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The Accrescent Podcast Ep. 139 Dr. Galit Atlas - A Look at Dissociation, Repressed Memories & the Journey of Trauma Healing


Dr. Galit Atlas – A Look at Dissociation, Repressed Memories & the Journey of Trauma Healing


Episode Summary

In this second conversation with Dr. Galit Atlas, we discuss how the mind can repress traumatic memories and how my own childhood trauma led me to living in a state of dissociation for most of childhood. We also touch on the complexity of sexual abuse and the different layers of healing that we may need to go through in overcoming the effects of trauma.

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Well, here we are. Happy Friday everyone. I really hope you all got a chance to listen to last Friday’s episode with Dr. Bradley Nelson, like I mentioned last week, that was such an honor to be able to record with him. . I don’t know how I got so lucky to be able to have that conversation with him. We’re talking all about emotions, how in his practice he saw that every single patient there was at least some component of an emotional root cause even to their physical ailments or diseases.

And then we talk about his new book, the Body Code. So definitely check that out. That was such an amazing, amazing conversation with him. Now… pivoting to today’s topic. This is an episode that I have been meaning to record for a while, and I’ve been alluding to it for almost a year now. I think. But I knew that I couldn’t record this episode until I was able to be in a place of regulation when talking about this topic.

There was a lot of healing work I needed to do before I could speak about this publicly, and I didn’t wanna start speaking about this while I was still in a state of dysregulation because I think that that dysregulation would be felt from the listener’s end as well. And before I go any further, there’s two things I wanna say.

First, big trigger warning… Um, I talk about some heavy topics in today’s episode related to early childhood abuse, so if that is a topic that is triggering, if that is too… dysregulating for you to listen to right now. Skip along, tune into last week’s episode with Dr. Nelson. Pivot to something else. I just wanted to put that out there as a trigger warning so you kind of know a little bit what you’re getting into.

And then the second thing that I wanna say at the beginning here is this episode is not meant to be all encompassing. The topic that I’m gonna be talking about and sharing today, there is so much I could, and. To say to this topic, and so today is just to get this out there. Kind of frame what the last 12 months of my life has looked like, broadly speaking.

But then my hope is to record additional episodes on this topic, even bringing in some of my favorite. Professionals to discuss this topic in depth so that I can share and explain my healing journey, what it’s looked like, how this. Realization how this trauma has affected me and how I’ve processed it over the last 12 months.

What has helped me so much and, and get that expert insight as well. That is something that I really, really would love to do. So just kind of keeping that in in mind as you’re listening to this, that there, I can’t possibly fit all of the information in this one episode. . This is just a starting point.

There is certainly, I hope more to come on this topic, and as I mentioned before, this is, I’ve been wanting to speak to this for some time now. I knew I needed to get to a certain place of regulation before I could speak to it and. . I think the reason now that it’s like I’ve got to share this publicly is number one, I have, I have come to a place of much, much more regulation into this topic.

So I know that it’s safe for me to speak about this publicly, and I will still be able to maintain a sense of peace and safety. But the second piece of this is, Almost all of the emotional healing work I have been doing over the last 12 months has been in relation to this topic. I’ve done EVOC sessions for with myself on other topics as well, but this has been the core, core thing that every single day of my life for the last 12 months I have done so.

In relation to healing around this topic, and the reason why I just wanna share it now is because it’s kind of gotten to the point where everything that I’m working on is in relation to this and a big part of. , what I share and what I feel like I’m meant to do in the world is share my healing journey, but I can no longer authentically share my healing journey with you all without this information being out there.

And, and so I think that’s where I’ve just started to feel frustrated and stuck is because. I have been having so many epiphanies and so many big growth moments, but I feel like I haven’t been able to share them because this preliminary information hasn’t been shared first. And so I wanna share it, first of all to enable more healing for anyone else who has a similar story, but also so that I can continue to authentically show up and share my healing journey, um, without having to kind of like dance around this.

So with all that said, where does this story begin? And it actually begins almost a year ago, I’d say maybe 11 and a half months ago. So really almost a year ago, I was in an EVOC session with myself, and I had a very, very clear memory come up, and it was a memory of being sexually abused by my father as a young.

And so that is what the last 12 months of my life has been about recreating safety around. Of course, that was an incredibly dysregulating moment, which then spilled into truly probably, I wanna say, Three to five months of dysregulation, three to five months of feeling scared and panicky, confused. Like I said, this is just a preliminary episode.

There’s so, so much realization, so many, so many aspects of healing from that. And by the way, the healing’s not done. There’s still more to sift through. There’s still more to resolve. , there were so many different aspects to that healing that I wanna be able to share at some point with you all. I think because of my natural inclination, which is to, I’m always observing myself and also just the work I do with clients, it enables me to observe myself even more.

And so it was a very, very interesting experience because on the one hand, I. In my body in the moment, experiencing the fallout and the negative ripple effect of this memory surfacing, and of course all that, that entails, all that, that implies so many more wounds that that brought up. And then at the very same time, I almost was like a third party observer of how this trauma, how this realization was affecting my mental health, how it.

Manifesting in my body physically, how it then began to have a negative ripple effect on my life, on my social life, even on my business. And like I said, and I’ll just keep saying it, there’s so many little tiny details in all of this that I know I’m not gonna even try and cover today. Today’s more about broad strokes, big picture.

And kind of the way the last 12 months of my life has played out is that there were, there was an initial core dysregulation period, a state of dysregulation that I have never been in before, at least that I was aware of. And like I said, that was probably a three to five month period where I. I was going in between, I think a fight response, a freeze response in terms of my nervous system socially isolating, wanting to wear baggy clothes and become very unattractive.

I don’t have a scale in my house, but if I had to guess, I probably gained, honestly, maybe 15, 20 pounds in that time period. , I didn’t wanna interact with certain people. So there was that initial three to five month phase of extreme dysregulation, which also I think started to affect my business. I wasn’t attracting in very many clients, and then I kind of came into a phase of, because I was doing work on this daily that.

Found more regulation in relation to this. I, I reestablished a sense of safety, uh, which allowed me to get to a point where I was able to actually sit down, not sit down, stand face to face with my father, and have a confrontation about this. And ultimately, in that conversation, I, I’ll share more details about that probably in a later episode.

But ultimately, in that conversation, just be able to say, because this happened, we can no longer have a relationship. Um, at least for the foreseeable future, but probably not ever and needing to set that boundary so that in my heart, in my soul, in my body, I felt safe knowing that I never have to see this person again.

if I don’t want to, and I’ve set that boundary and that then helped me step into a new deep sense of safety, having had that conversation and set that boundary. And since then, it’s been continuing to chisel away at the many different layers of this trauma and how it affected me a big. Kind of an earth shaking thing that happened in those first three to five months.

And I think part of why it was so dysregulating is not just the realization and holy shit, like this is my story. What, I don’t want this to be my story, but I also found myself for several weeks. Going back and looking at my life through this new lens, through this new realization with this new truth in front of my eyes, and really seeing that there were signs of this all along and that was very, very jarring.

And so it’s almost like feeling like, holy shit. all, all the conclusions I made about my life that are now kind of wrapped up with a pretty bow on them, I’ve gotta go back and reassess everything. And that was certainly a big, big part of this. And I think recently, well, let me say this first actually, that there was a, the initial things coming up with this were an immense amount of fear and an immense amount of.

I think those were the two predominant emotions and the way that that fear expressed itself mentally, emotionally, and physically was so intense and eye-opening. And I really, really wanna have a conversation with. Like a somatic experiencing expert to dissect this so much more because I think it can be so profoundly helpful.

And then the grief. And the grief was so nuanced because it was grief about my life, grief about this relationship with this person who was supposed to be a caretaker and a guide grief about the trauma they had experienced. It was so multifaceted, and again, I’d love to have an expert on to dissect that more.

How does a trauma from a parent. Affect us. What is the nuance within that, et cetera, et cetera. What I’m finding myself shifting into now, having spent truly, almost a year on that fear and that grief is an immense amount of anger, and I’d even go so far as to say rage that has been coming up within me and.

that is, I think what I’ve been sitting with probably the last two months is sitting with this anger, starting to look at it, starting to process it, let it come up. What is this anger about? and to the point that I was making earlier, this is what so much of my work has been around, and I’ve just felt like I can’t really share this fully without you guys understanding the root of that anger.

I even just posted a video today about the topic of forgiveness. Um, Glennon Doyle on her podcast was saying, I don’t, I don’t even know what forgiveness means for me anymore. And that’s very much where I have been as well. And you know, like I wanted to share that post and re. Why I’m having such a hard time with forgiveness and this idea of forgiveness, but I couldn’t really expand on that topic without, again, you guys understanding this whole backstory a little bit better.

So there’s a lot more, there’s a lot to dissect, there’s a lot to share. And something I said, I think in an earlier episode, an earlier solo episode this year was. last year was by far and away the hardest year in my entire life because of this trauma that surfaced. And there’s a couple things I wanna say to this though.

Number one, . I absolutely believe that the reason this trauma surfaced in the first place is because my subconscious finally felt safe enough to bring this up. It felt safe enough knowing, okay, I can bring this heavy topic up now and we’re gonna be okay because of all the emotional healing work that I had done up to that point.

And the second thing I wanna say to this is, , even in the midst of that immense fear, immense grief, confusion, hurt. I, again, I think because of all the emotional work I’ve done, because of all the EVOC therapy I’ve done on myself, in the midst of that deep, deep despair, I had such a firm knowing that I will get through this.

I’m not okay, but I will be okay. And that is the power of emotional work. We can get through hard times much easier, but I think it’s an anchor. It’s an anchor. When we feel like we’re in the midst of the storm, to feel tethered to something, to feel tethered to, I have created enough safety, enough trust within me that I know I’m gonna get through this.

And I think I’ll close it out there on that more uplifted note. As I said, I hope to be able to share more episodes on this, not just solo, but conversations with individuals. I really, really look up to in the space of wellness, of mental health, of psychology, of generational trauma, and so much more. So as always, thank you so much for tuning in and until next week.

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