Monday, March 1, 2010

You don't have to be Einstien - knowledge is EMpowerMENT!


Ok, well...if you have been around for more than a minute you probably know how I feel about using "meds" and how they applied to my journey. If not, you can check out this post and then listen to my story on Blog Talk Radio with Michele Rosenthal of Heal My Ptsd fame.

And maybe you've popped in and taken a look at my Resources page where I posted this:

Please do not take any information from this web site as gospel or instruction. This blog and these resources are meant to be fuel that might encourage you to think, ask questions, find your own answers and hopefully support you as you walk your path and create your own best life which is in the simplest terms - the life you choose for yourself each day.

The point I want to make is that my wish and my hope is that the things I post here become fuel for your own journey; another tool and resource for you to draw upon as you take charge of and reclaim your own personal power over the pain of the past.

You see - as long as I believed that to heal from the past was as complicated and mysterious as it seems to have been made out to be, I was dependent on others to spoon feed me my answers thus effectively reinforcing that false logic that I had no power within myself to affect change.

I had that faux sense of helplessness that there was nothing I could do to make my life any different. I became prisoner to the nightmares, the anxieties, the panic, the avoidance, depression...and so on.

I became dependent on my doctors, counselors and therapists to provide me with a weekly "fix" so that I could "survive" until my next appointment.

I was convinced that in time, a pill would be found that would "fix" me.

In my case, this whole scenario was complicated (watch...this is important) by the issues of child abuse and neglect. Thus "Complex PTSD" which is now beginning to be recognized as a valid issue in the field of mental health. Although once again - having this validated is not the same as offering some concrete solutions to help me find my way. Another term I have heard recently used in the context of survivors of long term child abuse issues is "Developmental Trauma Response". (more on this another day...)

The point I am getting to is this: our trauma experiences are all different. There is no "worse than" or "better than". There is different.

There is no measurement or comparison of whose trauma is "worse". If you were shot in Iraq - does that make your trauma worse than of the man or woman who was in a violent car accident, the one who survived a hurricane, or the one who was violated by a family member or a stranger?

Nada.

And while there is a time, a place and a purpose to revisit and "process" through the emotions that were connected with our trauma - if that is what we find ourselves doing most of the time we are going to struggle with living in the now.

It's as if we have become addicted to living and reliving the nightmare and cant get out of it.

We dwell on our "symptoms" as though we have no control over them instead of using them as an indicator that it is time to apply a new method of coping.

And when we are unaware of all of our options - this misnomer may be true.

Without knowledge we cannot have awareness. Without awareness we cannot have insight. Without insight we cannot make the choice to initiate change.

For 15 years I believed in Santa Claus. I believed that it was impossible to heal trauma. I believed that if I just stuck with it, that magic pill would be found that would "fix" me, that my therapist was right and I was wrong. I mean really...if "it" wasn't working it had to be me, right? I believed that I was powerless.

But I did not have enough information to choose differently.

You see, I have this theory that if those who are suffering from the various issues that are today medicated and managed are given information to be able to identify where they are in their healing journey and where they want to be, the kind of life they want to live - if we are given the opportunity to learn about how this healing process works, the tools to use and a chance to develop their skills in using them - I have a firm belief that we will begin to empower ourselves and learn to heal.

So - regardless of where you are at in your journey, trust that you are in exactly the right place today AND that you can begin to use the daily triggers and related symptoms to create your own unique map to begin to mark your own journey out of the darkness and exit that perpetual state of helplessness.

Begin to believe - in you.

5 comments:

Mike Hinsley said...

Someone this weekend asked me whether making the symptoms of PTSD disappear would be a good idea.

I thought that masking the problem doesn't help it to be solved. That the symptoms we have tell us what needs to be done.

Even as I wrote it I knew that sometimes I just wanted to all go away even if I knew that wasn't helpful.

But these days most of the time I see the remaining symptoms that I have from time to time as educational.

Susan said...

Make the symptoms disappear? Boy, that would be something!

I agree; masking and avoiding hasn't worked real well for me either.

It has helped me tremendously to view the "symptoms" as learning opportunities like you have.

But boy - it is the hardest work I have ever done.

Mike Hinsley said...

Susan:

Hard work yes. But by god the rest of life seems easy in comparison!

Susan said...

Touche' and a very good point. If I can do this....then I can do anything!

Yes!

Kyla said...

Great post yet again!
thanks for sharing your thought's on this