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Reorganization of the Brain and Heart

Road to Recovery: Healing Through Reorganization

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

~ Anais Nin

The brain is an amazing thing.  Just like your body goes right to work to heal a bruise or a cut, so the brain seems designed to naturally heal itself. Those of us who are trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a therapeutic approach to healing the brain), know this is true. So, no matter whether sexual violence just recently happened or whether much time has passed, your brain has been busy trying to Reorganize itself.  It wants the ‘wires’ reconnected to help you begin to cope and function as best you can.

Now here is the deal.  In breast cancer, the disease is so invasive, the body cannot heal itself.  The body’s natural design to heal itself is not enough.  Some women learn to radically change their eating and lifestyle habits and are apparently helped by these. Most women, however, turn to medical treatments.  All of these choices reveal the need to get help for what the brain/body cannot do for itself.  The point is, something needs to be done or the cancer will probably kill you. You need outside help.

Sexual violence is a type of cancer to the brain, heart and soul.  Just as in breast cancer, many factors will affect the prognosis. These include the type of sexual violence, where it occurred, who the abuser was, how often it happened, how long it has festered inside after it happened, the quality of support received, your family situation, childhood history, and so on.  Your family’s response can either be helpful or more destructive.  All these quantities affect the Reorganization of your brain.

Another impact on your healing is whether the sexual violence is a secret that you’ve never told anyone.  If so, your internal reorganization has made new connections to cope with that secret; the results are probably not helpful to you. In fact, it may affect you as an infected wound that needs to be drained, or a cancer that is killing part of you emotionally, spiritually, mentally or in relationships with others.

Another factor to Reorganization is called pre-morbid functioning.  All that means is that if someone is violated but up to that point has not suffered any other traumas, if they have a good family history and support system, and if they get help right away, the prognosis is excellent for healthy Reorganization in a relatively short time.  There are situations where this has been the case with treatment called EMDR and the survivor needed only three therapy sessions to improve. But this is rare. Usually the Reorganization stage of a survivor’s recovery is about six months in the best situations. In some cases, it may take years.

There is much, much more to the Reorganization stage.  I will be adding more about this stage.  It is amazing that the brain immediately goes to work to try to heal itself.  The Ravaged stage which I wrote about earlier is it’s first attempts.

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