Article: Self-Imagination Can Enhance Memory in Healthy and Memory-Impaired Individuals


This is an interesting article from ScienceBlog, a comprehensive collection of scientific findings presented in compelling articles.  Being a bit of a science junkie, I subscribe to their general posts and find something cool to read every day.

Self-Imagination Can Enhance Memory in Healthy and Memory-Impaired Individuals discusses the value of self-imagination techniques in improving memory condition.  Memory issues are a complication found with Complex PTSD, so I am curious about how these methods can work in an overall therapy strategy.  One question I have is about the focus of imagination.  Intuition tells me that positive scenarios are therapeutically recommended and that avoidance of triggers should be a consideration.

But what about the benefits of observing negative patterns in imagined scenarios?  Would that not have some benefit in therapy?  For myself, I have a very active imagination.  Imagination was one of my most important and effective coping skills while I was experiencing abuse as a child.  My habit of day-dreaming — just escaping into my head — is long ingrained.  My self-therapy, by default, includes a great deal of observation of my thoughts. At the height of my PTSD complications, plagued with flashbacks, I was simply in my head more than I was in my life… and my head wasn’t a friendly place.  In my journals, I wrote often about my dreams, day dreams and flashbacks.  In my depression, I laid in bed and ran over all of the old memories.  Somehow, through my active work on fixing my broken head, things became more clear.  I was able to pinpoint some of the most critical negative thought patterns, the Stockholm Syndrome-like fantasies, the recurring self-hatred and consuming fear of others.

This gave me something solid to work on.  Even though my thoughts often triggered flashbacks and the spells of anxiety and depression that come with them, I found small breakthroughs… and deeply layered internal breaks in my self-image… all the way down to a core of self-hatred.  It may sounds like that is the worst possible thing to find within oneself, but I would challenge that thinking.  For me, it has been a revelation, especially now that I know what Complex PTSD is.

Because C-PTSD has its roots in abuse and neglect during critical stages of psychological development and is rooted in our most important interpersonal relationships, one of the primary complications is that of a fractured, damaged self-image. Because the norm for an abused, neglected child creates and reinforces a pattern of non-acceptance, non-care, punishment and exploitation, the self-image of that person is damaged.  I didn’t realize how deeply this damage went in my own psyche for a very long time.  I failed to see that part of myself, even though so much of my thinking was actually based on a concept of self-hatred.

It was through conscious observation of my imagination that I discovered, bit by bit — much as one would discover the nuances of any chronic illness — that my self-image was riddled with  ‘disease’.  There were many cancers of self-perception that needed to be discovered and healed.  I take the position that discovery is a vital part of healing.  But healing C-PTSD must be founded in caring, not in excision.  Thoughts cannot be cut out, nor can memories be cut out without complications.

Finding my core issues and imagining the caring for them, the healing of them, the resolution of each and every part of my self-image is crucial.  I cannot sit and wallow in the analysis of the bad.  I must pursue healing.

I am driven by something that I have found to be even stronger and deeper than self-hatred… self-preservation.  That will to live and to live well is in me.  My free wandering of thoughts often leads me into a respectful, awed recognition of this.  Beyond the pain, the road blocks, and regressions, there is a part of me that has always and will always dream about happy places and peaceful times.  After all, that is where my head went to save me as a child.  It does that still.

 

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One thought on “Article: Self-Imagination Can Enhance Memory in Healthy and Memory-Impaired Individuals

  1. You are sooo good with describing what it’s like! I could jump from my chair and yell “Exactly!” with every single phrase of yours! My own abuse wasn’t of a sexual nature – at least, not that I’d know of or was told… – but mostly from emotional abuse and perceived and real neglect (the silent treatment along with intense verbal abuse, e.g. “get out of my face and don’t you dare come back until you know what you’ve done wrong!”). But much like you say in this article, when I hear trusted friends talk about finding healing in becoming accepting and caring of myself, I’ve always almost wondered, why they would mention that. For I seem to have found that there is some sort of invincible, indestructible core of humanity in each and everyone of us that no human being can extinguish, at least not individual persons. Finding this core inspired me to the lyrics and song “The Mighty Healer”, although I’ve morphed the lyrics into a more common place romantic theme. You can listen to an early work-in-progress version of it here:https://soundcloud.com/wesbound/the-mighty-healer-demo (It’s not intended as a “shameless” plug or anything of that nature. I just wanted to share it with you and your readers. I hope to resume writing, recording and finishing unfinished material when I’ve moved to a place where I can have the oftentimes needed solitude that I simply require for creative work and for contemplation; I just found a place that might give me that, but it will take a lot of paperwork and good luck to actually get to move in ;-))
    P.S. I would like to reblog this entry, if it’s o.k. with you. May I? I’m likely to reactivate a blog I had started a while ago and dedicate it to my own process of healing. It’s at lateshift.wordpress.com. As you might notice, it started to come halfway about from a place of much disorientation and at the peak of personal despair a while back. I’m thinking of “repurposing” it for aforementioned journalling of my own process of healing. Kimberly… let me say this: You might never know, how much it means to me that I’ve found you, your journey, your blog!)

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