Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is “Heal”. I read several of the responses before writing mine. Some left me feeling all sorts of things, which I will try to articulate in the below freewrite.
Is it possible to heal from a hurt you can’t explain in words? Can something that you can’t describe in words, a memory that is just visceral, even be traumatic? I am referring to preverbal trauma, of course and, in theory, I know the answer: yes, it exists and yes, healing is possible.
However, in reality, how can I prevent my cognitive processes from constantly interfering with my experiences? Or should this be prevented at all? I mean, if I can rationalize that I’m now in 2022, living in the care facility and not in whatever danger my body thinks (feels?) it’s in anymore, does it even matter that I endured preverbal trauma?
After all, it’s a fact that I did: I was born prematurely, spent the first three months of my life in hospital and had several complicated surgeries before the age of five. The question is whether said possibly-traumatic events affected me and, if so, how to heal from them.
Today, I wrote in a Facebook group about preverbal trauma. I know for a fact that I endured a lot that could have caused PTSD from birth on. I was born prematurely, spent the first three months of my life in hospital and was hospitalized several more times before the age of five.
About seven or eight years ago, I started experiencing body memories that I immediately associated with a medical emergency that I endured at age four. At the time, my trachea closed up and I as a result had difficulty breathing. I never completely repressed that memory, always knew that it’s something that actually did happen.
So I wonder if I made said association because it makes more sense than connecting the body memory to preverbal trauma. I mean, preverbal trauma is very controversial, because people do not form that clear memories until the age of three. That doesn’t mean people cannot be affected by preverbal trauma. It just means the memory is hard to recover.
I have alters. About six years ago, an alter emerged that is constantly curled up in a fetal position. We don’t know more about her. A seven-year-old alter who also emerged around that same time talks about that alter as a baby in the incubator. Now of course babies in incubators are not in the fetal position, so yeah.
Still, it all makes me wonder whether I’m making all this trauma stuff up. I mean, yes, I was born prematurely. Yes, I spent three months in hospital and had repeated re-admissions before the age of five. But my parents say that until age seven, I was completely fine and carefree. I mean, it’s not like everyone who endured trauma develops PTSD. So could it be I’m just making this whole preverbal trauma thing up?
In a preemie parent support group, I asked whether anyone has experience with their child getting EMDR for medical trauma. I have always wondered whether EMDR could help me. It was recommended when I had just been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder in 2010. Then I heard it’s not recommended unless you’re very stable otherwise. Well, the consultant I talked with on Monday said that’s no longer the case. So maybe I could benefit from it. Several parents responded about reading their child a “life story” about their birth and hospital stay while the psychologist did the EMDR. Since my parents aren’t very supportive, I cannot ask them to help me with this, but I could create my own life story based on what my alers tell me.