• jess

Shared Mechanisms of Rumination, Depression, and CPTSD

Today I wanted to take a step back and talk about something that I researched relatively recently for a different project. Something that has only become more relevant in my life as this post has sat around, untouched.


The connections between rumination, depression, and CPTSD.


And, uh, besides the research, I've got my own new personal insights to add to the discussion. Not gonna lie, I blew my mind away the other day - the longer I consider this realization, the more realized it becomes. Now I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this common feature of their more perseverant thoughts... or if noticing it in the future might be helpful.


So, this post started because of another project. You know how I consistently complain about task overload? Well, part of that has been because of my writing for a website called SciWorthy. It’s a science organization, obviously, where folks summarize academic research articles in more simple terms for the general public to understand. Sounds up my alley? I thought so too.


Recently, I wrote a quick piece about a trauma review which focused on inspecting the correlations between ruminatory thinking, depression, and PTSD. Good for me? Eh. Not sure. It's definitely gotten my mind spinning.


Don’t get me wrong, a big part of my interest, as usual, was learning more about how my own obsessive thought patterns contribute to my other mental ailments; namely, wanting to die and always feeling like I’m dying.


In fact, one of my most destructive activities throughout my more traumatized years was deep rumination. Though, at the time, I didn’t see it that way. I would regularly get “stuck” in a certain thought pattern and emotional state - from the inside, it didn’t seem like this was a nameable experience. It just felt like losing my goddamn mind, not like I was having persistent, intrusive thoughts.


In fact, one of my most destructive activities throughout my more traumatized years was deep rumination. Though, at the time, I didn’t see it that way. I would regularly get “stuck” in a certain thought pattern and emotional state - from the inside, it didn’t seem like this was a nameable experience. It just felt like losing my goddamn mind, not like I was having persistent, intrusive thoughts.

In that state, I couldn’t focus my energy to more productive places. I couldn’t shake the shitty feelings that came along with my thoughts. I couldn’t escape from endless cycles of the same sentiments, looping on repeat for hours, days, weeks, and months. I was never present. I was barely functional. And my brain felt like it lived in a different universe.


In short, I felt like a total nutjob. Like my mind had just given up on me. Like I was never going to have control of my faculties again.


And you know what? Those fears of slipping into insanity made me a lot more depressed, anxious, and trauma-responsive... plus gave me something else to ruminate about, if you can believe it. I’m sure you can. This is quite a common cycle of negative thoughts leading to mental illness leading to more negative thoughts, or vice versa.


So, when I saw this article, I knew that it was something I wanted to dig into. I mean, what is the connection with our obsessive thoughts and persistent mental illness? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? At what point does the egg produce more chickens to hatch more self-hate? Why does my brain do that, and how does it affect my potential for recovery down the road?


So when I saw this article, I knew that it was something I wanted to dig into. I mean, what is the connection with our obsessive thoughts and persistent mental illness? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? At what point does the egg produce more chickens to hatch more self-hate? Why does my brain do that, and how does it affect my potential for recovery down the road?

Let me tell you, this post has only gotten more relevant the longer I've sat on it. I'm pretty sure shutting down my rumination is the key to unlocking half of my brain potential - and I'm pretty happy to report that I have a new way to look at the unwanted cognitive pattern that helps me to feel less fucked when I'm trapped in the throes of it.


So, today, I’m taking a dry article that I wrote for someone else… and turning it into a Motherfucking podcast. Because I can’t stop thinking about all the ways this rumination disaster impacts our lives, on repeat. See what I did there?


Let’s talk about Rumination.





What IS rumination


So, I mentioned this in another post already because I found it interesting to think about. But rumination is literally defined as the process of eating food, regurgitating it back up, rechewing the pumice, and swallowing again. Yeah, it’s a definition of a cow digestive behavior that I learned in Animal Science school. But it’s also a pretty astute description of what I do to myself when I’m stuck in a thought loop.


For me, this perseverant thinking presents as a non-stop, all holds barred, battle between me, my head, and my gut. And it, unfortunately, starts and stops with yours truly.


When I'm in a rumination pattern, my whole life is disturbed. From the moment I wake up in the morning throughout the moments when I attempt to go to sleep and fail for several hours, my brain gets stuck on a few interconnected thought paths. No matter what I try to do to distract myself all day, my head is unlikely to heed my commands. Even if I get myself in a new environment, working on a new task, my brain is still rooted firmly in another place, working through another topic.


From the moment I wake up in the morning throughout the moments when I attempt to go to sleep and fail for several hours, my brain gets stuck on a few interconnected thought paths. No matter what I try to do to distract myself all day, my head is unlikely to heed my commands. Even if I get myself in a new environment, working on a new task, my brain is still rooted firmly in another place, working through another topic.

Except… it’s not really working through anything. I like to think that I’m thinking about things in an enlightening, problem-resolving, understanding way… That's how I rationalize the process dominating my head. But the truth is, I just run in fucking circles for a few hundred hours at a time, getting nowhere, as I flip through partially-formed and integrated ideas, and have physical responses that ruin me.


Every time I begin to consider one aspect of the issue at hand, the same chain of thoughts develops, over and over again. They loop uselessly. They go nowhere. They don’t provide any lasting comfort or stress relief. They don’t cause me to feel less distressed or emotional on the inside. They don't resolve a single thing.


All these circling thoughts manage to do is put me in a consistently shitty-ass mood and make me more likely to keep retracing my mental steps as the day continues.


Besides, you know, at that point my head decided that it's a better idea to be making sure that I’m never fully present or engaging in the world at large. There are more important issues at large; I’m too busy dragging my brain through concentric shit circles on the floor like a roomba who isn't equipped to erase the memory of that accidental diarrhea on the carpet.


The sentiments jump from one to another, overlapping and crisscrossing in abstract forms, but I never sweep up all the debri, finish the job, and move on to the next room. Like the official (gross) definition of rumination, my persistent thoughts don’t ever get fully digested.


The sentiments jump from one to another, overlapping and crisscrossing in abstract forms, but I never sweep up all the debri, finish the job, and move on to the next room. Like the official (gross) definition of rumination, my persistent thoughts don’t ever get fully digested.

Let’s think about why that would happen, in Trauma terms.





The rumination-trauma brain connection


So, if you've been listening for more than ten minutes, you know what Trauma is by now. The incorrect processing and storage of disturbing memory events in your brain. Information doesn't fit with the old narrative, so let's just tuck that away in a secret corner for later. It’s a way to keep that baffling data safely tucked away so you can deal with life at large. Sounds useful!


The problem being, the thought is never fully integrated with the rest of your day to day life or perception of the world. Instead, you get one erroneous piece of information just floating around on its own; not anchored to your personal outlook or historical narrative, not conveniently tied to other important data sets that form a complete picture of what you’re studying, and not stitched up into your memory quilt.


Because these thoughts are “homeless,” essentially, your brain can’t let them go. It can’t figure out how to process them or integrate them into the correct file, so it keeps setting them in the compartment of your brain that’s responsible for persisting problems.


This is where your head wisely puts old thoughts that you need to come back to for further attention. Chunks of information that need more work before they can be resolved. Unsolved mysteries. And in this concealed, but shallow brain compartment, these memories are pinged on a regular basis, never fully exiting your awareness as your brain continues to try to figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to do with this detail. It's waiting for new clues to pop up and help solve the unknown.


Because these thoughts are “homeless,” essentially, your brain can’t let them go. It can’t figure out how to process them or integrate them into the correct file, so it keeps setting them in the compartment of your brain that’s responsible for persisting problems. This is where it puts old thoughts that you need to come back to for further attention. Chunks of information that need more work before they can be resolved. And these memories are pinged on a regular basis, never fully exiting your awareness, as your brain continues to try to figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to do with this detail.

Meanwhile, the system is overloaded. Your brain can't stop considering small bits of data, which take the focus away from all the new - perhaps more life-pertinent - events taking place around you. Soon, everything is backed up in that "temporary storage" location. It's all one confusing mix of old and new data. You can't make heads or tails of it.


Altogether, this is why we get trapped into trauma states with unwanted flashbacks, hallucinations, and emotional upset. This is why we experience increasing mental illness symptoms and physical manifestations. This is how our brains start to feel very disorganized and out of control. This is why a lot of trauma sufferers talk about their attentional deficits and inability to fully engage with their lives.


We keep running the same program, over and over and over again… but the operating system honestly can’t figure out how the installation is supposed to be completed successfully. It keeps the problem at the forefront of your mind so that you'll spot the solution when it presents.


In the meantime, your brain keeps trying to mesh the old way of doing things with this new bit of coding - but, nope - the two are deemed incompatible and set aside for tomorrow. Or later this afternoon. Or five seconds from now. Just keep trying, so we can clear this from the task manager.


In the meantime, your brain keeps trying to mesh the old way of doing things with this new bit of coding - but, nope - the two are deemed incompatible and set aside for tomorrow. Or later this afternoon. Or five seconds from now. Just keep trying, so we can clear this from the task manager.

Hey, that sounds an awful lot like rumination, itself, to me. Anyone else?


If you ask me, I'm now realizing that rumination is an experience that’s nearly identical to the neurological basis of trauma… and that makes me wonder if the underlying process is the same, as well.


Hey, I’m not the only one.





The research - physiology crossover


Part of the aforementioned review article on rumination was focused on one of the big questions that helps me to feel better about my weird brain - why is the think-organ doing this? Moulds, et al. set out to find the answer in their literature review, Rumination in posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review.


Specifically, they aimed to determine three questions. Are the same regions of the brain that are indicated in prolonged PTSD symptoms also lighting up during bouts of rumination? Do they share similar neurobiological pathways? And therefore, is treating one effective in treating the other?


Well, Fuckers, it turns out that… yeah. The same regions of the brain are implicated in our depression, trauma, and rumination experiences. The orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, has been shown to have increased activity levels under all three conditions. There’s reason to think that this is the center of our upsetting, mentally disordered experiences. And, guess what, the OFC known to be a poorly understood region of our logical human brains - why the fuck wouldn’t it be.


Well, Fuckers, it turns out that… yeah. The same regions of the brain are implicated in our depression, trauma, and rumination experiences. The orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, has been shown to have increased activity levels under all three conditions. There’s reason to think that this is the center of our upsetting, mentally disordered experiences. And, guess what, the OFC known to be a poorly understood region of our logical human brains - why the fuck wouldn’t it be.

What we DO know is that this region sits just behind our eyes, where I get all my debilitating migraines. And, we recognize that it has extensive connections with the limbic system, where our emotions and memory processing activities take place. The prefrontal cortex, in general, is implicated in decision making, impulse control, and our “personalities.” It's our logical human brain, if you think the species is so gifted.


So, putting it all together, it’s no big surprise that this mysterious potential trauma-and-rumination-fuckery-factory straddles the areas between our perceptions, our emotions, and our higher level thinking. That sounds like post-traumatic stress disorder to me. We can attribute a lot of our issues to the the limbic system regularly failing to translate how the present connects to the past and our emotions fit into the larger scheme. Pretty sure our memory and executive functioning is not getting a glowing quarterly review when it comes to working properly in the context of PTSD.


Hey, if you want to talk about the emotional cognition connection again… this OFC region is also thought to be a part of our ability to pay attention to our emotions and think about our emotions. We can have emotions without using the OFC to sort them out, but this is what creates a lot of baffling and seemingly baseless negative affect. Go back to that emotional cognition episode for more.


In short, this connection between the limbic system and OFC really is a piece of our neurological puzzle that needs to be better understood, so our disorders can be.


But at this point, researchers and I can tell you that the limbic system has more electrochemical activity during periods of depression, rumination, and post-traumatic responding, so it's implicated in all three. If you've ever wondered why these conditions tend to go hand in hand in hand... well, the same idiot intern is mishandling your stimulation and memory tasks, and royally screwing everything his department comes into contact with as a downstream effect.


That’s sort of enlightening and comforting, right? Our entire brains aren’t fucked. Even though it feels like we're messed up in so many ways, it seems like it’s mostly just this one brain region where information input from various other compartments is failing to be processed in the right way.


But at this point, all I can tell you is that the area has more electrochemical activity during periods of depression, rumination, and post-traumatic responding, so it's implicated in all three. That’s sort of enlightening and comforting, right? Our entire brains aren’t fucked - it seems like it’s mostly just this region where information input from various other compartments is failing to be handled in the right way.

That almost makes me feel better, except for all the shitty thoughts spiraling in my head, the depressive exhaustion, and the upsetting trauma responses. One step at a time, I suppose.


Next, I want to talk about a causative question: which comes first, the rumination or the mental distress?





The research - what causes what?


Mould and associates also tried to parse out semi-important distinction between causation and correlation.


I think we can all agree, having intrusive, persistently negative thoughts and feeling intrusively, persistently negative are both shitty and painful experiences - so... does it really matter which enters the picture first? When we’re talking about human suffering, uh, who cares what causes what?


Well, it might surprise you into caring when you find out the answer.


At least one study showed something that shocked the hell out of me. Ruminatory thinking is correlated to the later development of PTSD symptoms. As in, subjects who historically experienced obsessively negative thought patterns were more likely to develop long-term PTSD symptoms following a traumatic event.


At least one study showed something that shocked the hell out of me. Ruminatory thinking is correlated to the later development of PTSD symptoms. As in, subjects who historically experienced obsessively negative thought patterns were more likely to develop long-term PTSD symptoms following a traumatic event.

Uh, hold up, that’s really not what I thought the answer was going to be. How about you?


This research study is potentially indicating that having a bad habit of wallowing in partially-formed, distracting, self-blaming, historically-focused thoughts… might create post-traumatic stress disorder? Not the other way around? Mind blown. But it makes sense when you piece together some other bits of data.


Specifically, I thought it was notable that one of the most dangerous parts of rumination following a traumatic event was the likelihood of the subject persistently considering how they caused the event to take place.


Because we're obsessed with making sense of our world, and especially astute at putting ourselves in the center of the whole clusterfuck, we easily put blame on ourselves. Individuals who later developed PTSD were more likely to have felt stuck considering what they could have done differently to prevent it. They obsessed over how they acted the wrong way in the moment. They ruminate over the traumatic event in an attempt to process and better understand the occurrence, but all they really accomplish is putting themselves back in the traumatic circumstances… with a dangerous side of self-blame.


Hey, does that sound like anyone you know? It sure fucking sounds like the way my head works. Even people and events that emotionally destroy me can easily be relieved of any responsibility for my pain after I've somehow twisted myself into the villain of the story. It's always my fault, somehow, according to my brain.


I think you can agree, not only are we likely to replay negative memories on repeat, trying to make sense of this event that torments you, but we’re also going to replay all the mistakes you made along the way to bring this misery on yourself. There has to be a reason for everything that happened, so let's figure out how you're the reason. At least then it makes some sense, even if it comes with a side of shame. And that's powerful for our rationale-obsessed brains.


Not only are we going to replay these thoughts on repeat, trying to make sense of this random memory that torments you, but we’re also going to replay all the mistakes you made along the way to bring this misery on yourself. There has to be a reason for everything that happened, so let's figure out how you're the reason. At least then it makes some sense, even if it comes with a side of shame.

Yep, that sounds exactly right. I think it's so important that I'm going to say this again.


Our own negative self-regard can cause, deepen, and perpetuate our own mental illness. We are so desperate to have reasons for what has happened that we turn to the best scapegoat we know - ourselves. In our early lives, we were convinced that everything was our fault due to our looking-glass self and evolutionarily programmed love for self-evaluative processes in social situations. As we get older, we're only more skilled at following the same template. "How is it my fault? What did I do wrong now? If only I had X instead of Y."


This 180 degree finger pointing has the later effect of creating more mental disturbances as we piss all over ourselves and trace those far-too-familiar shame pathways. When we shame ourselves, we shut down. When we find reason to hate ourselves, we drum up our helplessness and hopelessness. We decrease our ability to socialize or take on new tasks. As a result, we have even more to ruminate over.


Again, I have to mention that rumination, depression, and trauma all emerge from heightened activity in one portion of the brain - so the more energy we send to that area, the more mental illness we're going to receive.


And this brings me to the last thing that I want to talk about in this rumination talk. The interplay between our inner critics, our expectations, and our nonstop shit thoughts. Something that underpins ALL of my rumination memories that I've ever had... and something that I never noticed before these past few weeks.






My thoughts - where Exp. versus Act. go so wrong


I’ve realized something about the basis of my ruminations, well, way too recently, to be honest. And I think it's pretty powerful. I hope you agree.


So, I’ll admit, I’ve been in a bit of a depressive thought spiral for a day or thirty. My head is tossing around several difficult topics at once, but there is a common feature of them all. The underlying topic of my undesirable, unshakeable ideations? I actually took an analytical step back from my brain debacles and realized...


They’re all about expectations versus actual events. I mean, they are ALL about expectation versus actual.


I’m realizing that the thought pattern creating my circling thoughts is basically… “but wait, I thought this was going down one way and now I’m getting something totally different” in various forms. With various data points used as evidence. And various emotional responses. But ultimately, always coming back to the shocking difference between what I thought was happening and what's now actually happening.


I’m realizing that the thought pattern creating my circling thoughts is basically… “but wait, I thought this was going down one way and now I’m getting something totally different” in various forms. With various data points used as evidence. And various emotional responses. But ultimately, always coming back to the shocking difference between what I thought was happening and what's now actually happening.

My head was going in one direction, life circumstances changed their projected pathways too rapidly for me to readjust accordingly, and now my brain is stranded alone in the middle of a tundra.


Trailing along with my inner whisperings of "hold up, what happened here," there are feelings of frustration, there’s disbelief, there’s angry resentment, there’s indignance… and they all have the same basic cause.


What I was told, versus what I’m actually getting. What I wanted, versus what I’m actually getting. What I would do for someone, versus what I’m actually getting. What I put out there, and therefore expected to get back, versus what I’m actually getting. What I was planning on, based on historical information, versus what I'm actually getting.


It's all the same pattern. Just directed towards social contacts, world events, and unpredictable change in my life.


Thinking back on allllll my years of ruminatory experience - all the times I endlessly tortured myself in a state of isolation, angst, and despair, generally feeling helpless and captive with my life circumstances and my thoughts, alike - I think this has always been the case. There’s been a massive difference between what I reasonably think should take place and what very abruptly goes down, defying all logic and leaving no easy path to change the situation or move forward.


Thinking back on allllll my years of ruminatory experience - all the times I endlessly tortured myself in a state of isolation, angst, and despair, generally feeling helpless and captive with my life circumstances and my thoughts, alike - I think this has always been the case. There’s been a massive difference between what I reasonably think should take place and what very abruptly goes down, usually defying all logic and leaving no easy path to change the situation or move forward.

The times relationships came to an end without any warning. The times my career or schooling was headed towards one outcome before everything was shaken up and left me whiplashed. The times a tightly knit loved one turned their back on me when I needed them the most. The times my most prized possessions were ripped out of my hands with no hope for getting them back. The times a coworker I trusted threw me under the bus without any basis in reality… and everyone believed their blame games. The times people who were supposed to love me actually created the deepest cutting pain without a second thought.


These have been the experiences that inject a tiny worm into my brain that just can’t seem to be gestated into a free-flying butterfly… and so they crawl around, spinning webby cocoons in my brain for the foreseeable future. Never finding a suitable home. Never transforming into a lofty new creature with time, space, and attention. Instead, they're just wiggling around, spinning silk in my brain as my thoughts, emotions, and focus get strung together in tangled messes that obstruct my view of the real world.


With these cognitions come the downstream emotions - that means my sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, and stress responses. But I think these feelings come in two batches. First, there are the historical emotions over what has already happened. Then, emerges an almost secondary wave of brain processing - when my head starts trying to predict what’s going to happen in the future based on this new clusterfuck that happened in the past, and reacts pre-emptively.


Imagining that things are going to be as tumultuous, unstable, and helpless in the future because of what has just taken place is what throws me into my next stage of distress. The forward-thinking intrusive thought process of worrying, catastrophizing, and abandoning myself. Some might call this anxiety born of depression born of rumination. Delightful.


What makes things difficult to understand, and therefore causes more rumination, is the way that these new forward-thinking scaredy-cat feelings flow together with the original quake. It’s dizzying. It’s a back and forth conversation taking place between historical disappointment and “what does that mean about my future” fears.


What makes things difficult to understand, and therefore causes more rumination, is the way that these new forward-thinking scaredy-cat feelings flow together with the original quake. It’s dizzying. It’s a back and forth conversation taking place between historical disappointment and “what does that mean about my future” fears.

But if I can break down these feelings - and yeah, that means I spent a lot of time sitting around, soaking in them, and trying to analyze what was going on without freaking out - the baseline experience that accompanies my rumination is my unfulfilled expectations. I can't get over how simple the reasoning is. You were counting on one thing happening, it did not, and your brain isn't flexible enough to do the gymnastics necessary to change direction mid-air.


Is that insightful? It is for me. Not only does my brain get stuck on a VERY one-track tune fairly often, but at least this explains what I'm getting hung up on to give me some emotional distance from the brain malfunction.


But, it also helps, because, guess what?


This is, again, essentially the same mechanism as trauma! Having one view of circumstances, people, or ways of the world… and rapidly finding out that those ideas can be blown apart in physical reality faster than the speed of brain processing.


This is, again, essentially the same mechanism as trauma! Having one view of circumstances, people, or ways of the world… and rapidly finding out that those ideas can be blown apart in physical reality.

Boom, brain malfunctions. Can’t handle this shit. Try to set it aside and figure things out in the background later. But, when answers to the unfathomable discrepancies in desired versus actual outcome never seem to come, we get stuck.


Something just doesn’t mesh with everything you previously believed to be true. Since an a way to proceed with any predictive, productive outcome to create a cohesive picture never arrives… Instead, your brain just keeps doodling tiny segments of the image, with increasingly attention-demanding lines and emotional upset.

Based on my understanding, it’s exactly like the mechanisms of trauma. Experiencing the unexpected, fragmented information causing confusion, seeking a higher clarity, never finding one, getting trapped in an individual labyrinth, cycling endlessly through those brain circuits, hoping that some new realization will rise to the surface. Meanwhile, degrading yourself and diving deeper into mental distress as your daily brain faculties become entangled and inefficient. It’s all the same.


Motherfucker. That blows my mind. Rumination, depression, and trauma are all causative and effected by the same desire to logically understand our worlds - past, present, and future. I don’t know what else to say. Just think about that (but not too hard or for too long).





So let’s wrap it


Maybe it’s my short attention span today because I’m distracted by shitty caterpillars in my head… maybe I’ve made enough of a point for my brain to lay this thought to rest. Either way, I’m wrapping this up and calling it a day on this job.


My point in all of this, as usual, has been to let you know that you’re not alone if you feel like your own brain strives to drive you completely insane sometimes. If you’ve felt like your rumination not only perpetuated your shitty moods and negative view of the world, but maybe somehow caused it. Or if you’ve ever wondered why, exactly, your trauma and rumination responses are so intricately linked to your emotions and memories in eerily similar ways. Maybe so much so that you haven't even been able to separate them before.


My point in all of this, as usual, has been to let you know that you’re not alone if you feel like your own brain strives to drive you completely insane sometimes. If you’ve felt like your rumination not only perpetuated your shitty moods and negative view of the world, but maybe somehow caused it. Or if you’ve ever wondered why, exactly, your trauma and rumination responses are so intricately linked to your emotions and memories in eerily similar ways.

Fuckers, know that you’re not making this connection up. You’re not the only one who feels they can’t escape their own thoughts. You’re not the only one who goes to bed at night with a circus of fucked up, fractionalized thoughts swirling in your head… and wakes up to the same asshole clowns cartwheeling around when you open your eyes the next morning. You’re not the only human who wonders what comes first - the response to the negative experience, or the response to the response to the negative experience?


If you find yourself in a depressed or highly reactive state, laying around or manically running around, doing everything you possibly can to distract yourself from the one thing you can’t actually avoid in this world - your own stupid brain…. I feel you.


Know that it’s your Limbic System and Orbitofrontal Cortex doing a shit job working together and integrating new information with the old way of doing things. Recognize that your emotional center is getting pulled into the clusterfuck to drum up your anger, fear, and anxiety. Trust that your inability to create a satisfying new view of the world (so the repetitive voices in your head can shut the hell up already) is a failure of your brain to reasonably piece together logical perspectives looking backwards, even further backwards... and ultimately panicking about the view looking forwards.


Maybe it’s not possible to exactly take comfort in the similarities between trauma and intrusive thoughts, but knowing that they perpetuate each other and pull depression into the game, too, might help to explain the indescribably miserable experience that you’ve endured. Realizing that they all emerge from the poor partnership of your lizard brain and human brain might also help you let yourself off the hook a bit.


Maybe it’s not possible to take comfort in the similarities between trauma and intrusive thoughts, but knowing that they perpetuate each other and pull depression into the game, too, might help to explain the indescribably miserable experience that you’ve endured. Realizing that they all emerge from the same area of your brain that constitutes “personality” might also help you let yourself off the hook a bit.

Plus, if you can take a step back to decipher what exactly you were expecting versus what you actually received... you can create a new narrative that does mesh the information together in a cohesive account of past events. It helps settle the issue so you can move on. And it could provide relief from all those future premonitions of doom.


Just don't let yourself get bitter or victimize-y about the event. Take it for what it is, from an objective view, as if your friend was witnessing your life. Let yourself be mad, sad, or disappointed by the discrepancy in what you deserved versus what you received. After that, try to accept it and move on. It won't be easy, but if you can replace your self-shit-talking thoughts with the newly penned story on repeat, your head will eventually start to believe and accept the new information streaming in.


In summery. Remember, if you're stuck in a ruminatory fugue... This isn’t you. These thoughts aren’t you. They can’t even be patched into your psyche without shit short-circuiting. These experiences are too impactful for your brain to reckon with them.


Believe your reasonable brain is just trying to keep you moving forward with data-based information might include a painful analysis of your deep disappointments. But your angry, outraged feelings about expectations that have been dashed… don’t have to skew your entire perspective into a terrorizing ride when you’re looking into the future.


Just notice what's going on and try to name it. Give it a reason. Give yourself credit.


You have power. You have insight. You have the ability to release your thoughts.


Trust that there’s no reasonable answer to unreasonable circumstances… and your insistence on finding logical clarity and meaning might actually be perpetuating how horrible you feel. You just might have to ruminate on the new narrative a bit before your brain will let it go.


Boom. Rumination.


Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

Atlanta, GA, USA | Chicago, IL, USA

© 2023 by Woman PWR. Proudly created with Wix.comTerms of Use  |   Privacy Policy