Trauma disclosure: good or bad?

When I was younger and starting out in the blogosphere, I used to treat my blog like my journal. I would post about anything and everything, without any consideration, spreading my traumas and difficulties out in the open as though to make them more believable. As I’ve grown up, I’ve gotten more careful. I know the Internet is the Internet and things I’ve already posted will remain posted until the end of eternity. Regardless, the majority of my disordered teenage outburst have been carefully filed in my drafts folder.

How much disclosure is okay? And, in general, is the disclosure of trauma good or bad for the traumatized individual? As someone with such a complicated and largely stigmatized disorder as D.I.D, I have gotten used to the continuous filtering of the things that I want to hide and the things I want to disclose. As mentioned in earlier posts, a D.I.D system is often designed to be undetectable. A lot of the time we don’t want to be seen, a lot of the time we want to stay out of everybody’s business and mind our own. So we hide, beneath the mask that is our impersonation of L, as a form of self-preservation.

Self-preservation is a key component in trauma disclosure. Due to their explicit, unsettling nature, especially in the case of CSA, traumas aren’t something you discuss at a dinner table. For us, it’s something we don’t talk about. At all. Except to therapists or other mental health professionals. Even then selectively. We don’t want to appear vulnerable or to be stigmatized. Online, as we write to you, we may hint at the nature of our traumas but never go with a detailed storyline.

In a lot of ways, traumas, as other memories, are narratives. They live in the way they are recounted, be it in our heads or as a story to our therapist. Having had to tell and retell our experiences to mental health professionals and socials workers and police officers we have felt like each time something disappears. Something changes. Something is different. And each time we tell it, we feel somehow disconnected from it. What does that mean? Are we preserving the horrible memories?

Then there’s the mental health aspect. A therapist once asked me, can I heal if I hide? Can I heal from my traumas if I keep them hidden? As in all posttraumatic disorders, flashbacks and nightmares are our constant companion. So while we might hide the memories from the outside world, our head repeats them over and over. Would it make a difference if we were to discuss them more? Would it be good or bad for our recovery, if either?

Lastly, with disclosure on traumas, and I mean full disclosure of going to the police and fetching old records to set up new cases of the ones we let go, maybe we could get some sort of retribution. After all, our abusers were never punished for what they did. For all I know, our abuser stalks this blog as a desperate means to keep contact (wouldn’t be the first time).

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