kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
[personal profile] kaberett
So: shellshock. The thing about a lot of traumatising events being the context-for-understanding-them and community-awareness and community-support rather than necessarily the "inciting incident" per se, and the things that Happiness was trying and failing to say competently about what makes events traumatising -- to what extent is shellshock, in the Great War sense, a thing about having the horror treated as simultaneously normal day-to-day (in the field) and unspeakable or unimaginable (at home)? Is that... a thing? Is there writing about it I should be going to look at? (Hiiiiiiiii M.)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
Ooooh.

*waves hands around also*

Hmm.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 12:37 am (UTC)
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)
From: [personal profile] niqaeli
wrt shellshock specifically I have seen something that was looking into the aftereffects of full-body concussive trauma as a result of explosive blasts in modern soldiers and comparing it with historical records of symptoms of shellshock and the conclusion was that more study needed, bc of course it was, BUT that there may be a distinct physical pathology that kind of concussive trauma causes in the brain in addition to all the mental trauma and PTSD that they were being let in for as well. I wish to god I could remember WHERE I read this article, the fact that my brain files away data but does not tag it with sources is incredibly inconvenient, but perhaps M will have something to add? *wry*

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 12:51 am (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I suspect the most accessible, and simultaneously most up-to-date thinking on shellshock/combat trauma/PTSD is going to be related to Iraq, Afghanistan and general War on Terror stuff. The US DoD was flinging money at both physical and mental rehab research for a while.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 01:33 am (UTC)
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
From: [personal profile] vass
I think this might be related to moral injury. Not exactly the same thing, but a good place to look for writing on the thing you're looking for.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 02:33 am (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
I don't think there's a lot of it focused on the actual Great War soldiers, in part because you'd have to get the right combination of someone highly interested in trauma while also being highly interested in HISTORY, rather than in dealing with The Traumatized Soldiers Of Now?

That kind of thing (it was normal at the front and now it's abnormal/horrible at home) is highly implicated in all war-related PTSD, and is a frequently discussed thing in the memoirs and histories of soldiers of WWII; somewhat less directly re WWI, in part because everyone was much more Stiff Upper Lip about it, partly because it was the " . . . well crap they're all broken?!" of the WWI experience that caused people to be alert for the WWII stuff . . . .etc. But it's a constantly running theme, and to some extent is Taken for Granted, which may be part of why it's not leapt out if you've been looking at stuff so far?

That shit is alllll through the LITERARY attempts at processing both WWI and WWII and even Vietnam trauma ("unless you were there you ~*don't know*~") admittedly often in a very pathological way - one that's focused more on validating the damaged-soldier's sense of being damaged and alienated from "normal" society, and the impossibility of reconnecting? But it's alllll there.

But it's also been there since before? The Soldier who's Experienced War and now no Civilian Can Understand is . . . well, it's Shakespearean. See Hotspur and his wife.

I personally think the crucial, central part of shellshock as it manifested as something totally new was actually the bit you don't pull out here, probably because it's the least comfortable part: the sense of complete, utter, total helplessness.

We talk a lot about the machine-gun because it's more interesting? But in both WWI and WWII most people were killed, hands down and without any doubt, by artillery. (Ditto Korea and to some extent Vietnam.) You know what the absolute calling card of an artillery attack is?

Huddling in a hole in the ground and hoping you don't die. Because there is nothing. else. you can do. (You can fortify your hole and hope you don't get killed by sharpnel, sure. But a direct hit on your position and you're going to die.)

And the very name tells you that, really, because that's what the most noticeable, totally-destroyed-version was: shell shock. It came from being shelled, and it reduced them back to the state of being shelled, which is: you huddle in place and hope you don't die. The horror stories are about the shelling: about drowning in "man soup", about obliterated pieces of human that hit you. About the huge pits in the ground with human bits all around in them.

(The landscape in front of the Gates of Mordor? Is the landscape of No-Man's Land. Complete with horrible scum-water down in the bottom, and ancient bits of filth and bodies you have no idea how long they've been there. The Dead Marshes are the watery version. That landscape is BURNED INTO THE BRAIN.)

~staranise would have the cites for this, but it's also one of the most important parts of whether or not a traumatic incident does or does not leave significant scarring - whether or not the sufferer was able to have ANY sense of control over events (as well as how long the THREAT of the traumatic event stretched on).

Being under heavy artillery fire is basically the perfect recipe for Severe PTSD: It goes on forever, it goes on all around you, there is NOTHING you can do, and nobody who hasn't been there will actually get it. If you survive it you almost certainly weren't badly injured at any point but you probably DID get to see your buddy or comrades blown to horrible pieces/screaming in agony/etc, but since YOU didn't get injured you can't figure out what you're so fucked up about.

Etc.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 11:31 am (UTC)
halojedha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halojedha
This chimes exactly with the reading I've been doing on a very different topic - birth PTSD. The consensus seems to be that the thing that makes PTSD a risk is feeling out of control/helpless during an experience, not how risky/violent the experience was per se.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 04:16 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
Yeah it turns out humans react really badly to feeling truly helpless.

Birth ptsd being among people giving birth? Because man that would be a fascinating and potentially very fruitful area because yeah it's got all the potential to get Bad in that area and yet is also one where we could actually do something in our approaches that could address and mediate that. You'd think I'd have thought of that given my areas of interest but I'd never framed it before.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 04:23 pm (UTC)
halojedha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halojedha
Yes, PTSD felt by birthing person. OMG, there has been so much bad, and there is so much that can be done (and is being done, sometimes, but also often needs to be firmly advocated for by people about to give birth). A good starting point if you're interested is the Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill, although you'll need to read it with your "gender binary: nope" goggles on if you care about such things.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 04:26 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional

Alas those goggles are so necessary in almost all cases when one cares about such things and yet is concerned about the health and wellbeing of birth-giving-persons. I shall have to look into it! \o/ yay new learning.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 04:29 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
I mean if living with trauma automatically granted accurate insight into how it really works it wouldn't have taken us all the way until now as a species to start working out paradigms for effectively dealing with it. XD

But yeah I genuinely think that's the thing that took shellshock out of shapes we were previously aware of and had sort of made cultural places for and into something where they had SO MANY cases that were SO OBVIOUS and clearly just...out there and unable to be explained by virtue or "toughness"....was the extremity of helplessness against modern type artillery barrage. Because it really is just off the charts: even older cannons you could at least see them, there was a chance to get out of the way, etc.

With modern scale artillery there's nothing. It can come out of nowhere, you don't even have to be able to see where the guns behind the barrage are, you don't know when it starts you don't know when it stops and nothing you do or don't do affects your chance of survival.

Hell thanks to dud shells you can't even be sure that being hit will kill you! Which is gonna fuck shit up even worse.

So then suddenly we had all the most extreme stressors (severe helplessness, lack of direct injury, lack of validation of feeling, lack of reintegration etc) happen all at once in a context where we really couldn't effectively victim blame as a society so we finally had to look at it and start an adjustment of our mindset and understanding. But I think that just beyond-all-previous helplessness is the lynch pin key.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 05:58 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
WANDERING BACK because I'd rather do this than anything else I have to do right now because like it sort of feels like I'm downplaying the importance of social integration and support:

The thing about shellshock is that it specifically was perceived as something brand new.

Which, when we know that shellshock as they saw it was merely a specific presentation of severe PTSD, is silly? But the thing is that before that severe presentation (soldiers taken from Healthy, Secure Young Men to shivering wrecks who flinch at every noise, fade in and out of being aware of reality, and can't hold a cup because their hand shakes too much) PTSD could just . . . fade into ways we already had of understanding.

One of the super interesting things about looking at, say, the post-Napoleonic era from the position of someone who spends a lot of time looking at the Wars and Interwar? WOW DOES THIS LANDSCAPE LOOK FAMILIAR! You have huge numbers of men who had been soldiers and sailors coming back, a sudden spike in crime, in domestic violence, in Weird Political Bullshit and also Weird Religious Bullshit, and above all in substance use.

Pterry has that one line in one of the early books about a group of faces as evil looking as those from a woodcut about the evils of gin-drinking among the non-woodcut-buying classes? Thaaaat's totally a crack about this era, because the men coming back with PTSD were self-medicating with this shiny new easily-available distilled liquor.

But! The thing about all of their behaviours and violence and substance use is that it was still just a more severe version of shit that had been going on forever, since living at the bottom of society has been inherently traumatic just about forever, and also we were still only barely rising from the point where by the time you were secure enough in society that you were no longer being traumatized regularly by systematic abuses and death and starvation and so on, we sort of bespoke-traumatized you by all the unhealthy ways the UPPER-classes raised their kids.

That meant that the fact that it was SO OBVIOUSLY (from a modern, trauma-informed perspective) that waves of young men were coming home from ugly battlefields and also from ships where the slightest sign of defiance was punished by heavy flogging (because half of the men on those ships were - to call a spade a spade - slave-labour kidnapped from shore-based lives and liable to mutiny given half the opportunity and thus you really kinda HAD to beat them into cowering submission) and trying to pick up their lives again . . . . just sort of disappeared into "wow suddenly everyone's So Immoral" and "Yoof of Today!!!!" and "it's those damn [insert religious or political movement you don't like here] that are to blame!!!"

Now those men had absolutely the problem of "suddenly we're home and what was normal in the war is abnormal and even Evil now and nobody is helping us deal with this transition and when we express any pain we're further alienated and vilified." And I strongly feel that the hundred years of absolute constant shite that would eventually result in WWI on the continent? Can be traced to this incredibly traumatic period and the unrest it unleashed after the fact.

(This is the bit where we get to blame everything on Napoleon. Calvin, Napoleon, Stalin: ALL THEIR FAULT. But we digress.) (The twins REALLY HATE Napoleon, okay. REALLY HATE HIM.)

And we'd been doing that in general back time out of mind: see also Hotspur and Kate. This is because since the invention of the spear we really had only ever Improved Markedly on our weaponry, but in a sort of meaningfully straight line: we'd never reached a point where the whole landscape had changed to the point of disconnecting visible cause from effect. Even gunfire, at an early stage, you have a strong probability of SEEING THE GUY WHO'S SHOT YOU, because early guns weren't that efficient, you know? So even when a society was taken abruptly and via warfare from archers to riflemen, they still probably did so via an age of rifles where you saw a line of men standing up and pointing a long stick at you.

You might not see the musket-ball or the bullet that hit you, but you could draw that cause effect line and you could use that information, so the helplessness might be MORE than it is with more historic weapons (and I think it is) but it's not a massive exponential jump yet.

(Which randomly: I do think even so that bullets made warfare more traumatic, not because they killed more people, but because you have that Helpless feeling increased when it's a bullet vs even an arrow, and even an arrow is more than a spear or a sword. But I digress: it's still not a HUGE DISCONNECTED LEAP.)

So while trauma was always at play, and a big deal, we could basically explain it or culturally deal with it without having to change how we thought about these things working - without having to realize that Something New and Counterintuitive was Going On. Because likewise in these same times, at the time, who was most likely to get Weird and Broken about a past battle?

Well, old Paul who had his legs hacked off and then had to spend three months recovering with two bouts of wound fever helpless in face of the sawbones, of course. Or even up to the American Civil War: well Jimmy and Billy of course, who lay there while their whole platoon was killed by influenza or cholera. The people most likely to feel helpless and powerless were also those, at THAT point, who'd been wounded or ill or otherwise we could directly see why of course that would be a More Horrible Experience.

And then anyone else's PTSD just sort of faded into the general level of background trauma that everyone had and didn't cause behaviour-badness out of the ordinary, because EVERYONE was broken!

WWI wasn't objectively that much more technologically advanced than previous wars, particularly the Crimea - although if one looks at the Crimea one rapidly realizes that that war was unbelievably ugly, and also that it did in fact fuck up EVERYONE who came back from it. BUT, the only people involved from the UK and other countries on the forefront of quality of life at the time (which is important) were a small number of professional soldiers, who were there because they'd joined on purpose, and the artillery scale was still much smaller. I mean the professionals did in fact come BACK from the Crimea and the Boer going "oh shit automatic weapons are gonna fuck us all up" but they were a small group and not very many, comparatively.

So for them again the disconnect between "what I went through on the front" and "society" was huge and hugely contributed to their traumatization more than anything else, and yet at the same time they were a small enough group and from corners of society that it the way they were damaged could be (in short) victim blamed or class blamed or special-cased away. Society didn't have to change how it looked at shit.

The Great War threw all that in the fire by a few things. One is that to give him what due he deserves (him and Jung), Freud and his idea that the human psyche could be damaged and that this was not the result of moral flaw and failing on the part of the person in question but the result of injury just like the body, had started to catch on. But while that may have been necessary it wasn't sufficient, and to some extent I think that the vaulting of Freud and of the concepts of psychology to the forefront may have been more caused BY shellshock needing explanation and handling than vice-versa. But it's hard to tell.

But the two crucial ones were:

a) SHEER SIZE. Basically all of the able-bodied young men of three different major world empires, plus everyone else drawn in, were put in a situation to be potentially affected by this shit. That means that even if you assume PTSD remained the same in the proportion of people that it affected, that's still a huge rise in real numbers and that sometimes matters more than proportion. (We know that from queer stuff: when your society is only 70K people the fact that 1% of them are, say, so badly served by your gender concepts that it drives them to destruction doesn't necessarily make a blip on anyone's consciousness; when society is over 7 billion people 1% is STILL MORE THAN THE POPULATION OF MY COUNTRY and suddenly even though the proportion is still tiny, the real numbers are so large that it's a different landscape. Scale: COMPLICATED.)

The point being that now you have 3 million young British men being POTENTIALLY broken into tiny pieces, with 1 million of them not surviving and the other 2 million odd coming home and society having to deal with them.

b) and even more crucially we suddenly hit the point with our war technology that we pushed JUST OVER that horizon and were into War Is Uncanny Valley, Holy Shit.

We had automatics at the Boer, and it really worried the professional soldiers! And then at the Somme we'd stepped it up just that little bit enough that it could cut down 30K men from the other side of what seems like it should be a prohibitive space and they just fall like cut wheat. The monkey-brain can't deal with that. The monkey-brain can't deal with an INVISIBLE SCYTHE cutting down a whole line of men.

We'd had artillery for ages: ballistas! Cannons! All that shit! And then suddenly we pushed juuuuust that bit over and now you have bombardments so long, so fierce and so hot that the Canadian Engineers realizing "hey we should start tracking how much our shells ERODE THE BARRELS OF OUR BIG GUNS so we can make this rolling barrage shit WORK" and doing so became a Fighting Superpower.

The monkey-brain can't deal with THAT either. Suddenly even magical thinking isn't enough to give the monkey-brain something to hold onto in terms of making the world make sense: the saying "there are no atheists in foxholes" is only true when you're talking INSIDE. A fuck of a lot of atheists EMERGED from foxholes when they looked back and couldn't find any rhyme, reason or lesson in who lived and who died and who went nuts.

When suddenly neither courage nor bravery nor anything make any difference, the monkey-brain eventually just gives up.

So what you got out of that shithole was shellshock: a new manifestation of PTSD so severe, so unprecedented and yet so widespread that none of the paradigms we were used to explained it. Something about being shelled in trenches for days on end gave us, at the other end, young men who were otherwise Epitomes Of Our Values . . . . who were now small huddled balls of twitching mess convinced that they were always under attack and unable to think or function.

We had no answer for that. We had no way to integrate that. We had no way to explain it with the paradigms we used before so we had to build a new one.

The thing is once we TOOK the new, Freud-based idea that the mind could be injured, and then we applied it to shellshock, it has since then been a whole Journey of backing up and realizing hey wait hang on, this OTHER thing that we thought was X, I mean if you look at it, that's just . . . that's shellshock that wasn't quite enough to reduce to shivering little ball. Oh hey wait shit a lot of this Bad Stuff coming back from WWII hey that's . . .that's like shellshock but like, they can still feed themselves - oh shit Vietna -

Oh wait rape victi - OH HEY KIDS FROM -


Well shit trauma sure is a goddamn thing ain't it.

But I honestly think the thing that got us to start looking at it beyond just "well some people aren't as good as others" was that the new level of helplessness brought on by long-distance automatic fire and, more than anything else, by long-term long-distance artillery barrage, broke monkey-brains so completely that we couldn't NOT see something different. It pushed that lever alllllllll the way to breaking, and it did it with a large enough number of young men that we couldn't move forward without figuring out What The Fuck Happened.

So to some extent shellshock is just PTSD so severe that the total failure of cope didn't even wait to find OUT that the kid wasn't going to be able to reintegrate, he stopped being able to even systematize his experience right there on the front because monkey-brain went "AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" and just didn't stop. And then once we started looking at shit we realize . . . .

Hey man there's an awful lot of young men who seem to do fine all through the war but then they come home and fall the FUCK apart?

And we went from there.
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
.....also people in "the Global South" (whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean - no, no, I know, but still) just often live in conditions where trauma is something they can't escape and can't avoid dealing with so it's normal.

They DO experience it as traumatic. But LIFE is fucking traumatic, and everyone around them is traumatized, so it's NORMAL. Which is what used to be true of "the global north" too. Can't see woods for trees.

Like: the author/character is just flat wrong. They are incorrect if the believe that trauma disorders are not a major feature of the landscape of "the Global South" (along with a large number of other mental disorders, for example) and that this isn't a huge problem of public health, civic organization and individual suffering that is a huge struggle to deal with and a huge PROBLEM.

It's often something BELIEVED; it's a very prevalent myth. I can't find the article I read years ago about this physician who had been working in Africa and had believed (being either African-American or African herself, I can't remember) the whole "depression is a Western Developed World disease) and then being confronted by this woman who VERY. OBVIOUSLY. HAD. post-partum depression and flailing and having this woman's husband literally kneel down at her feet after she gave the woman anti-depressants and bless her for his wife's recovery. (The essay ended with her description of the young woman coming in herself, bright and happy and holding the baby she wouldn't even look at two months before on her hip.) But it's one that was formative in my realizing That's All Bullshit and has stuck with me.

(The husband had already TRIED magic, and local healing, and getting help from her mother and sister, and he was actually very good at being supportive and looking after the kids, and and and . . . and yet his wife he doted on would still sit in the corner and stare at the wall and not eat and not touch the baby and so he went to the actual Western Doctor just because like, at that point: CAN YOU DO SOMETHING HIS WIFE IS DYING AND HE CAN'T FIX IT?)

It's something people believe, but it's BULLSHIT, and it's bullshit that does huge harm by making people think that it's not crucial to try to find (culturally appropriate, educated, informed, COOPERATIVE, etc) trauma-treatment paradigms for those places.

The fact that operating while handling trauma is just so normalized that it's invisible doesn't mean the trauma isn't there. It just means it's so common it's EVERYWHERE.

(See also: Israel and PTSD.)
Edited Date: 2019-02-02 07:12 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
Um. I believe that can be empirically refuted using evidence and data gathered by persons from the areas hit by natural disasters and huge traumatic events, if you need citations. /PUTTING. IT. MILDLY. (nastier version: . . . tell that to the Rwandan Genocide Survivors?/the Haitian Earthquake Survivors?/I CAN KEEP GOING?) But yeah. I also know you know that. But just like: ahahahaha NO. Also no, and while I'm at it NO.

she's to some extent telling a predominantly British audience a story they kind of want to hear about The Decadent West and Moral Decline in a way that looks like it's Diversity In Representation. So.

Oh absolutely, yeah: I think "we're just ~*fragile decadent snowflakes*~ and the Real Salt of the Earth People Out There are strong and tough and don't suffer these problems" is a super popular meme, and it's one that often seems validating to those suffering discrimination for being, you know, not the secure ruling class of whatever society they're in so it's sometimes embraced?

(Among other things it makes the really attractive unspoken implication that everyone can stop being so Careful about each other and just go back to being Tough Stalwarts and we don't have to worry about spanking our kids etc, which is suuuuuper attractive to many thinkers and also poison.)

But see also: Strong Black Women Are Allowed To Have Depression Too:

I’m a Black woman. And often, I find I’m expected to possess unlimited strength and resilience. This expectation puts immense pressure on me to uphold the “Strong Black Woman” (SBWM) persona you often see portrayed in pop culture.

The SBWM is the belief that Black women can handle anything that comes their way without it having an emotional impact on them. The SBWM prevents Black women from showing vulnerability and tells us to “get over it” and “get it done” regardless of the mental and physical toil.

Until recently, it’s safe to say that society has paid little attention to the mental health needs of African-Americans. But both Black communities and non-Black communities have contributed to the problem.


(And I mean I found that with the google search "black women depression"; this is such a known problem it's JUST THAT EASY to find, because wow it is a Known Problem.)

And it's very attractive to the dominant class/nations/etc because among other things it means we don't have to feel SHITTY about the fact that all this stuff we know is bad for us is being heaped on vulnerable places around the world like a hundred times more, and usually by our doing, especially if we can do it via that super popular meme of "the Decadent West/Moral Decline/Etc" that has been popular since fucking Tacitus and his Noble Savage Germans.


But frankly like . . . literary circles are pretty much fucking full of That Kind of Person which is part of why I have such little patience for them and yeeeeeah. So.
Edited Date: 2019-02-02 07:30 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-03 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
Helplessness is an aspect of finding yourself alone after the initial trauma, too.

I swear I'm as much traumatised by all the shit that happened after September 2013 as the relationship that ended then - and as you're aware, while that included some Obviously Traumatic incidents in which I was rendered more helpless by the risk of losing what social connections I had...

...well, it also involved an awful lot of just not being able to do anything to manage the situation I was in and make real improvements.

I don't know if being sufficiently prohibited from fighting back screws you up as much as not being able-in-principle. I do know that it's usually cis men who Really Don't Get It in terms of how I then interact with the world and especially other women.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-06 10:14 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
It can, if not worse.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
Can't say I'm surprised.

There's a definite thing where visibly knowing too much about self-defence or fighting can lose you access to support. Being a broadly-built autistic trans woman certainly doesn't help there.

I guess relatedly, I wish someone else involved in that pileup had been more able to be honest about how she'd been affected - I think she was trying to "be strong" and look after me, but it ended up taking further agency away from me and messing her up too. We don't really talk much about situations where more than one person in a social circle or relationship has been at least partly exposed to the same trauma.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-13 04:47 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
They are very complicated yeah.

But yeah honestly the brain doesn't seem to care much whether the reason we're in effect helpless is based in a true pragmatic inability (ie nobody could fight back) or if it's based on social factors or psychological factors or what - and sometimes when it's "I should be able to fight back but I can't because it would result in X" it's even worse because then you also blame yourself for not fighting effectively. Etc.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-13 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
I've been fairly lucky about the self-blame, I understand the mechanics of how it all happened extremely well (and better than most therapists would be able to help disentangle, tbh). I was lucky enough to've done the risk assessment consciously in the moment when deciding not to act on one occasion.

I do wish it were safer to talk about how my brain reacts to the prospect of being around that particular abuser again though. This post's public, so I won't. Maybe if I were cis, allistic and talking about a man, that'd be different. As it is? Repeating that risk assessment is a good way to get viewed as a likely abuser myself, and I was weighing up options substantially "lighter" than most self-defence instructors would suggest.

People see the harm I could do, if they see the harm that was done to me it's through a "now she's a monster" narrative. That's the truly harmful bit, I have to play helpless just to be acceptable again.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-13 06:08 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional

I'm so sorry you're dealing with that. I'm familiar enough with the KIND of situation you describe that I can imagine a lot of it without needing more details, and totally understand not wanting to do that in an even semi-public space, but I also wish to express my heartfelt regret/sympathy for being in that situation.

Also offer internet tea. Or something.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-13 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
Thanks, it's appreciated.

For what it's worth, one of the reasons I'm treating this as simply "public" is having ended up on a list of "SJWs" hosted by someone whose rabid pseudonym rhymes with "dox they". Knowing they're out to get you actually helps, but other people not understanding it can be another matter.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 04:09 pm (UTC)
rydra_wong: From the film "The Last Flight": hands holding a champagne glass containing a set of false teeth. (last flight -- teeth)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
somewhat less directly re WWI, in part because everyone was much more Stiff Upper Lip about it, partly because it was the " . . . well crap they're all broken?!" of the WWI experience that caused people to be alert for the WWII stuff . . . .etc. But it's a constantly running theme, and to some extent is Taken for Granted, which may be part of why it's not leapt out if you've been looking at stuff so far?

This is quasi-tangential, but I highly commend The Last Flight to your and [personal profile] kaberett's attention -- it was made in 1931 but set immediately post-WWI, so it's an attempt to process it which pre-dates WWII; most of the main characters are American former airmen staying in Paris more-or-less explicitly because they're carrying PTSD and damage/disabilities which would be unthinkable/unimaginable at home (or only comprehensible as cause for pity).

It's fascinating in that it pre-dates the cliches of Movie PTSD (and manages to be a lot fresher and more truthful as a result), and there's also something unusual in how it handles gender, compared to a lot of films in which women are embodiments of The Home/Society That Cannot Possibly Understand.

There's a chasm between the Soldiers and the Civilians in this film, but Nikki isn't one of the Civilians. We never learn what happened to her, or if it was even a specific thing that happened to her, but somehow she's on the same side of the chasm as the boys. And her initial disatrous response to Cary isn't the pity he fears, it's a raw and skinless empathy with zero social filters on it.

https://rydra-wong.dreamwidth.org/458014.html (my write-up)

http://sovay.dreamwidth.org/718634.html (sovay's much better and more in-depth one)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] alexwlchan
the things that Happiness was trying and failing to say competently about what makes events traumatising
I think I’m missing a context here – what’s Happiness? Is it a book or paper or something? (Googling “happiness ptsd trauma” does not suggest something obvious, unsurprisingly).

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-02 10:09 am (UTC)
ludy: big scary wooden goat (home)
From: [personal profile] ludy
When Gran-who-brought-me-up was talking about her own childhood her conception of her father's shellshock included hearing loss/tinnitus from being blown up as well as what we would now think of as PTSD symptoms. So i think there was probably an element of having physically impaired communication when he came back home as well as it mentally being so very different. (And obviously hearing aid technology was almost non-existent and societal Deaf Awareness was even less developed than it us now). There may well have been a vicious cycle of the Hearing Loss causing isolation and making him struggling to connect with the post-war world and so spend more time ruminating on his traumatic memories...

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