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Robert Augustus Masters


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This writing by Robert Augustus Masters (from Facebook page) really spoke to me. . I'm still digesting it, but, briefly, it reminds me that all of the hurts I'm facing now are likely linked to one main pattern in my life and not random bad events hitting me one after another. Also, my sensitivity to others' pain is much higher now. This seems related to the thread Hippopotamus began recently about past traumas being dredged up during withdrawal.

I'm not an analyst, so jump in with any other thoughts!


"Turning toward our pain is an act of radical caring—and not just caring for ourselves —because in doing so we cease to fuel our avoidance and those addictive behaviors we have used to keep ourselves removed from pain. In turning toward our pain, we also, however indirectly, turn toward others’ pain, both on the personal and collective level, (in both personal and collective contexts), and so our compassion for others deepens and widens.


Turning toward our pain is about bringing into our heart all that we have rejected, ostracized, disowned, neglected, bypassed, shunned, excommunicated, or otherwise deemed as unworthy in ourselves. Our heart has room for it all. We are all faced with considerable challenges, not the least of which is our personal and collective conditioning. To be able to relate to our conditioning rather than simply identify with it is much more than just an intellectual undertaking, requiring that we turn toward and enter the very pain out of which much of our conditioning arose.


And that turning toward, that courageous choice to become intimate with our pain and its roots, asks for much, much more than just a mere belief in or parroting of what we’ve been taught or read about our true nature. To emerge from our pain, we have to enter it."

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes. This sounds so true. Thank you for sharing that.


For me, this is also related to acknowledging 'not knowing'. I still find myself oftentimes wanting to fix things. I want to fix things when other people are hurting or otherwise in trouble. I want to offer an solution so I can make the pain and sorrow go away.


This is not only altruistic. I think a huge cause of it concerns the fact that I dont want to be burdened with their pain and suffering. And if I can make it go away by offering a quick solution, I dont have to.



Also somerhing else. He writes:


"To emerge from your pain you have to enter it'. This is absolutely true. Pain wont go away by ignoring it, pushing it away, pretending like it isnt so. It needs to be acknowledged and felt for life to keep flowing.


However when it comes to old pain, traumatic pain, there are ways to 'feel it' that dont help, that actually will make you worse. And there are ways that will help. Ways that feel liberating whilst going through the pain, even though it may really hurt.


This has to do with something that some people call a state of 'dual consciousness'. It means that at the same time that you are making contact with the pain, you are still very aware that whatever you are feeling isnt happening now. Maybe another way of putting this is by saying that you dont over-identify with it.


For example, there have been countless times in my life when I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of unbearable loneliness. I would be completely consumed by it, feeling like the ground was swept away from underneath my feet, turning into a mess of excruciatingly unbearable pain. It would happen whether or not I was surrounded by people who really cared for me.


All the times that this happened, I got not a single bit better from it, it would not in any way unburden me or set anything in motion. All it would do, was traumatize me more then I already was.


This is what some people call a 'traumatic flashback'. In my case, it would be a purely emotional flashback, which I didnt recognize as such. I had no idea that what I was feeling was in essence a frozen feeling-state from my childhood. And if I would have recognized it as such, it would have been purely on a rational level, which wouldnt change anything about it.


When I started to work through my trauma's, those same feelings would come to the surface, but in a different way: Somehow they would appear in their 'proper context', meaning that, on an experiential level

, I would be able to realize that this feeling was about things that happened to me when I was a kid, while at the same time, on an experiential level, I was able to really know that it wasnt happening now, that it belonged in the past, that I survived it and that it was safe to let the feelings and emotions pass through me.



Invariably when I can process old hurts and trauma's in this way, it feels deeply liberating while going through the emotions and I can tell that something inside me is shifting towards a more unburdened state.


I think this is a very important principle in trauma-work.

Have been on Seroquel XR from 2008. Dosages have fluctuated quite a bit. Rough guess: I've been on 250-300-350-400-450-500 mg from 2009-summer 2012. Started tapering july 2012 with cuts of 50 mg. By then I had been on 450 mg for a while. October 2012: 200 mg. Due to flu-like WD reinstated to 250 mg nov 12th.

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