My project is to document how I transform my PTSD into something useful for me. It ain’t easy at all, but it is possible. Some may think that giving space to my darkest experiences is a bad idea, that this will backfire me. Maybe. But one thing’s for sure, not giving proper space to those experiences have done me more harm than good. This is my journey from survival to thriving. And that I want to precise, I ain’t talking about my life when I say journey. I don’t see life as a journey, it is that transformation what is a journey for me. I want to go from surviving to thriving. Although that is only a small part of who I am, a small part of my life, it has been the most conditioning one. I don’t want to look back and think that I’ve wasted my time, I want to make something useful and meaningful out of it. I hope that by showing that intimate part of me I can inspire others into their own journeys.
I’ve been told that life is a journey, with different stages. I remember my childhood as a stage when a lot of different individuals were forced to learn the same at the same tempo and without questioning. Next stage was supposed to give me a more specific kind of knowledge so I could freely choose what I wanted to be as an adult. There was no freedom in that, and I was supposed to listen to recommendations about what professions had more future. As if I was stupid and unable to realise that hundreds of thousands youngsters were given the exactly same recommendations. But hey, I was too young to understand. I had only begun my journey as they called it. I then was in the stage were I had to start thinking about university, but that for me was also a period when I could feel death’s breath in my neck. So no, university was absolutely nothing for me. I mean, I was sure I was about to die and tall of a sudden I had to go back to the system as if nothing had happened. No, I couldn’t imagine myself as a grown up. Instead I started working and studying what I found interesting. But all of a sudden I was in the next stage of what some call journey, I was supposed to work even harder and try to get higher positions in the same industry until retirement. That was what we were encouraged to do by the system. But that system was already falling down. So our reality was completely different from what we were told. I’ve heard lots of times that it’s because I didn’t go to university and that kind of stupidities. My generation was told so many lies and deceived so many times that it kind of became the standard, lie and deceive if you want to have a worthy life. Work, save money retire and then enjoy life. What kind of bullshit is that? That is the life journey I was depicted.
So no, I don’t see life as a journey. It may be meaningful for others to think about life like a journey, even having inspirational quotes reminding them how beautiful the journey is so it is easier to go on. Not for me. As you already know, music has been a part of me for my whole life. And that is how I see life, like music. The music I enjoy playing is improv music, and that is because I am free to choose how I want to play, the tempos, dynamics, length… I’ve tried to keep that as personal as I can because I always felt pressed to be like the system wants me to be, and music has always been a way for the real me to express my feelings. That is why I’m a self-taught musician. I have never been able to fully give myself to the system. I feel like I’ve always been on a tight rope, trying to find a balance between who I am and who the system wants me to be. Trying not to fall into the abyss. But I did.
So no, life ain’t a journey for me, it’s music. And I want to choose how to play it. I know that I cannot be that person the system expects me to be. That system has failed me and made me think that it was my fault.
So this is why I need to be able to see and embrace all my negative experiences, my journey is from surviving to thriving. So I need to watch myself and the constructed me, learn to differentiate them. Because it is then that I can cope with lots of my PTSD symptoms. Trying to only focus on the good experiences hasn’t worked for me before, so why should it now?
I’ve been having more anxiety and panic attacks the last weeks. It is obviously because I’m exposing myself a lot more than what I though I could. But I’m also getting better coping with my anxiety, much better. I ain’t yet comfortable in public spaces. But I’ve been able to cope with my anxiety without taking pills for that. My episodes are shorter and I’m able to control them much better than before. Being surrounded by nature is of course the best medicine for me, but I can’t be outdoors all the time. So differentiating my real me from the system constructed me helps a lot. I can see how the constructed me is the one causing me anxiety by oppressing the real me. It ain’t an easy thing to do, and those who suffer anxiety and/or panic attacks know very well how little rational they can be. So it requires a lot of mental energy, it’s a hard process of seeking anchor points to my real me so I don’t give up and let the constructed me be triggered.
This is why embracing absolute every experience of my life is so important to me. Letting go and forgetting did not work for me. It only empowered my fearful constructed me and my PTSD. My constructed me is still very present, but my real me is getting better in taking the reins.