Monday, March 8, 2010

Know and face thine enemy

Recently I was invited to join the Heal My PTSD discussion group on Facebook with Michele Rosenthal of the website Heal My PTSD.

And I have to say that I am honored to first have been invited and second to have received the warm welcome from the readers of Michele's blog and of this very valuable discussion/support group. I am amazed at what is going on there, the support and camaraderie is invaluable to those of us struggling to reclaim our lives post-trauma.

I've been reading there and other places about the nightmare of the Post Trauma Response and the struggle many of us face in our search for answers. So - I thought I would jump in this Monday morning with my own thoughts on this healing process - this journey in which we may all be walking our own paths, finding our own way, in the time that is right for each of us and our journey.

We all know and many of us have become quite familiar with the symptoms of PTSD so I'm not going to go into that part of the discussion today. If you need more information on learning to identify symptoms you may be experiencing, Michele has created the place for this kind of information on her blog here.

In the past, I avoided anything that could be a trigger...but have sincelearned that I can embrace and learn from the emotional stressors of the post trauma response - not all at once, but one step at a time, by putting one foot in front of the other.

Christine Blaire recently posted some insight about learning to listen to and respect the message given to her by her body and emotions rather than succumbing to the darkness of the depression that was trying to creep up on her. You can read more here. In this post Christine talks of the awareness that led her to discover the truth behind the depression and how she embraced it rather than avoiding it.

In her next post Christine shares how she chooses to have an attitude of being grateful for her experiences and how moving from "why" to this state of grace has freed her from the past bondage of that dark place. Read more about Radical Gratitude here.

The point that I made in my comments of Christine's post was how when we are able to begin to listen to our emotions they become the lighthouse that can lead us out of the darkness and free us from the fog of living in a chronic state of stress that occurs when we maintain avoidance over embracing our emotions as an internal guidance system that can lead us out of this heavy forest cover of the post trauma response.

For some of us who may have learned to ignore or stuff down or avoid our emotions for whatever reason, this becomes part of our journey;to learn to know what we are feeling.

We can do this by paying attention or developing an awareness of our thoughts, our behaviors and our physical responses. (Although some of us may also be at a place of learning to identify our bodies especially if we were physically violated as a part of our trauma experience).

And while I don't claim to have all the answers, I am hoping that perhaps we can open some discussion to becoming aware of the opportunity to begin toembrace rather than avoidour experiences and learn from the emotions that for many of us were not safe in the midst of a trauma experience.

This is not something that I was able to learn "in one shot". Rather, it became my process; the way I went through my day, catching a negative thought here. Identifying a trigger there. I used many tools as I walked and still walk this part of my journey as I learn more about myself, who I am choosing to be, creating the life of my choosing - my best life - each day.

Have you found some ways to learn how to recognize the enemy of ptsd symptoms in this battle? What steps can we take to no longer be victim to this nightmare and become more than a survivor?


Kyla said...

Great post~ once again, i love the way you write - I especially like how you, point out that:In the past you avoided triggers, but now can learn and embrace from it, i like that thought.
I also took the time to check out, those articles by,christine. Great, post's and i was happy to be able to read what she said as well. i will be, reading her other posts.
I also like how you say, we can learn how to listin to our emotion's- that is, something i'm working on. thank you for your lovely post's there inspiring :)

Susan said...

Thank you Kyla for your comments! I'm glad that you found Christines blog...she is a wonderful writer and offers much to anyone traveling this path of healing!

It is almost to simple but it's true; that if we can begin to let go of the pain we will free ourselves to embrace the healing.


Kyla said...

Your welcome :)
This is true, we do need to let go of the pain, to be able to heal- it does seem easier said, than done but it's worth the journey to re-discover yourself and to work on letting go of thing's and move fwd.

Susan said...

I have a firm belief, Kyla that anyone and everyone can learn to go through the healing process - the thing to remember is that it's a process and to be patient with ourselves as we go.

Have a wonderful weekend Kyla!