forced me to get an abortion at 26 weeks. California at the time was the only state that abortions were legal, my Dad arranged through friends living there, that I was liveing with them. To make a long story short, the whole experience of seeing my baby dangling between my legs in the bathroom at the hospital and the nurses yelling at me because I had gotten out of bed, the fact I became so hysterical they had to sedate me. After the ordeal, my parents never got me any counseling, it was NEVER talked about…and my was a Clinical Psychologist, he had to have seen and known what I was going through the whole time; I have dealt with depression ever since.

  • Louise M.

    August 8th, 2017 at 5:41 AM

    So so sorry that was your experience. Send your baby love to the other side. They know its not your fault. I am not a therapist although I often think of becoming one. I am just an empath and certified in Reiki, and a caring human being. I would find a grief counselor, rose essential oil helps alot with grief, you can find inexpensive version of it at vitamin shoppe or whole foods. Love yourself and write it down and tell it to yourself all day long. I have Louise Hay to thank for that advise when I remember to apply it to myself. Your child does not want you to suffer and knows it was not your fault. In time you may or may not make peace with your parents, you have that choice. Clearly they acted out of ignorance. Fight like hell to break the depression, walk, journal, cry, wear green clothing to bed I have read and done this helps heal the heart. I send you light and love and hope you find the help you need with a neighbor, a woman support group, call the hotline, 411 in CT and you can always talk to someone and they may give you a referal. Just know you are worthy of a good life, no matter what tragedy the past holds. Really hope you find your way. Blessings

  • Jed Diamond

    August 8th, 2017 at 11:44 AM

    Louise, Thanks for sharing your hope and support.

  • Ayman

    September 30th, 2018 at 4:25 PM

    Why the hell do I often feel weird around people and I’ve these irrational thoughts of what they think of, I really feel like I’ve low self-esteem, its really hella painful to not be yourself around others, whomever did this for me I’ll NEVER forgive them, they totally ruined my life, my caregivers usually tell me shut up after spending like 2 minutes of a casual conversation, little do they know how much did they contribute to my personality, I can really feel it that im not interesting in the mid conversation, I feel lile my voice doesnt sound that good, I’m really mad and stuck.

  • Kate G.

    April 15th, 2019 at 4:05 PM

    HELP!!! I’m trying to do this method, but I can’t name the “A” step happen: I can’t get the positive stuff ”absorbed.” It just won’t “absorb.” What should I do?

  • kiran

    July 1st, 2019 at 11:24 PM

    hii i am kiran. i am bored girl but my breakup my relationship …. my boyfriend had new relationship with another girl. how forgot my boyfriend

  • Kate

    January 13th, 2020 at 2:52 PM

    Help!! For a few years now, I’ve been trying to get through your 4 “HEALl steps, but I can’t cause Step #3 (“Absorb” to even begin to be able to happen. Please help, or please at least tell me how many years or decades it generally takes.

  • Zoe

    March 9th, 2020 at 10:51 PM

    Thank you for telling me that about 60% of America’s population may be experiencing a trauma that is similar to what I have right now. I lost my husband in a car accident last year and even if I’m not the one driving, that event still haunts me in my sleep. After knowing that I am not alone in this journey, your article inspired me to attend at least a session of PTSD counseling and see how it can help me.

  • Kelly

    April 23rd, 2020 at 7:03 PM

    I’ve had a trauma that happened to me at 13 years old. Physically I’m over it but mentally it’s like it happened yesterday. I’m now 51 and i would like a bit of help because I can’t afford any therapy.

  • Diya

    September 29th, 2021 at 2:16 PM

    I am currently 17 and I have anxiety. I had depression, severe headaches and was emotionally unstable in from 8th grade. It was due to inter parental issues ever since I was born . My father and mother would verbally abuse me . My mother was also mentally unstable due to my fathers abuse. So she would scold and severely beat me. It was her way of releasing her anger from my father. She would lock me in the dark bathroom fro hours, burn me with hot rod and slap me very time I did a mistake. I had a guy I liked but because of my mother I was never able to get close of a guy. Unfortunately the guy also betrayed me and therefore since then I started having severe trust issues. My mother would call me a slut, spit on me and would always beat me and refuse to believe any of my words. All this happened from childhood till 10th grade. I was left alone. Isolated myself from everything in 11th grade. I kept having nightmares and sleeplessness. Its been 3 years I have been taking medication for my anxiety and sleeplessness. Don’t know how I motivated myself with books, podcasts and my friends played a large role in it. I was cured of my depression in 10th. But still I had nightmares and sleeplessness. I would wake up crying very time I closed my eyes in childhood because of my parent issues and nightmares. I still have them today but not much compared to earlier. A guy made me get out of my depression and am really thankful to him. Now am in 12th grade but am again having anxiety and sleeplessness issues and severe headache in every part of my head.i started losing my mental stability at night again. Started shivering. All the most were coming back and forth. There was no end to it. Trust issues made me not ab,e to talk myself out with any of my friends. But my boy best friend helped me a lot. Whenever my parents would scold me and abuse me I would become sensitive and I would go and cry in my room. I feel embarrassed ro talk my feeling put and cryin front of my parents. Its affecting my daily lifestyle and i want to know who should i see a psychiatrist or a psychologist or a listening councelling. Please help! I don’t want to ruin my life like this.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.


* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.