Healing trauma through violence

Mac McClelland, journalist and badass, has a jarringly honest, deeply powerful, and potentially triggering piece over at GOOD about how violent sex helped her deal with post traumatic stress disorder. Here’s an excerpt in which she talks about her obviously insightful therapist’s views on trauma:

‘Being aware and understanding what’s going on in your system and then literally working it through your body, like retraining your body how to calm down, is really useful,’ Meredith says. For many of her trauma patients, it’s a long and intense process. And if it goes untreated? ‘A lot of people don’t heal, and it manifests in a lot of different ways throughout their lives. There’s a study they did with Vietnam vets who’d had—clearly—a lot of trauma during the war. Twenty years later, they measured their levels of pain before and after they showed them intense footage from Vietnam. Pretty much across the board, after they saw this really intense, violent footage from the war, their levels of pain went down. Because when trauma doesn’t get to work itself through your system, your system idles at a heightened state, and so getting more really intense input calms your system down.’ Which is why, she explains, ‘A lot of folks who’ve survived trauma end up being really calm in crisis and freaking out in everyday life.’

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