Friday, March 5, 2010

The Keys to the Magic Kingdom

The keys to the magic kingdom.

Thats what I thought I was looking for all those years that I struggled with "managing" the symptoms of post trauma stress like the unexpected anger or feelings of rage, the depression and mania as I swung from one extreme on the range of emotions to the other. There was no middle for me; it was all or nothing.

The social angst that I experienced if I left the safe cocoon of the little world I had created in my head and my home became incapacitating. The most basic of human interactions became unbearable. The nightmares required medication to sleep but did not provide relief or peace, only a chronic state of lethargy.

The noise in my head was at times unbearable to the point of not wanting to die but not knowing how to live beyond this. Dissociation once again became my saving grace and my best friend as I floated through life day after day, year after year.

Emotional swings became my common ground as I fluctuated from the depths of depression to the highs of rage or overexcitement. Guilt and shame permeated my being for not being able to control my behavior as I swung from one extreme to another.

The hyper-vigilance was "paranoia" and what others might have termed irrational fears or psychosis was the reality I lived in every day as I battled a war long ago over yet still raging in my head although forgotten and buried amidst the chaos of my mind.

I existed solely to orchestrate and control my life and my environment in a vain attempt to avoid further emotional or cognitive distress that would surely come if I didn't. My life was consumed with getting away from the past - at the expense of my future.

I didn't know what was "wrong" with me - yet ultimately what I discovered was there was nothing wrong with me at all but that I was experiencing a normal human reaction to "trauma".

I simply did not have enough information to make the choice to move beyond being a perpetual victim or to get past living in "survival" mode where symptoms are managed instead of the freedom to create the life of my choosing outside of the nightmare of "mental illness" aka PTS.

The keys to the magic kingdom.

Do not exist.

What I found is that the solution to healing from the past is first, not easy. In making this decision to begin to face my past, to grieve what was my truth...well, I knew there would be times that it was going to feel like a dark and lonely road.

I accepted that no one else could walk this part of my journey for me. That I would face the demons of the past one by one, standing my ground as I determined to come out of this battle a whole person no longer fragmented or tormented.

Second, this journey is not a "quick fix". There is no pill, no book, no therapist or doctor that could "fix" me. I spent years depending on others to provide me with the answers, believing that if we could tweak my prescriptions a bit here and a tad there that in time I would be "better". That if I could only get my therapist to "understand" then he/she would be able to provide me with the magic map that would lead me out of this dark place.

Yet by becoming dependent on things, circumstances and people (regardless of the certificate on the wall) outside of myself to provide me with my answers and offer my life direction and purpose, that I was forfeiting my own power and sacrificing my own potential in the quest to have someone or find some answer outside of myself that I knew would be "the answer".

As I depleted all other resources about me - my family, there were no friends to speak of as I could not tolerate the most common of social interactions, doctors, therapists, the emergency admissions to the psychiatric ward of the hospital that would give me only respite for a moment - but no relief - ...I came to the conclusion that I was down to one thing; one resource. Me.

I accepted that there was no-one that could put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There was no pill that would make the nightmares and the noise in my head stop.


And I determined as I looked back on my journey to this place where I now stood and accepted that I was my resource. I was my solution.

I stopped fighting.

I stopped resisting.

I started learning how to walk this walk and knew deep within myself that I was going to make it. I didn't know how exactly but I knew there was more to life that what I had been living.

Within my own self, I slowly walked up to the edge of the mountain, tears running down my face. I spread my arms as I stepped to the edge and knew deep within my being that there would either be something there for me to stand on - or I would learn how to fly.

And I haven't looked back.

Thank you for dropping by and reading a bit of my story and the steps I took to begin to reclaim my life. Read more about me here and what this blog is about here.

Next post: Like the little engine that could...finding self empowered healing through the awareness that I could choose to change my thoughts and how this was the beginning of changing my life.

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