But I need someone to help me sleep. [i] I don’t know why I chose this as the title but this is what spoke to me. You see I can bleed or hurt as well as anyone I know. But it is that quiet of sleep, that place of peace inside of me, that I can’t find on my own all the time when those traumas are revisited by something that happens in the present.
This is what PTSD is for me. You can throw me into the trauma and I can survive because then the adrenaline of “fight or flight,” is triggered. But it’s afterwards when I’m there all alone that the disorder takes place. It’s so easy for me to be able to articulate it in reference to the abuse that I received. A couple of friends of mine said the things below to me this morning in e-mails.
My mind kept repeating what my dad used to say..”don’t let me knock you into next week.”
When I read those e-mails it was familiar territory for me. I was talking with my brother a couple weeks ago and we were talking about it the language that was used to intimidate us or to get across whatever other motivation my father had in saying those words. Because when I was growing up it was totally appropriate to see displays of physical violence against boys.
I have a friend whose nephew just came back from the war. She was talking about how he was struggling with those things that trigger him. What I’m starting to think is that not all triggers for people with PTSD in the military started in the war. Maybe they just found something that they could focus that energy on as far as creating their emotional problems.
What the leprechaun and I talk about quite a bit is the angst, anxiety, and fear that permeates the culture. I was sitting with the Fanatic yesterday outside Peets and I was doing my anecdotal sociological/psychological field work. Watching people as they walk by I noticed that virtually no one smiles, almost no one looks at you, and if they do look at you it’s usually a furtive, minimal eye contact look.
So maybe it is that as a culture we suffer from PTSD. Maybe the trauma isn’t as “great” as some of us have suffered through. But isn’t any fear of violence a traumatic experience?
I was doing a lot of reading the other day and came across an article where some PhD’s were saying that putting the person back in front of the events that created the trauma was helpful. I remember doing gestalt therapy when I first got sober. It was helpful because I was able to talk to someone who at the time scared the heck out of me. If you’re interested I left the quote that caught my attention and the link to the article.[ii]
I think there is something to be said for this methodology of assisting people to get through the pain of the trauma within hopefully doesn’t allow the fear to dominate their life anymore.
Oh, by the way, those two quotes of threatened violence I put in there earlier, those were both directed at two women friends of mine when they were little girls. If fathers will threaten their daughters with physical violence or death, no wonder were all walking around in shock and PTSD.
[i] Counting Crows. Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby [ii]”prolonged exposure therapy (PE), in which patients approach — in both imaginary and real-life settings — situations, places, and people they have been avoiding.”The article’s link, not the journal report ‘s link is, http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/04/15/effective-therapies-for-ptsd-underutilized/53764.html
It is better to seek forgiveness than it is permission.