Although the symptoms may be the same, everybody who fights PTSD fights a completely different enemy. I should stop saying that, but I still feel like I need to make it clear every time. Why? Because of my own experiences.
So I always write/talk about what works for me, because I have no clue about what other people are fighting. I ain’t only fighting traumas that came from the outside, but also myself. I’ve been my worst enemy for decades. I learned to hate myself, I was never good enough.
Since last November I’ve been lucky to have therapists that really care about me. They treat me as a whole, including my physical, mental, and emotional health, while taking social factors into consideration. Having a holistic approach is what helps me improve every day. Instead of just being prescribed painkillers to mask the pain, we now work with the whole picture. It ain’t easy.
Working with the whole picture means working with a lot of different things at the same time. It’s now been eleven months with EMDR therapy, cognitive and meta-cognitive therapy, group therapy, exposure therapy, physiotherapy, meditation, nature, art and thinking, lots of thinking. I haven’t just given in and trusted blindly on all therapies, I need to be active in the process. I need my mind to be aware of what’s happening. I need to think for myself. I need to understand. I need to know. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to process the reasons why I ended up developing chronic pain. If I want to end with the old pattern that putted me into survival modus, I then need to end with the band aid solutions. Band aids are not the solution for the deepest wounds. And suturing wounds without cleaning them before, has proven me to be a bad idea.
But because of my PTSD, I wasn’t aware of the wounds’ depth. PTSD tricked me into believing that I was the one taking decisions. And still tries to choose for me. PTSD messes up, spoils, wrecks, ruins. PTSD made me believe that my courage was fear, and my fear courage. All the bravest decisions I’ve taken in my life felt like defeats.
So thinking and analysing is really important for me, otherwise I would be surrendering to PTSD again. Believing that denying and/or avoidance is the best way to go forwards ain’t good for me but for my PTSD. I know that it’s just a band aid. I need something deeper. PTSD made me believe that I took the right choices in order to have an easy life, but for every step forward I took I went three backwards.
Fortunately I’m in good contact with my subconscious, this is one of the many aspects that I’m learning about myself. So while my PTSD was misleading me, my real me has been pushing me aside towards what I really want. My subconscious has taken me far. It was my subconscious that told me not to just let go when I started my therapy. Where other see overthinking, I see self-development. I’ve had hundreds of thoughts juggling in my mind for decades and I know very well what overthinking is for me. But this is something for another post.
For me there’s a huge difference between letting go and going forward. As there’s a huge difference between letting go and acceptance. Letting go empowers my PTSD, lets my PTSD choose for me. While being aware of the reasons, empowers me and lets me take the choices I really want to take. It helps me see the bigger picture. It helps me be a better person. It helps me be me. In order to accept, I cannot let go. Accepting may be very painful, but letting go has proven me to be even more painful in the long run. Letting go is like not learning from the experiences. Letting go is giving up and starting from the beginning again, allowing my PTSD choose the same paths when finding crossroads. Hitting the same wall over and over again. Accepting means confronting what it is, no matter how painful.
For me, seeing the whole picture means being able to see myself from outside. Being able to dig through my memories without denying. Being able to see both the real me and the constructed me. Being able to see the circumstantial me and the intentional me. It ain’t an easy thing to do, but it’s a must. Cognitive and meta-cognitive therapy helps me in this arduous task. Meditation is also a great tool, but for me it was necessary to go back to a time before meditation entered my life.
Meditation worked as a band aid because there were deeper wounds I was denying and repressing. I’m only be able to calm myself through meditation if I’m aware of both my real me and my constructed me. There’s is no present without past. I can’t experience the present without accepting my past. For me both past and future are the now. Being aware of the now means being able to see the big picture. I ain’t able to to explore my inner dimensions if I don’t see the big picture. For a long time, meditation triggered my anxiety. I even had panic attacks after or while meditating. That was because I hadn’t accepted my past, I wasn’t able to dig through my painful experiences without repressing them. By repressing those experiences I builded up a wall around my real me. I wasn’t able to be fully aware of the now because my childhood me was trying to get my attention. For me awareness doesn’t mean building up a bubble in which neither past or present aren’t allowed. For me awareness means seeing the whole picture. I cannot experience the now without experiencing the past and the future. My perception of time changed dramatically after my first NDE, but that is something for another post.
So seeing the whole picture is crucial for me, a holistic approach is a must for my health improvement. No more band aids for the deepest wounds.