Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bad News for PTSDers

Oh, yes, very bad news indeed. I’ve been conducting a rather informal poll in all of the PTSD forums and groups in which I participate and with all of the practitioners with whom I'm friends, and hands down, from those others who have achieved healing (because it is possible), the answers are all coming back with the unfortunate fact that regardless of the various therapeutic components, HEALING BEGINS WITH US. It is not bestowed upon us and it is not doled out to the most deserving souls. Healing is won, fought, struggled for, demanded, coaxed, wooed, summoned, begged, prayed and hoped for – and then rained down upon those who want it most.

It begs the question this morning, How badly do you want it?? For a long time I would have said that I did (and I sort of, halfheatedly, would have meant it), but it wasn’t true. I didn’t really feel a burning desire for wellness. I wanted relief from the pain, but I didn’t really care if I was PTSD-free. Largely this was because I didn’t even know I had PTSD. And also, because in the state of my mind at that time, I really didn’t believe I could feel completely better.

But what I’m discovering from all of these other sources is that I’m not so unique (as much as my ego hates to admit this) – none of us are. I am not the only one who is healed, and I am not the only one who believes healing must have a source within. The cat’s out of the bag, my friends. There are other PTSD soldiers who have come off the battlefield knowing it’s their own strength that got them there.

So there’s the secret, underpublicized fact about healing. You can’t solely purchase it through therapy or medication. We can talk about our traumas forever. We can wail about the unfairness of it all. We can demand validation, remuneration, and exaltation for our suffering. We can cry for someone to do something to deliver us from all this pain (and for a time we should, we absolutely should!!). We can pop a mixed cocktail of pills, but in the end no one and no thing can provide the final relief if we don’t do something first. Before there can be the ultimate healing, we must develop desire. A burning desire to be well is the first step toward finding freedom. Desire is our battered soul striving toward the light of a joyful day. It is the powerful strength that fuels our progress toward the ultimate PTSD liberation.

Do you feel that desire? Today you must consider this question.

Sit very still. Listen for that small voice that says, I do! If you don’t hear it, sit still longer. Listen harder. Speak to it and don’t move until it answers. Ask yourself, Do I like the way I feel? If there is no answer, or if the answer is (gasp!), Yes… then go back and read my October 27 post, ‘Are You Ready to Let Go of Your Trauma/PTSD Identity?’

Consider whether or not you feel that burning desire to be well. If you do, decide what you can do to give it breath. What action can you take to honor, develop, support and entertain it?

If you don’t feel that desire, then spend a long time taking a good look at yourself in the mirror and demanding to know why it is that you do not want to be well, healthy, joyful, happy and free. What is PTSD giving you that you don’t want to let go? How are you benefitting from it? How good is it making your life? How much is it enhancing your experience on earth?

If you can really come up with some good answers to this - ones that have true, substantial merit - please email me! I would love to hear them.

If you cannot honestly say that PTSD is making your life so much better than it could be without it, then you need to take stock and decide: Am I going to live this way forever? Am I going to let the trauma win? Am I going to remain a prisoner of experience? Or am I a hero? Am I, by myself and/or with the help of others, going to pull myself up out of this rotten, dark hole and get out into the light? Am I going to wallow in this post-trauma trauma forever, or can I today begin to define a new way of living? What one thing can I do today toward a new, PTSD-free self?

In order to heal we must ACT. Thought follows behavior; emotion follows thought. We must act in a way that fosters the right thoughts to foster more positive emotions to foster courage that fosters healing. It’s a simple equation. And it’s not that tough to do. I do it through the pursuit of joy, which I find in dance (See the posts labeled ‘Dance’.), but there are other ways. Find your way.

What can you do today? What one action can you take to honor and develop, support and maintain your desire to be healed, your wish to escape PTSD?

Go do it! And report back, you soldiers of freedom!

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