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.

how-does-your-brain-change-with-ptsd-683x1024.jpg

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”

What about dreams?

 – the struggle to get a grip on dreams and ideas –

A dream is a delicate, fickle thing. Only those who understand that it is alive, will  be able to touch it, to sense its presence.

As a living thing, it desires to remain where it is. Opposed to changes, there is not much of a choice, but to follow the laws of entropy. It wants to stay undisturbed, in the dark, the warm and secure place… It struggles erratically when unearthed, winds itself from your grip – my grip, at least.

There are other ripe dreams and ideas with brilliant, vibrant colors, glowing from below the surface of the subconscious waters. Acting as perfect homing beacons for motivation and desire…

But this all feels like catching smoke with bare hands. 

So? What is the nature of a dream? 

For one, it is a mirror image to its creator, not only mirroring but comforting its creator. 

A dream always has a purpose, a mission. It serves its creator, the best it can.

Broken off of intentions and phantasies, it is a shard mimicking its creator.  Besides that, it is a  fractal of imperfection and  inaccuracy, distorting the emptiness within the unknown regions of a human mind. It bears the innate inertia of its origin, the legacy of a chemicals soaked addicted brain. It is summoned into view, by a tireless, impatient heart, fueled by some kind of desperate hope.

It becomes a clouded copy, because the creator is bound to love it, to believe in it… To nurture it…

This fractal is imposed upon the usual paths the conscious thinking moves (also upon the strings, hooks, shortcuts and backdoors within), it creates regions of power – traps, basically.  Regions of desire and  fear, regions of gravity. Loops. Regions of enlightenment, if exposed and recognized. Their pull is barely recognizable, but it bends the ways of ideas.  A region revisited in a short time, easily becomes a habit.  And with short time I mean the matter of 3 to 6 weeks.

A habit… This is when the consciousness loses the game.  This resilient, contagious structure becomes a habitual thinking pattern. The dangerous bit: its invisibility and its invasiveness.

This marks a blind spot… An untrained conscious is quick with swallowing blind spots. It doesn’t even hesitate with denial about the sole fact of incorporating it… 

So what can one do? Stay focused? Wait for an accidental find? Hunt for it?  How do you hunt for something invisible?

 

Money and Media

Money and Media

Money is one sinister god I used to prayed to

Me, the kid with the broken heart and  faulty hue

Struck by the currency of freedom and power,

It’s not my  conscience, but my hands I scour

That’s me, on the day I was born, with a black halo

eager to meet my  maker,  without value or credo

In the night, I dream of  ‚never enoughs‘

I dare you, try’n grab me by my scruff

My god grants, gives, takes and demands

I refused and he took me to the  bad lands

 

I’m praying to a different god now,

That’s me, giving her my cash cow –

Me, the sinister kid with the broken briefcase

Smiling, the lens sticking into my happy fat face

promises and cash spilling out, unto the masses

This is me laughing, crawling  to a party of chances

I can’t stop the itching, watch me rehearse bigotry

Media, my goddesses, free me from human dignity


Pic: iStockphoto

flashbacks

Why is it, that suddenly everything starts to gravitate towards the edge?
Those jagged edges of the you-shaped hole chew away my reality.

I let my fingers, thoughts and heart brush over it. Just to be sure, it is there. I’m not imagining it. Not imagining you.

Sharp. I cut myself remembering you. Missing you… Returning to the same spot. Hurting again.

Sometimes it’s a cracking sound, sometimes a wet ripping… Sometimes the gut twisting silence I’m forced to listen to.

And then… What a relief! There you are! Behind my eyelids. You move. Somewhere. Somewhere far away. You stir. The perfume of your skin, your lips and that wicked happy-to-deadly smile flash back, blind me.  Freeze me. Stop me. Stop my time. That smile…

It burns.

Why is it, that your pull influences my days and nights, my every dusk and dawn?

Why can’t I sleep? Not in our bed, only cramped on the sofa or at the dining table?

The emptiness beside me rips me into waking. Drags me back into the cold and the light… Another day…

Why is it, that I dream of the touch of your fingertips? That I phantasize your movements, next to me, under the sheets… Your breathing… Why can’t it be otherwise? My life… Only without you.

Still.

Your sweet humming and singing keeps me company. In my head, your voice comments and laughs, as if amused; points out the little details you used to notice…

Why must I …

Why can’t I move on?

other day’s argument – rant from a women who understands everything

A friend of mine got himself stuck in a bad situation, between two women. I overheard an argument he had the other day. He said: “Being in love? How is that good? Like telling someone, that he/she  has cancer, but not the very bad kind.

It was like a kick in the teeth. 

That kind of despite-

I mean, I’m the first one to understand, and to emphasize with someone going through the hurt dwelling in relations between humans. …But this? I never thought of loving like this. Cancer, my ass!

Don’t get me wrong. I know love is a shapeshifter.

Sometimes it’s a huge waterfall roaring over the edge, and you can’t escape its  currents, no matter how hard you struggle. 

Sometimes it’s a burning mountain, devouring  everything in its way, sucking out the air of your lungs, boiling your eyes.  

Sometimes it’s a warm meal, waterproof shoes and a coat.

Sometimes just a “Good morning, how are you today?”.

Sometimes it’s a hand to hold, when you’re in pain…

I have tag called: LOVEISTHEPROBLEM. A quote from Aeon Flux, when asked what she knew. Even if didn’t looked like it – I’ve always admired love and lovers. I’ve always marveled to the changes love caused.

I don’t know how it’s different, from other people in love. But when I am – I start to act weirdly.

Parts of me try to be better. That positive feeling sneaking up behind me, and giving me a hug. I’m try to lose fear. Try to be the best I can be. Because the other one deserves nothing from my fear, anger and frustration. 

I try to create a free space for the significant other. A place to come to rest. A place to be true, without expectations, without fear. A place where nothing bad happens, because you  and your needs are welcomed.  The way you are. A place allowing  everything you and your partner are. Fully. Accepted. Embraced. Dealt with. Satisfied. A place without remorse, without shame.

This  is what I think of loving. 

immortal past

Far more worse than the screaming is the silence followed by it. This is the worst!

Fearsome silence. Something I´ll never forget, cause it burns itself into me. All actions stop. They simply…stop. On the inside and the outside.

Unbearable density growing into a solid atmosphere, muffling  my breathing, blurring my vision, crawling under my skin, making it frizzle. A contagious silence of terror infects my body and soul. The  smell of sulphur and smoke. Smell of blood. Hell could have opened up and breathed out, but hasn´t. Humans have done this.

Lives ended. Humans have gone, never to return.

Exhale!

Inhale!

Exhale!

My heart keeps beating. Beating desperate into the silence around me.

Battle drums… Feeling the earth move again. Battle drums. Moments bursting into motion… Louder, louder. LOUDER.

No. This is different! It´s not drums. It´s the sound of a hovering armed helicopter, with singing rotor blades, that I hear.

Ready to fire again. Ready to cut the string of time woven into me.

Ready to crash into the bridge. Ready to bring an end to my world.

One moment. The helicopters motor is gearing up. The downdraft hitting me. Knocking me over. Inhale!

Just breath!

Survive!

No matter what!

food for fire

Somewhere between now and fifteen years ago, I lost my fire.

I didn’t even notice… It is one of those things, which disappear without traces.

Fifteen years ago, I was stubborn and defiant. Resilient to the hostile impulses from outside. Resilient to everything. I clung to life and my goals, with teeth and claws. I was desperate. I showed everyone what I was capable of, when they laughed at me. It seemed, I had important goals to reach. 

But nowadays…

I’m older. And tired. The goals faded, their importance vanished. I do not cling anymore. Today exhaustion rests on my eyelids, my back. It is the dust on my shoulders, the weakness of my hands… Still I’m desperate. Silently thrusting my claws into the fabric of my dreams, ripping them apart. I sleep a lot, than I can’t sleep a bit. Something tells me, that I should be angry… 

One thing changed in those fifteen year. There is no one  left to laugh at me now… No one to compare myself too… I’m alone now. Isolated  from hostility and contempt. 

Is this why I rip myself apart? 

Is the missing other component the friction to light a spark?

Why can’t I find my own motor? Why do I need others?

Why is there no strength left in me, only the stiffness of my joints? The rigidity of my mind, the rigidity of my body. I’m slowly turning into stone without that fire.

What should I do?