Been trying to process everything going on lately, but this past 2 weeks I’ve been blocked. It was a gradual shutting-down… art hasn’t happened, I’ve not let myself get too deep into anything in therapy, though Dr C and I figured out that I would probably benefit from trying to integrate bilingual processing into my therapy. 

For whatever reason, I never mentioned that most of my trauma happened in another language; I simply struggled to translate as best as I could, and make sense of it enough to express it in English… it doesn’t help that I’ve lost most of my ability to speak said other language. I understand it to the extent of the basics I learned as a kid. It’s the vernacular from nearly 50 years ago when my parents emigrated… when I hear it today, it takes several minutes before I can recognize it as a language I should be able to understand. Most of the time though, I can’t understand it even after it’s pointed out. 

Dr C supervised a student once who developed a method for processing traumas in a different language. She loaned me the manual to peruse while she is away at a conference next week. 

I guess the idea is to start processing the trauma in English, then go deeper into the memory in the language in which it happened, then backing off by switching back to English. The theory is that processing it in that way not only processes the trauma, but also provides a measure of safety by being able to gain distance through switching languages… 

The problem is, neither of us knows what to do when the primary language of the trauma is mostly forgotten. I experience many of the flashbacks in a language other than English, but I also translate them somewhat automatically in order to understand them at this point.

The concept of processing things in the language in which they occurred makes sense. It makes sense that a language barrier would impact the processing. It makes sense that simply translating an event might not allow the brain to put it all away properly… I’m just not sure how we will accomplish that if I can’t remember the stupid language.

I’m going to try to read the manual. Dr C says it’s written in plain enough language that I should be able to absorb it… it’s really frustrating that my brain is in such a fog. I used to be able to concentrate enough on things to read and understand scholarly papers. Lately, I have trouble reading and understanding Meme’s…

Gotta love mental health issues that debilitate your brain… it makes me feel useless and broken… worthless… there are moments I can pull really intelligent things from my head, but other times I feel like a rock could accomplish things easier. Sometimes the fog fades for a bit, but it’s not for long. Even when it does fade, I get confused and overwhelmed really easily. The slightest stress sends my few remaining brain cells running for cover. 

Will this ever get better? 

I used to look at disability benefits as a helping hand till I figured my shit out. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get out of this mess…


3 responses to “Blocked

  • Jason@Solace

    I’m sorry to hear. Mental health and its challenges ARE tough. Stay strong and keep sharing your stories.

  • manyofus1980

    that bilingual processing sounds so interesting. I didnt realise english wasnt your first language. I hope with dr. c’s help you can figure it out. And I hope it will get better for you we gotta have hope, right? xxx

    • Samantha Jane

      English is the language I know best, but it wasn’t the primary language I was raised in…
      We tried a bit of bilingual processing at the end of July, but it was all instant triggers… then other stuff pushed traumas work out of the way, and Dr C went on vacation. We haven’t gotten back there yet, but maybe down the line it will happen.
      Right now, we are dealing with L’s cancer treatment. It’s all precautionary b/c they think they got everything with the surgery, but it’s still tiring…

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