The Body Keeps the Score

The Body Keeps the Score is a non-fiction book about how stress and trauma affect your physical body. It tries to cover everything; not being a therapist, I can’t tell you how comprehensive it is. It certainly felt that way. But let me tell you that in the ongoing shitshow that is 2020, reading about both the effects of trauma on the body and possible ways to combat it was a fucking godsend.

Some of the therapies are definitely things you’ve heard before: yoga, writing, getting enough sleep, that kind of thing. But he goes into the studies that back up *why* they help you process your emotions and to let you move on to a better place, which stops you (ok, me) from rolling your eyes about them and actually take them seriously.

Some of the therapies and body systems are things I hadn’t known about before. Things like the autonomic nervous system (the one that kicks in while you’re relaxed, not the fight or flight one), polyvagal theory, EMDR (which I’d heard of but never understood before), neurofeedback (which, this is the one I want to try if I ever get the chance), parts (of the self) work and why it works.

The other thing that The Body Keeps the Score reminded me of was that, while 2020 is traumatic, I am relatively fortunate. It doesn’t mean that this year isn’t taking an emotional toll – it totally is – but things could be so much worse. There is so much deeper trauma out there in the world. So while it gives me good resources and the why I should pull out the damn yoga mat when all I want to do is watch Ghostbusters (2016) for the millionth time, it also gives me some perspective. My life could be so much worse.

So yes, The Body Keeps the Score was essential reading for the moment and yes, I would recommend it if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.