I may live in a prison now, but at least I know my way around it.”  That is what many of us who have “psychological health*” issues live with. The world doesnt understand “it” and I dont expect them to anymore. The isolation and stigmatization that goes along with that makes it so society doesnt have to be aware of the issues that they may face.
Take PTSD. At the AA meeting this morning, it was brought up that many of us suffer from PTSD.
I was mesmerized by a share by a man we will call White. His emotional affect was powerful and it had a tremendous affect on me. White recalled that he had come home from Vietnam and “put it away,” in reference to what he experienced over there, for about 10 years.
He then shared what happened to him after that ten year period. How he sought out help for the emotions he was facing atthe time. He intimated that he thought he was over it after that 10 year period as he thought he had “worked through it.” Then he shared that he was feeling those feelings again over 43 years after he was in Vietnam and that he was struggling with it as much today as then! He shared that he had just recently retired and that he “didnt have enough to do to keep it down any more.”
He was saying that he was okay with it before now, then admitted that he hasnt been good with it his whole life. I connected to him in a way I didnt connect to anyone else this morning. I spoke with him afterwords and told him how glad I was that he was able to get it out and how much it helped me.
“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” It is heartwarming to hear a man who is probably 65 years old say how much he struggles with the pain that he has kept inside of himself all of these years. It affected me when he talked about his struggles. It is true that we heal better when we are not alone.
“Loving someone but not trusting them is a spiritual emergency.” Another man at the meeting was talking about how he and his wife of over 25 years still struggle with each other and accuse each other of the worst transgressions that they could accuse each other of. What I have learned is that when that pain of the events that cause my PTSD is triggered, I want to re-act in rage and push those who are pushing my buttons away from me. It sounded to me like this man’s wife suffered from it.
Mind you, there are many instances where it is appropriate to extricate myself from the situation, but to act with the rage and hostility that I can act with at times is not appropriate to the events of today. The one who gets it the most is the person who I am closest with. But I am learning that it is what we are doing as a culture. There is an under current of anger and fear that predominates society. It is not just us alcoholics or people with depression that are experiencing it.
It is wearing at our moral and psychological fiber.
“Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.” That has always been my problem. I have not trusted those of today to share my pain of the past, and it affects my relationships with them. Seeing the world through those “deep seated,….emotional conflicts,” leaves me many times alone and isolated.
Sharing them with those who care helps alleviate the burden, but does not take it away. I pray Ggod can.
All quotes by S. Kelley Harrell except  Nicole Deese All for Anna. *I wont call them mental health issues because much of my” issues” have little to with my ability to think.
123 RV. Forgiveness is an inside job, Permission isnt.