The Body Keeps the Score Audiobook

the body keeps the score audiobook
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The Body Keeps the Score Audiobook 🎧 Sean Pratt

Trauma is an unavoidable part of the human experience. One out of every five Americans has been abused; one out of every four grew up with alcoholics; and one out of every three couples has engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a world-renowned trauma surgeon, has worked with survivors for over three decades. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses current scientific advances to explain how trauma reshapes both the body and the brain, jeopardizing patients’ abilities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He looks into cutting-edge treatments that activate the brain’s innate neuroplasticity, such as neurofeedback and meditation, as well as sports, theater, and yoga. The Body Keeps the Score, based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research as well as that of other prominent experts, reveals the extraordinary potential of our connections to both harm and heal—and offers new hope for people who are trying to rebuild their lives.

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The tuesday after the 4th of july weekend 1978 was my first day as a staff psychiatrist at the boston veterans administration clinic as i was hanging a reproduction of my favorite frugal painting, the blind leading the blind on the wall of my new office. I heard a commotion in the reception area down the hall a moment later, a large disheveled man in a stained three-piece suit carrying a copy of soldier of fortune magazine under his arm burst through my door. He was so agitated and so clearly hungover that i wondered how i could possibly help this hulking man. I asked him to take a seat and tell me what i could do for him. His name was tom.

Ten years earlier he had been in the marines doing his service in vietnam. He had spent the holiday weekend holed up in his downtown boston law, office, drinking and looking at old photographs rather than with his family. He knew from previous years experience that the noise, the fireworks, the heat and the picnic in his sister’s backyard, against the backdrop of dense early summer foliage, all of which reminded him of vietnam, would drive him crazy when he got upset, he was afraid to be around His family, because he behaved like a monster with his wife and two young boys. The noise of his kids made him so agitated that he would storm out of the house to keep himself from hurting them only drinking himself into oblivion or riding his harley davidson at dangerously high speeds, helped him to calm down. Nighttime offered no relief.

His sleep was constantly interrupted by nightmares about an ambush in a rice, paddy back in nam, in which all the members of his platoon were killed or wounded. He also had terrifying flashbacks in which he saw dead vietnamese children. The nightmares were so horrible that he dreaded falling asleep and often stayed up for most of the night drinking in the morning. His wife would find him passed out on the living room couch and she and the boys had to tiptoe around him while she made them breakfast before taking them to school. Filling me in on his background tom said he had graduated from high school in 1965.

The valedictorian of this class, in line with his family tradition of military service he enlisted in the marine corps immediately after graduation, his father had served in world war ii in general, patton’s army and thomas never questioned his father’s expectations. Athletic intelligent and obvious leader tom felt, powerful and effective after finishing basic training, a member of a team that was prepared for just about anything in vietnam. He quickly became a platoon leader in charge of eight other marines surviving slogging through the mud while being strafed by machine gun. Fire can leave people feeling pretty good about themselves and their comrades. At the end of his tour of duty, tom was honorably discharged and all he wanted was to put vietnam behind him outwardly, that’s exactly what he did.

He attended college on the gi bill, graduated from law school married, his high school sweetheart and had two sons. Tom was upset by how difficult it was to feel any real affection for his wife, even though her letters had kept him alive in the madness of the jungle, tom went through the motions of living a normal life, hoping that by faking it he would learn to Become his old self again, he now had a thriving law practice and a picture-perfect family, but he sensed he wasn’t normal. He felt dead inside, although tom was the first veteran i’d ever encountered on a professional basis. Many aspects of his story were familiar to me. I grew up in post-war holland playing in bombed-out buildings, the son of a man who had been such an outspoken opponent of the nazis that he had been sent to an internment camp.

My father never talked about his war experiences, but he was given to outbursts of explosive rage that stunned me as a little boy. How could the man i heard quietly going down the stairs every morning to pray and read the bible, while the rest of the family slept have such a terrifying temper? How could someone whose life was devoted to the pursuit of social justice be so filled with anger? I witnessed the same puzzling behavior in my uncle, who had been captured by the japanese in the dutch east indies now indonesia, and sent as a slave laborer to burma where he worked on the famous bridge over the river kwai. He also rarely mentioned the war and he too often erupted into uncontrollable rages.

As i listened to tom, i wondered if my uncle and my father had had nightmares and flashbacks if they too, it felt disconnected from their loved ones and unable to find any real pleasure in their lives somewhere. In the back of my mind, there must also have been my memories of my frightened and often frightening mother, whose own childhood trauma was sometimes alluded to.

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