3

Make A Therapy Style Weighted Pillow For Grounding

This is a great idea to use at home if you feel triggered, stressed or fearful. It reduces the out of body feeling (floating/ dissociation) and helps you remain present in the body and focused in the moment. My therapist had a large weighted toy dog that you could hold on your lap during a session. It really helped.

SG x

therapy pillow

Grounding is the practice of consciously and deliberately connecting to the earth and to one’s own body for self-regulation of states of activation. Extreme trauma and stress can throw the nervous system into states of, on one extreme, hyperaraousal and on the other, numbness and immobility. Grounding helps train the nervous system to calm down, re-balance and re-learn how to function normally. Grounding is a healing tool that is often used within the context of a therapeutic session (self-therapy or with a therapist). It helps you to focus and reduces the out of body feeling or floating.

Having some objects on hand that apply pressure and weight to the body can really help enhance the felt sense of grounding. A heavy pillow is nice because it conforms to the body, which can feel comforting. Also, it offers a lot of sensory stimulation – you can pick it up and feel the texture of the contents, and hear the sounds the contents make when moved around. Patting and handling the pillow make it change shapes. All of this can help bring the attention into the body and into the moment.

Since I made my therapy pillow, I have used it when really activated – in other words, when triggered and feeling panicked and terrified. It has worked well to calm me in those moments. I have also brought it with me to therapy. Holding it on my lap during a therapy session really adds a helpful calming effect which is especially nice to have when bringing up really difficult issues and memories.

Instructions:

1. Obtain a Small Pillow Case.

I went to a thrift store and found a couple of nice place mats (pictured above) measuring 14 x 20 inches. These place mats with a lining are nice because they are the right size to fit on my lap and not too labor intensive (you only have to sew one inch or so of the seam where you opened it to put the contents in). You can also use a standard pillow case (20×26 inches) but it can be pricey to buy enough stuff to fill a standard pillow case – although it’s not really a big deal if the contents are all on one end – it still works. If you have a travel pillow or decorative pillow, you can empty it and fill it with your contents. If you don’t have anything on hand you could buy a travel pillow case. Also, if you’re OK with some sewing, you may want to just get some cloth and create a pillow out of it – then you can customize the size, making it so it fits on your lap nicely and applies pressure to both of your thighs.

2. Ideas for fillings.

  • lentils
  • beans – pinto beans, mung beans, kidney beans, soy beans, black beans etc.
  • split peas
  • buckwheat hulls
  • rice
  • dried corn
  • couscous
  • grains like buckwheat, millet, barley
  • small smooth pebbles
  • sand – sand can seep out the pillow seams though so you may want a plastic bag directly around the sand

corn, beans, lentils

For my therapy pillow I bought 8 pounds of green lentils. In terms of price, probably the cheapest filling is sand, but any kind of fine sand might escape the pillow. There are cheap landscaping pebbles out there, like “pea gravel” and perusing the landscape rocks and decorative rocks option is a pretty inexpensive.

3. Prepare your Pillow Case

– sewing machine or needle and thread

– scissors or seam ripper

If using a pillowcase, sew together the open end until you have a one inch opening – or whatever size opening will fit your funnel. If using a place mat, use a small scissors or seam ripper to open up a hole for the funnel.

Cut a hole along the seam for the funnel

4. Fill Your Pillow.

– funnel

– something to pour lentils with – cup, bowl, large liquid measuring cup

pouring lentils into a therapy pillow

5. Test It.

Feel the weight and make sure you like how it feels on your lap.

I found that 8 pounds works on my lap but not on my feet. It works on one foot. I’m pretty sure 16 pounds would be enough to apply pressure to both of my feet.

For now, I’m content to just use it on my lap.

It would be great to have another, 16 pound, pillow for my feet at some point.

6. Sew it Up

If you are happy with the weight, sew up your pillow and then…

7. Remember to Use It!

Article by Heidi Hanson

4

Going To A Psychic Counsellor..

Well I’ve contacted a woman who helps people who are intensely intuitive.

I need the help and the guidance because it really stresses me out. It’s literally ruining my life, it’s painful and causing me to isolate. And I’m often unintentionally hurting people more than helping people with what I sense/ feel.

I have met this woman counsellor before and she is kind and definitely safe (my old therapist referred me to her a few years back) but I lost her contact details and have just found her again on FB.

The last thing that I remember her saying to me, is that I needed to love humanity (all of humanity) everybody warts and all, the good, bad and down right evil as it will help with this gift/ curse. It’s about overcoming my ‘wounded child’ and that healing that side of me comes from a place of forgiveness, genuine understanding and love..

Well I do feel I have come to the place that I love all of humanity (warts and all) – so maybe the timing on finding her is perfect.

She also mentioned that I have the capacity to be a healer – but I don’t want to be a healer – I did once but now I just want to be happy. Being a healer is just too painful and too hard!! I want less stress and more joy in my life :o)

I know why I am intensely intuitive – First –  it runs in my family (Pretty sure from the cycle of abuse..)

Second  – childhood dissociation, hypervigilance and trauma.

Thirdly – I’m female

.. And according to what I’ve read recently the fourth thing that causes intense psychic ability is being a twin.. no I’m not a twin (but who knows maybe it was something my mother never mentioned regarding my birth!! .. )

So what I want .. I want this so called gift to go away or at least become way less intense…  or that I can find a way to cope with it and find a useful and balanced outlet for it because it’s too strong. It gives me headaches…

I’m trying to focus on practicalities in my own life to take my mind of it. My house is starting to look organized and beautiful again. Instead of expensive furniture and decor, I now have Charity Shop retro finds but I think I like it even better :o). The event business will be online by next week and my son and I have started a lifestyle blog – food, styling, living etc.. So I do feel very grounded.. but I am also not mixing with people..

I will only mix with people who I feel ‘safe’ with – no anxiety or bad vibes..

Regarding psychic ability it angers me that abuse can do this to a person.. it’s easy to handle normal instincts and avoid people who you get negative vibes from but for the intensely intuitive we get the whole painful story.. and the negative emotions they feel. Unless you experience this you will never understand – it’s often confusing as I can pick it up things even when I’m not near them.. I can sense energy from a long distance.

I also find people are not at all comfortable with a person that senses how they feel, or if they’re lying, or their past or their secrets…  :o( and I suppose that is fair enough.

I have personally experienced it with my cousin (she’s highly intuitive)..   out of the blue she told me things about myself and all it did was ‘piss me off’. It felt like it was a breach of some sort of spiritual privacy act.. and maybe that’s what it is … but I do know she meant well and meant to help me in some way..

It is most intense when I am stressed or fearful, but with people I feel safe with it’s not overwhelming at all and I use it more from a place of love and compassion.

Maybe that’s the lesson…

Maybe she can teach me how to handle it and protect myself from picking up too much..

Reading a recent post on psychic ability, people who can see the past and potential future in others etc.. are ‘intensely psychic’ … and apparently many commit suicide because it’s too overwhelming… not good news :o(

Hopefully I can either get rid of it or learn to manage/ use it in a healthy non-hurtful way.

Love & baby steps,

SG x

0

Common Defense Mechanisms

“ Attacking him triggers a defense mechanism. (GIF set) ”

In some areas of psychology (especially in psychodynamic theory), psychologists talk about “defense mechanisms,” or manners in which we behave or think in certain ways to better protect or “defend” ourselves. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Psychologists have categorized defense mechanisms based upon how primitive they are. The more primitive a defense mechanism, the less effective it works for a person over the long-term. However, more primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective short-term, and hence are favored by many people and children especially (when such primitive defense mechanisms are first learned). Adults who don’t learn better ways of coping with stress or traumatic events in their lives will often resort to such primitive defense mechanisms as well.

Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious – that means most of us don’t realize we’re using them in the moment. Some types of psychotherapy can help a person become aware of what defense mechanisms they are using, how effective they are, and how to use less primitive and more effective mechanisms in the future.

Primitive Defense Mechanisms

1. Denial

OMGGGGG

Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. For instance, a person who is a functioning alcoholic will often simply deny they have a drinking problem, pointing to how well they function in their job and relationships.

2. Regression

Adult baby bouncer..this would be insanely comfortable haha

Regression is the reversion to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable thoughts or impulses. For an example an adolescent who is overwhelmed with fear, anger and growing sexual impulses might become clingy and start exhibiting earlier childhood behaviors he has long since overcome, such as bedwetting. An adult may regress when under a great deal of stress, refusing to leave their bed and engage in normal, everyday activities.

3. Acting Out

Never. say. no. to. panda.

Acting Out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings the person feels incapable of otherwise expressing. Instead of saying, “I’m angry with you,” a person who acts out may instead throw a book at the person, or punch a hole through a wall. When a person acts out, it can act as a pressure release, and often helps the individual feel calmer and peaceful once again. For instance, a child’s temper tantrum is a form of acting out when he or she doesn’t get his or her way with a parent. Self-injury may also be a form of acting-out, expressing in physical pain what one cannot stand to feel emotionally.

4. Dissociation

A contemplative hedgehog. | 33 Animal GIFs That Are Guaranteed To Make You Laugh

Dissociation is when a person loses track of time and/or person, and instead finds another representation of their self in order to continue in the moment. A person who dissociates often loses track of time or themselves and their usual thought processes and memories. People who have a history of any kind of childhood abuse often suffer from some form of dissociation. In extreme cases, dissociation can lead to a person believing they have multiple selves (“multiple personality disorder”). People who use dissociation often have a disconnected view of themselves in their world. Time and their own self-image may not flow continuously, as it does for most people. In this manner, a person who dissociates can “disconnect” from the real world for a time, and live in a different world that is not cluttered with thoughts, feelings or memories that are unbearable.

5. Compartmentalization

Franz Joseph Gall - publishes work that suggests that the brain is functionally compartmentalized.  While correct in principle, his maps were totally incorrect.

Compartmentalization is a lesser form of dissociation, wherein parts of oneself are separated from awareness of other parts and behaving as if one had separate sets of values. An example might be an honest person who cheats on their income tax return and keeps their two value systems distinct and un-integrated while remaining unconscious of the cognitive dissonance.

6. Projection

Dan Bejar - "Future Vision"

Projection is the misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings.

7. Reaction Formation

Being too Nice isn't always a good thing because that means you care too much even when they don't care about you

Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. For instance, a woman who is very angry with her boss and would like to quit her job may instead be overly kind and generous toward her boss and express a desire to keep working there forever. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with her job, and instead becomes overly kind to publicly demonstrate her lack of anger and unhappiness.

6

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome from a Shamanic Perspective

Soul Loss

Many therapists would say that the victim of narcissistic abuse seems to unconsciously choose abusive narcissists again and again in a bid to correct their own maladaptive behavioral patterns.  And that this pattern of behaviour is the victims attempt to resolve old conflicts, and hopefully soothe their old wounds.  This is a plausible argument, and personally I can concur with that to some degree, but personally I believe that the phenomenon is a bit more complicated than that.

I would like to add another level to the argument; it is a spiritual dimension that I have come across in the course of therapy with victims of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.  On many occasions, I have worked with victims who had already completed therapy before coming to me, they thought that they had dealt with all the issues of their past experiences with abusive relationships, and yet they felt something was not right.

The victim could articulate that they felt as if the source of their primary narcissistic abuse was still under their skin; as if their abuser was still living off them in some way or other.  In spite of having done all kinds of therapy, the victim knew (at a deeper level of the self) that something was not quite finished, or something was missing from their life.  It has been my experience that traditional western therapies work well when working with victims of abuse on a mental, emotional, and physical level, but generally not so strong when it comes to working consciously with the victim on a spiritual level.

Therapists need to be able to work with the victim of narcissistic victim syndrome on a spiritual level, because “Narcissistic Abuse is truly a form of soul defilement”.   It seams that whether a person considers themselves to be spiritual or not, they can tell that on a deeper level of the self that something is not right.  The Shaman knows that soul trauma is a big part of victim abuse; it is created through the dyadic relationship that exists between both the narcissist and the victim.  For the victim to recover on all levels of the self, it is useful if the therapist is familiar with transpersonal therapy (the psycho-spiritual component), or at least be able to refer the victim on to a therapist who can complete the recovery work on a spiritual level if they are not feeling confident enough themselves.

Shamanic diagnosis of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome:

 Apart from being schooled in western psychology and psychotherapy, I have also studied Medical Anthropology with a variety of indigenous Shamans. The Shamanic view of western psychotherapy is that it tends to lack a good understanding of a psychology of spirituality (transcendent states of consciousness).  By so doing, it has lost a sense of the sacred that awakens man to his sense of wholeness.  Furthermore, as a result of this loss, most western therapies overlook the process of Individuation (the processof integrating the conscious with the unconscious, for the purpose of self-actualization), something the Shaman feels is vital for a full recovery for the victim of narcissistic abuse.  When a victim is traumatized or shocked (as in narcissistic abuse), it is possible for the whole self to become fragmented; the Shaman calls this phenomenon “soul loss”.

Individuation is a centering of consciousness through which the self forms the personality into a coherent whole, bringing back the fragmented parts to a totally integrated “true self”, (the totality of a Divine Self).  To reach the goal of the individuation process, the Shaman would take the victim of abuse through the pain of the contents of their own unconscious mind in order to access the contents of the psyche, and bring that knowledge into consciousness where it can be processed for healing.  In this process, the victim begins to understand their relationship with everything, with themselves, others, including the relationship with their narcissist abuser.

Shamans (indigenous healers), were the first psychotherapists on earth, they have understood for millennium the phenomenon of the narcissistic dyadic relationship where perpetrator and victim merge in twinship, enmeshed in each other.  When a victim is emeshed with a narcissist, especially if this began in childhood, the individual learns to give their attention, affection or emotional support to their abuser above all else, in time  they begin to loose a sense of self.  It appears that the victim puts the needs of the narcissist (and then others) before their own needs.  This is true to a point, but actually, and more importantly, the victim’s first daily need is to remain safe in the environment with the narcissist. Becoming a “pleaser” is a way to stay safe, it works by way of “changing the mood” of the abuser, thus avoiding there rages, which usually meant punishment, guilt, shame, and abandonment for the victim.   However this behaviour of pleasing may continue into adulthood, where it can cause a lot of resentment in the victim.

Many victims loose the ability to be able to ask for their own needs to be meet, as a result, they may find themselves acting in a way that is passive aggressive.  The passive aggressive style of communication develops as a result of fear at not being able to have honest communication with their aggressor (because of fear of reprisals).  The victim will need to examine and understand their behaviour, so that they can develop an assertive style of communication for a healthier balance in their relationships.  These victims never knew reciprocality (“give and take”) when in a relationship with a narcissist, they learned to give, give and give again.  Part of the recovery work with the victim will be to bring this awareness to them, and to encourage them to forge reciprocal relationships in the future with others, and reconnect with their own self.

The Shaman also understands that a part of a human soul is free to leave the body, and it may choose to do so for many reasons; indigenous cultures refer to this phenomenon as soul loss. Western therapy also recognizes this phenomenon; they refer to it as dissociation.  From the point of view of contemporary psychology, the therapist may understand this better in the context of a victim experiencing a “vital loss of their essence” whenever they dissociate or split off from the body while experiencing a traumatic event.  This soul loss (or vital loss of essence) is a defense response to many forms of physical or emotional traumas; such as fear, the stress of combat, incest, loss of a loved one, suicide, abuse, accidents, surgery, long standing illness, miscarriage, abortion, addiction, depression, narcissistic abuse etc.

The Shaman accepts that the soul part flees in order to survive the experience as a means of self-preservation, and they have a technique for mending this common human predicament, which they call “soul retrieval”.  Similarly, the psychotherapist (whether they know it or not) also does a form of soul retrieval by a process of uncovering and integrating the split off parts of the victim’s self.   Take for example, a child who dissociates because of rape by her father and escapes to the top of the wardrobe. The Shaman would say that the child had experienced a soul loss when a part of their soul’s essence left the body due to being overwhelmed in that moment.  However, both therapist and shaman would agree, whether it is called dissociation or soul loss, what is now needed is to integrate that fragmented split off part of the self back into the person’s system in order to make that individual whole again.

The Shaman also knows that there are other ways one can loose a part of one’s soul.  In a case of soul loss, a person may unconsciously give part of their soul to another person in ignorance because of their co-dependence.  For example, because a child’s psychic defenses are not strong enough to withstand the constant abandonment and rejection from their narcissistic family member, the child, in a bid to get love may give a part of its soul to the narcissist in order to survive.  In this case the soul loss is a natural protective mechanism.

Many people inadvertently give themselves away when they are in grief.  For example, I worked with a client whose narcissistic partner had died; she explained that it was as if a part of her had died also.  She went on to tell me that she had put a photo of herself into his pocket before the coffin was closed.  She said she could not bear to think of him being alone in the after-life.  Her explanation of the event may well be true, but it also demonstrates the extent of her co-dependency.  In effect, she sent her soul essence to her loved one in order to keep him company, but more importantly, she did this unconsciously in order to remain attached to him.  By this act she was actually creating her own soul loss.

There is also a flip side of giving your soul away, and that is when a soul is stolen.  In most cases of “soul robbery” by a narcissist, it is most likely their “acting out” is due to their sense of envy. For example, a narcissistic parent may see their children as both mirrors and competitors, and they may become increasingly fearful and envious of the child’sgrowing independence.  They may equate the child’s independence as a threat to their sense of power and position in the family environment.  Feeling a sense of powerlessness, the narcissist may set about stealing a part of the child’s soul in order to gain power over it; this is done through violent acts, such as the rape of that child, or severe mental or emotional beatings. That way the narcissistic parent regains their domination and power over the child, while at the same time depleting the child’s power.  However, in the attempt of getting more power, sadly, the narcissist fragments the child’s soul, that is a high price the child has to pay for the narcissists envy.

By the way, it is important to say that it is not possible for someone to rob your soul without your consent at some level of your own self (usually it is an unconscious act, as in self protection).  It is also possible to give your soul-part away inadvertently; this can occur during a trauma, when there is a partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of conscious or psychological functioning (and the individual fragments or splits).

Just to remind you, soul loss is comparable towhat psychology refers to as “dissociation”.   When a shaman is working with a victim of narcissistic abuse they look for signs of soul loss, and they can recognize many symptoms that would confirm that a soul loss had occurred, especially by listening to the words they use, (i.e. “I don’t feel like the same person anymore”; “it feels like a part of me has died”, or “I have never been the same since…..”).  Another tell tale sign is when a depression does not manage to heal.

To the Shaman, soul loss or dissociation is a sign that the person is not fully able to engage with life, the person is technically unable to stop “depressing”.   Apart from looking out for soul-loss, the shaman would also check if the client was holding a part of someone else’s soul.  For example, the victim may hold on to a part of the narcissist’s soul as a result of psychological conditions and reactions due to survival identification (such as happens in Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonding).

Going back to the point I touched on earlier, where we raised the question as to victims seeming to choose abusive narcissists again and again in order to heal their old conflicts and wounds.  The shaman knows that when they witness the victim’s maladaptive behaviour, (where they find themselves repeating the narcissistic trauma over and over again), they are being privy to the victim’s unconscious motivational drive towards its own self-actualization. Self-actualization means to fulfill one’s potential.  The question then is to ask, “Potential for what?”  The Shaman knows that man’s driving quest is to become “whole” to the core of their being…..incorporating body, mind, spirit and soul.  To the Shaman, this is the only drive by which the human life is determined.

To be “holy” means to be “whole”.  When we are whole we have integrated all the fragmented parts back together.  The Shaman understands that this phenomenon of healing the fragmented soul is man’s primal and innate drive towards “wholeness.”, when man becomes fully actualized, an Authentic Self.   When a person self-actualizes they possess an extraordinary ability to detect the spurious dishonest personality that is the narcissist, and they will never again need to repeat the narcissistic trauma.   This is the journey home to oneself, it is a spiritual one, and each therapist is called to make this journey for themselves, because we can only ever bring others as far as we have gone ourselves.

Christine Louis de Canonville

17

Childhood Trauma Leads to Brains Wired for Fear

 Sound Medicine

brain regions
Last week, a report by the University of San Diego School of Law found that about 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. Traumatic childhood events can lead to mental health and behavioral problems later in life, explains psychiatrist and traumatic stress expert Bessel van der Kolk author of the recently published book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Children’s brains are literally shaped by traumatic experiences, which can lead to problems with anger, addiction, and even criminal activity in adulthood, says van der Kolk. Sound Medicine’s Barbara Lewis spoke with Dr. van der Kolk about his book. Here are highlights from the interview.

Sound Medicine: Can psychologically traumatic events change the physical structure of the brain?

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk: Yes, they can change the connections and activations in the brain. They shape the brain.

The human brain is a social organ that is shaped by experience, and that is shaped in order to respond to the experience that you’re having. So particularly earlier in life, if you’re in a constant state of terror; your brain is shaped to be on alert for danger, and to try to make those terrible feelings go away.

The brain gets very confused. And that leads to problems with excessive anger, excessive shutting down, and doing things like taking drugs to make yourself feel better. These things are almost always the result of having a brain that is set to feel in danger and fear.

As you grow up an get a more stable brain, these early traumatic events can still cause changes that make you hyper-alert to danger, and hypo-alert to the pleasures of everyday life.

SM: So are you saying that a child’s brain is much more malleable than an adult brain?

BK: A child’s brain is virtually nonexistent. It’s being shaped by experience. So yes, it’s extremely malleable.

SM: What is the mechanism by which traumatic events change the brain?

BK: The brain is formed by feedback from the environment. It’s a profoundly relational part of our body.

In a healthy developmental environment, your brain gets to feel a sense of pleasure, engagement, and exploration. Your brain opens up to learn, to see things, to accumulate information, to form friendships.

It’s about becoming safe to feel what you feel. When you’re traumatized you’re afraid of what you’re feeling, because your feeling is always terror, or fear or helplessness. I think these body-based techniques help you to feel what’s happening in your body, and to breathe into it and not run away from it. So you learn to befriend your experience.

But if you’re in an orphanage for example, and you’re not touched or seen, whole parts of your brain barely develop; and so you become an adult who is out of it, who cannot connect with other people, who cannot feel a sense of self, a sense of pleasure. If you run into nothing but danger and fear, your brain gets stuck on just protecting itself from danger and fear.

SM: Does trauma have a very different effect on children compared to adults?

BK: Yes, because of developmental issues. If you’re an adult and life’s been good to you, and then something bad happens, that sort of injures a little piece of the whole structure. But toxic stress in childhood from abandonment or chronic violence has pervasive effects on the capacity to pay attention, to learn, to see where other people are coming from, and it really creates havoc with the whole social environment.

And it leads to criminality, and drug addiction, and chronic illness, and people going to prison, and repetition of the trauma on the next generation.

SM: Are there effective solutions to childhood trauma?

BK: It is difficult to deal with but not impossible.

One thing we can do – which is not all that well explored because there hasn’t been that much funding for it – is neurofeedback, where you can actually help people to rewire the wiring of their brain structures.

Another method is putting people into safe environments and helping them to create a sense of safety inside themselves. And for that you can go to simple things like holding and rocking.

We just did a study on yoga for people with PTSD. We found that yoga was more effective than any medicine that people have studied up to now. That doesn’t mean that yoga cures it, but yoga makes a substantial difference in the right direction.

SM: What is it about yoga that helps?

BK: It’s about becoming safe to feel what you feel. When you’re traumatized you’re afraid of what you’re feeling, because your feeling is always terror, or fear or helplessness.  I think these body-based techniques help you to feel what’s happening in your body, and to breathe into it and not run away from it. So you learn to befriend your experience.

Sound Medicine – Childhood Trauma

2

Life Of Pi

PTSD Interpretation 

Well, I’ve got to say I wasn’t particularly keen on watching this movie. I knew it was based on a young man adrift at sea with a tiger and that really wasn’t pulling me in ..

It happened to be on tv last night and for some reason for the first time since it’s release I did feel drawn to watch it..  and I have to say it was truly beautiful – visually and the storyline.

Much more complex than I had imagined and deeply meaningful – even made me cry in parts..

Check out the interpretation regarding Pi and PTSD below. I felt a strong connection to the religious elements and how that interplayed with the trauma. I had a similar experience.

If you haven’t already seen this movie – consider watching it, it’s too good to miss!

SG x

Movie Summary

An aspiring Canadian author interviews the Indian storyteller Pi Patel to hear the firsthand account of his adventures.

The Life of Pi hero Piscine (also known just as “Pi”)  recounts his upbringing in French-occupied India, where his father owned a zoo. When Pi’s family business fails, they embark on a sea voyage with the zoo animals (in cargo) to Canada to begin a new life.

One night aboard their Japanese cargo ship , a violent and deadly storm hits and sinks nearly all that Pi holds dear.

He survives in a lifeboat with several of their zoo animals, including a fearsome Bengal tiger.

In a struggle to survive, Pi and the tiger forge an unexpected connection that gives him daily motivation to live.

Life of Pi is a tale of faith, hope, and the fight to survive.

 Interpretations

While Pi’s adventure unfolds in a magically real way, by the ending of Life of Pi, however, we are left to wonder about the overall truthfulness of Piscine’s story, much like the journalist who plans to write a book about Pi’s adventures. Is Piscine’s fantastic version of events “real” or is he just a storyteller and exaggerator.

There are many interpretations to account for the dreamlike and almost surreal quality of Piscine’s adventures in Life of Pi.

One interpretation of Piscine’s story may focus on the impact of psychological stress and the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Pi experiencing dissociation in order to survive his reality.

Piscine is not necessarily lying about his island adventures with a tiger, but his memory may have been severely impaired by the trauma, death, murder, cannibalism, 227 days at sea, the overwhelming despair of the shipwreck, and the loss of his family.

Like many trauma survivors, Piscine may have blocked out the ‘truth’ and rewritten history in order to survive. And his religious and spiritual background used as a coping mechanism to help give him a sense of meaning and beauty beyond the horrific events.

From the author

Even the author, Yann Martel wanted it to remain the mystery when asked about which is the true story. In this interview he speaks:

Reality isn’t just “out there”, like some block of cement: reality is an interpretation. In a sense we co-create our reality. And we do that all the time, every day. One day we wake up and we’re in a great mood, the city we live in is a beautiful city, the next day it’s an ugly city. That’s just the way we interpret things. We’re not free necessarily to choose the facts of our life, but there is an element of freedom in how we interpret them.

What I was trying to do in this book was try and discuss how we interpret reality – most secular readers will read the book and say ‘Ah, okay, there’s one story told and actually something else happened, and Pi ‘invented’ this other story to pass the time, or make his reality bearable. That’s the secular. The other one, the more religious interpretation, would just be the story you’re reading and that’s what happened…

Love this

SG x