The “Inability to Focus” Aspect: Living With and Healing From Trauma on a Daily Basis
Background on the Inability to Focus Aspect
For about three months now, I have featured a series entitled, ” Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. Last week, I discussed the “Blackout Aspect”. That discussion can be found here. Today’s discussion in the series ” Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, will center in on The “Inability to Focus” Aspect.
When we focus, we are able to use all of our attention in order to get a task done. Unfortunately, with PTSD/trauma, there are times when the inability to focus can literally get the best of you. There are several times that I have noticed this happening to myself. These are the triggering situations when the inability to focus happens the most:
- obtrusive thoughts are coming through
- you are in shock/denial about the truth/reality of a situation
- when you haven’t had enough sleep
Obtrusive thoughts that come through are the thoughts that are for the most part not your own. These thoughts are usually part of the inner critic voice inside of you from the person who abused or criticized you, or caused some type of pain or rejection. When these thoughts are racing through, it is hard to focus on anything else because the thoughts are trying to literally take over your whole brain process. I start off by praying and asking God to “take my thoughts captive”. If the obtrusive thoughts are mild, this does the trick. However, to keep it real, sometimes the thoughts are so out of control, that I am praying to God all day long about the same thing to the point of exhaustion.
Shock / Denial
When I am in shock/denial about some revelation that God has brought forth, I immediately start having problems focusing. This happened about three weeks ago when a personal situation with someone blew wide open. During this time, I ended up redirecting myself several times over to the truth, which is good. However, what I notice is that the truth is such a shock at this point, that the inability to focus increases instead of decreases from the truth.
This is because the revelation of the truth started the cycle in the first place, if that makes sense. The only thing that helps to ease this up is when our brains know that it is safe to grieve. Grieving breaks through the inability to focus aspect little by little when it comes to shock/denial. In this sense, I think of it as being a protection from further emotional and mental damage. This particular case from shock/denial is a form of dissociation as well.
Lack of Sleep
Lastly, when it comes to trauma, we have to have enough sleep. This can’t be stressed enough. When this doesn’t happen, it increases the inability to focus. In PTSD/trauma victims, this is exaggerated more than usual cases. The situation can get so bad that you exhibit ADHD-like symptoms that are trauma-induced. You have difficulty putting thoughts and sentences together, and you feel like your words are far apart.
My Experience with Lack of Sleep
One time about eight months ago this happened. It was extremely scary. I had been having problems sleeping for about a week do to a trial that I was dealing with, and the next thing that I knew, I realized that I was having problems gathering thoughts and putting sentences together. I prayed and asked God to help me sleep, and to restore my mind. And he didn’t fail to answer.
Even if this is not your area of struggle with PTSD/trauma, I am quite sure that there are other that you have that may be just as challenging. Feel free to comment below on how the inability to focus aspect has challenged you.
Thanks and blessings,