Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Like it or Not, I'm back there - PTSD Phase 2 of Recovery

I got the green light. Seems I'm ready to travel where no PTSD survivor has gone before.... well, actually they have, but this is my own personal quest to seek out new life, peace, and contentment.

Yesterday, I received the news that I will be moving on to phase 2 today of treatment program for PTSD, and even before my first process group, or what most know as group therapy, I felt anxious, a little afraid, so I did some self-nurturing which is what I've been taught to do when I feel "unsafe" which I wrote about in an earlier post. Fear, by the way, is often felt in the stomach and neck as tension or tightness or even nausea. If you are able to listen to your body, it can send you valuable messages, but because of PTSD, our minds are often filled with so many thoughts and fears, we overlook the very evidence that can help us grow. So I put on some soothing music, lied down on my hospital bed with the coziest, softest blanket I own, and visualized places where I feel safe; the beach in PEI which is the photo posted on my blog, my yoga studio, or being in my cousin Mary's house, I feel so much love and warmth there. I began to feel relaxed, a slight smile began to curl in the corners of my mouth when BOOM, out of nowhere, in my mind a little girl cried, "I was a good girl, I was a sweet little girl, why couldn't you love me, Daddy?!!" and the tears began to role down my cheeks like I was eight years old again.

This is what is known as an intrusive thought. Intrusive thoughts are random thoughts related to the original trauma that arise at any point during your day. Most often, the feelings associated with the thoughts are pushed back down, so we can continue on with the work of psuedo-living, but in the safe environment of the hospital away from the stresses of life, we are encouraged to "sit with" those feelings for a time, recognize them for what they are, in this case grief and sadness, then let them go. Those feelings have lain dormant in my subconscious for over 40 years, the body never forgets, even though we think we're "over it" and unless we've actually given ourselves the time to experience the loss and pain, then being "over it" is just a lie we tell ourselves to avoid dealing with it.

So that was a preview, I suppose, of what is to come. Interestingly, we were asked to create three goals for our treatment. One of mine was to find that little girl, and let her say what she was never allowed to say, feel what she was never allowed to feel, her feelings and needs didn't matter. Another goal is to learn how my particular trauma re-enactments have had a negative impact on the relationships in my life and, hopefully, change those patterns; the final goal is to learn to control my dissociative behaviour and recognize my triggers, so I can lead a more productive life and feel good about what I accomplish as opposed to criticizing myself for what I didn't accomplish.

I always like to bring it all back to the wonders of the human mind.... this organ knows exactly what we need in every aspect of living; when we're hungry, it sends a message to the stomach, when we're tired, it sends a message to the entire body to stop and rest, and when we're in emotional pain and have not had our needs met for a very long time, and too stubborn to recognize this, I might add, it tells us by making us so sad and depressed that we either end our own lives or we doing something about it.

If you are reading this blog for the first time, if any of this sounds familiar to you, and if you've suspected that maybe you have a mental illness that needs attention, please please don't be afraid to seek help, you have much right to health and happiness as anyone else. In fact, I could say you have an obligation to take care your health in order to ensure the health and happiness of those you love. If my father had sought help, I wouldn't be writing this blog today.... that's the view from here for now.... be well everyone. :)

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