If you have C-PTSD, you know all about ruminating thoughts, even if you aren’t aware of what they’re called.
Ruminating thoughts are when something keeps going over & over in your mind. You either struggle with not thinking about that thing or can’t avoid it. This can be utterly miserable & depressing! Not to mention scary too, because not being able to have control over your thoughts is a very scary thing.
Prior to my brain injury, I could control mine to a degree. They happened, sure, but I could distract myself & stop the rumination. After the brain injury though, that stopped happening. Once ruminating thoughts began, they were out of my control. They stayed until they felt like leaving. I hated it! That is, until I realized something.
As miserable as ruminating thoughts can be, they do have a purpose. Ruminating thoughts help you to process trauma, & make no mistake- trauma needs processing if you want to heal from it.
When you can’t stop thinking about something, you feel the emotions connected to it, whether they are good or bad. Think back to when you first started dating someone you love. At first, you couldn’t stop thinking about that person. Everything reminded you of that person. And, every time you thought of that person, you thought about how much you love him or her, how attractive he or she is, the good times you were having together & more. By constantly thinking about this person, or ruminating, you naturally felt all kinds of emotions.
This happens with ruminating thoughts about trauma too. Obviously it isn’t nearly as pleasant, but even so, it serves a purpose. This is another way that you can process the trauma & the emotions attached to it. It will help you to heal.
The next time you have ruminating thoughts, I would like to urge you to sit with your ruminating thoughts. Feel the anger, the hurt, the fear, the sadness… whatever emotions you felt at the time of the trauma. Talk to God as you do this. Maybe write down what you are experiencing in your journal. I know it’s hard, but it really is worth it! It’s worth it when the trauma loses its ability to hurt you so badly. It’s worth it when you realize you survived something pretty horrific, & now can think of it without feeling utterly devastated. It’s worth it when you feel more peace & joy in your life because you have healed from this trauma.
As an added bonus, when you do this, the ruminating thoughts on this won’t keep happening. In fact, chances are slim you will think about it often. Naturally you won’t forget it, but most likely it only will come to mind quite rarely. And, when it does, thinking of it won’t consume you like ruminating thoughts can. I always noticed when I’ve healed from something traumatic, remembering it feels much like remembering a really bad dream. Unpleasant of course, & something I’d rather not think about, but also not devastating.
Please remember too, just because you have sat with your ruminating thoughts once doesn’t mean you will be totally healed. Maybe that will happen, but most likely it’ll take doing this a few times. That is normal. Each time you do it though, you are going to become stronger & more healed.