PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend

PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend

The last three months were a challenge to me. And it doesn’t look like it’ll stop soon.

Old wounds ripped up, old pain butted its head and I tried my best to welcome it like an old, long lost friend… It’s an understatement, if I’d say that it’s easy.

I had some years in mindful and buddhist training; so I observe. I learn, about me, my situation, my hidden puppet strings, the booby traps I set for myself, and how others are capable of manipulating me.

My past isn’t pretty. I’ll leave it at that. But I’ll never move forward, if I back down.

My psychological strength isn’t what it used to be too, I guess there aren’t any reserves left. I jump at the smallest, unexpected noise. I cry at the news (which is very unusual for me- been called “Iceberg” before) and stopped watching TV and read the newspapers. I do the same with pictures of disasters, personal and global… My emotions and feelings overwhelm me, and I seize to function.

The part of acknowledging it, is the respect, the knowledge and the intro-/retrospection I need to practice. Mindfulness, first of all. The other part of the equation is the realization how much it changed me, my personality.

Drop by drop, it hollowed me out.

So here you go, for all who need this (fellow writers, you can use this for character development):

Symptoms of PTSD

There are six types of PTSD symptoms:

  • 1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms):  Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. 
      • You may have nightmares and sleeping problems.
      • You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback. -> COPING WITH FLASHBACKS
      • You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.
      • You may re-experience the bodily symptoms, chronic pain or have intruding thoughts. 
  • 2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event:  You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event.You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event; avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous;  avoid situations, that resemble the traumatic one. You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.
  • 3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelingsThe way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the following:
      • You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people (society in general) and may stay away from relationships.
      • You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
      • You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
  • 4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal): You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal. For example:
    • You may have trouble concentrating.
    • You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
    • You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room. Security and the need for control gain importance.
  • 5. Feeling of distance and numbness (Depersonalization, Derealization):  You may feel a certain kind of emotional numbness, or being on “auto-pilot”. Typically, people talk about watching themselves remotely, doing something, not being able to intervene.
    •  You might not be able to connect with your friends and family. You might have trouble with finding your place in your life.
    • You may feel stuck in a perpetual  loop of fear and sadness.
    • You may feel that you only function. You’re on auto-pilot.
    • You may experience a distorted sense of shame and guilt.
    • Your hobbies become a nuisance. You might have a severely reduced interest in pre-traumatic activities.
  • 6. Alteration of  memory, mood and concentration, depression: feeling of fear, agitation, shame, guilt, devastation, feeling of meaninglessness. You may feel irritable for no reason at all. You may develop a deep feeling of mistrust, up to paranoia. 

Following trauma, it is normal to experience the range of symptoms typical of PTSD. However, when these symptoms persist longer than 3 months, they are considered part of the syndrome of posttraumatic stress disorder.

In some cases, however, symptoms may take a long time to appear. Delayed PTSD is often typical in cases of childhood sexual or physical abuse and trauma. Symptoms can be hidden by emotional constriction or dissociation and then suddenly appear following a major life event, stressor, or an accumulation of stressors with time that challenge the person’s defenses.

Risk factors for PTSD include lack of social support, lack of public acknowledgment or validation of what happened, vulnerability from previous trauma, interpersonal violation (especially by trusted others), coping by avoiding — including avoiding feeling or showing feelings (seeing feelings as a weakness), actual or symbolic loss — of previously held beliefs, illusions, relationships, innocence, identity, honor, pride.

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If you recognized yourself in the symptoms, what’s next?

Seek help! Go to your family doctor, or a specialist. Psychotherapy is most important! This is a treatable condition.

Don’t wait for over two decades, like I did. PTSD changes you, it changed me. I’m a different person now, and I only resemble myself rudimentary. I’m not the best version of myself anymore. Maybe I never was… 

  • build up resilience 
  • seek a healthy relation to danger and security
  • build up self esteem
  • find new meaning and purpose in your life
  • if necessary, take prescribed medication (it’s only for some months, not forever)

 

Something interesting I just found: COMPLEX PTSD

Below the “Continue Reading Tag” is an article about the cumulative effect of traumata. Continue reading “PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend”

Electric Shinigami (2)

Electric Shinigami (2)

Part 1: Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo


PART 2

INTERCEPTOR

This April evening darkness came early. It was hardly past 5 pm and Newport City didn’t stand a chance, engulfed by a tidal wave of flickering electric light, mist and a gentle rain.

The big ads on the skyscrapers flared to life, bathing the windows in neon blue, bright green and crimson. The street lights flashed, blinked and faded away, only to restart in less than half a minute.

Oz moved through his empty apartment without making light. Not that he would have needed light ever again… His new prosthetic eyes automatically switched to night vision, showing him his empty apartment as shabby as it felt to him now. Continue reading “Electric Shinigami (2)”

The Greater Good Protocol

The Greater Good Protocol

Part 1 – Safe Atmosphere

part 2 – I’m that kind of guy


 

"Safe atmosphere..."

The safe sign and the notification flash on the screen shield, blink and then fade away. The pressure sensors in the seats activate the engine. Gently purring, the rover comes to life, instruments flare up on the dashboard and project unto windshield. The underground magnetic guidance system pings back on it’s navigation, showing their position on the southern hemisphere of the Moon.

“Great booty, innit?” Terry nudges Larry’s elbow, as they take their helmets off.  Larry, Terry’s twin brother, is paler than usual. His grey eyes scan the inside of the cabin. No Chinese or Cyrillic characters, he sighs with relief. Blue arrows project unto the screen, showing the routes to the nearest landmarks. Tycho Crater is eighteen kilometers away. Surveyor Tycho City is six point seven, and Surveyor Seven fourteen kilometers north-to-northeast. “Lots of bucks.” Terry pats and kisses the console affectionately. He pulls his thin lips into a satisfied grin and straps into his seat. In the knowledge of a job well done, he holds out his palm, and awaits the high-five.

Continue reading “The Greater Good Protocol”

good advice

It’s no fun, being dragged behind a car at breakneck speed.

Just in case you were wondering, or planning on doing it… DON’T!

Half of the time you try to dodge stones and sharp rocks, and you try not to get too close to the tires of the following car, for obvious reasons. The other half, you try not to swallow too much dirt and fumes, so you won’t get dizzy. You have no time to enjoy the view. Besides, it’s most likely, that some moon tanned idiots scream profanities at you; all seven of them at once. This makes it even harder not to damage anything vitally important, like head, neck, spine, hands, or eyes. God of skull integrity, stay with me!

Some of those volume bloated harsh statements about your family and your origin are pure fiction and wishful thinking. Their promises of where which of their and your body parts will go, is mildly off-putting and fly off of the politeness chart. The newly imprinted courtesy protocol in your neural language hub does its best to bleep the sense out of words lodging themselves into your auditory canal. Thank you, universal translator. Well done, courtesy protocol.

So, how did I get myself tied up and dragged behind a car, you ask? Not on purpose. I’m not that crazy, despite the gossip – I swear. It chalks up to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m the odd one out, not fast enough to hide in the nooks and crannies of my gallery, down in sub-level five.

It’s questioning from the lunatics’ point of view. It’s a full grown lynch mob, if you ask me. But no one ever does.

the lion roars (2)

the lion roars (2)

PART 1 – LIQUID PEACE


PART 2

PATIENT PAPER 

 

The police station was accommodated in an old building, a school from the 19th century.

It took me three hours to get anywhere near Benny.

They had me fill out seven forms, both sides, all identical. The policeman in charge ripped two forms apart, and I had to start again. “Hand slipped.” His comment slapped my ears. This was nothing but mile high harassment. I knew it. The police man knew it, and I tried not to get too angry.

Then they had me write down what happened from the phone call on, till now.

Time delaying tactics. Maybe they searched and bugged my apartment right about now. They must have turned Benny’s upside down already.

 I tried to remember, if there was anything suspicious in my flat, something that could get me in jail.

Nothing to hide…

No political literature, beside what was permitted and encouraged. Some family photos, but I’m the only one left alive, so no danger on that end. No newspapers or magazines, no radio – lucky me. Only cigarettes, coffee and booze and dirty laundry.

Continue reading “the lion roars (2)”

tiger, burning… (3)

tiger, burning… (3)
Part 1 - The Cold Mountain

Part 2- Tea with Jade and Tiger

PART 3

MONKEY ON THE ROAD

The silhouette of San Chou gleams between the three green hills of the southern part of the Yellow River. Like a hungry locust reaches a rice paddy, I reach San Chou, five days after Jade, Tiger and I part at my father’s house. My father is Zhang Dee Yang, the most honored governor of Li Jiang. His high hopes are resting on my shoulders. Jade and Tiger, his friends come along to help me complete my mission.

Continue reading “tiger, burning… (3)”

med bay snippets #2

The soft purring of the monitoring alarm on my watch wakes me, by vibrating. I’m up…

I tell the watch and it recognizes my voice. The command kills the alarm.

Sleeping at the med bay is seldom a good idea, and sleeping at a working station – uh, table – is downright irresponsible. I rub my face into some kind of wakefulness and wish I could rub my back into a painless state. Continue reading “med bay snippets #2”