Some Experience Strength and Hope
Sharing stories of trauma and recovery is a means for survivors to connect and heal. It lets these folks know that they are not alone in isolation. It’s also a means to share the recovery tools that have worked well for them. In an article for Mental Health Today, Bryony Porteous-Sebouhian relates the way in which spending time in nature has helped her in her recovery journey. In doing so, she echoes some of the sentiments and strategies we’ve detailed in previous blogs.
Rumination and Dissociation
Porteous-Sebouhian mentions how difficult it is for trauma survivors to be present. She offers a preoccupation with the past via rumination and flashbacks as an example. We’ve talked about this phenomenon extensively in these pages. As a response to an event that is too terrible for words, the brain works overtime trying to find a place for it. Additionally, triggers compound the problem by bringing the mind back to details of the traumatic experience. The author also describes the dissociation that accompanies trauma. She likens it to “feeling as though you’re being pulled out of the room or space that you’re in on a wire, but in slow motion”. This sensation, she says, sometimes precedes the perception that one’s surroundings seem unreal, manufactured, or contrived.
The Grounding Benefits of Nature
Most of the article, however, focuses on the benefits of nature in trauma recovery. Porteous-Sebouhian quotes Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, as saying, “[n]ature is not a luxury, and everyone needs to access and experience its benefits to their mental health.” She also relays an exchange she had with her therapist about engaging the five senses while in nature as a form of grounding. (For more about the five senses grounding technique, see our blog about dealing with anxiety here.) We’ve talked a bit about how nature, specifically the ocean, has a tendency to ground a person in the present moment and promote a meditative state. Porteous-Sebouhian believes that, “[f]inding ways in which to ground in the present is an easy way to bring someone out of that tendency to slip into re-traumatizing rumination, flashbacks and dissociation.”
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating clients suffering from trauma since 2002. At our facilities in sunny Newport Beach, California, we’ve helped hundreds of men and women heal from their difficult pasts and go on to lead happy, contented lives. Our expertly trained staff offers individual, group, and family counseling, addiction education, nutritional counseling, surf therapy, beach bootcamp, and more. It’s all part of our holistic approach to treatment. If you or someone you love is suffering from unhealed trauma, please don’t hesitate. Give Ocean Recovery a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.