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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The words are stuck inside me; I write to heal: Memory, recall, and repetition in PTSD blogs

  • Author(s): Ramanathan, V
  • et al.

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© 2016 Equinox Publishing Ltd. This paper addresses issues around the automatic repetition of particular memories in the narratives /blog accounts of individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Based on a long-term project that examines how people with various bodyrelated conditions and ailments write or speak about their bodies, the focus of this paper is on 80 blog accounts wherein individuals with PTSD write both about living with the condition and about their steps towards healing themselves. The paper pays special attention to how the act of repeated blogging counters the paralyzing repetition in their heads, leading them to re-cognize particular distressing life-events and thus creating alternate episodic structures (Gee 1992). In particular, the article addresses: What insights about repetition and memory are we able to glean from PTSD pathographies, and in what ways does current scholarship in narrative analysis, applied sociolinguistics, and psychology permit a more complex understanding of the condition?

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