Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Healing PTSD: How Self-respect Affects Healing

I get a lot of mail from PTSDers who refer to themselves as ‘broken’, and who claim that for them ‘it’s not possible to heal’. But check out the poll I’ve got going on the sidebar: So far, 73% of voters do believe it’s possible to heal PTSD, 13% aren’t sure but hope it’s possible, and another 6% remain dubious – which is not entirely pessimistic, which is good. (Where do you stand? Add your vote to the poll!)

For the 25 years I suffered before I received my PTSD diagnosis I, too, felt damaged and off kilter in some irreconcilable way. But then I was told what was wrong with me, and knowledge is power. With a name to my condition it became not me, but a thing in and of itself. I am not PTSD; I am experiencing PTSD. These are two totally different things!

With PTSD as a separate entity it is something I choose to allow or disallow in my life. PTSD isn’t an incurable disease (and let me remind you that people cure mental and physical ailments through the power of their mind all the time, so why can’t we choose to heal this ailment with – that’s right: the power of our mind?). PTSD begins as a reactionary instinct to trauma, but it continues because we believe in it, and because then we believe we have no other choice. But the more we allow PTSD to continue, the more it builds upon itself as this Mel Schwarz Power of the Mind video explains.

But we do have a choice. If we use our internal resources in conjunction with our external supports we can emerge from this crazy PTSD labyrinth. We can’t do this, however, if we don’t value ourselves enough to believe we deserve to be well.

There’s one little issue we should probably examine while you work on the idea of focusing your healing intention and that is: Self-respect. Do you think you deserve to be PTSD-free?

These extracts from Wayne Dyer’s THE POWER OF INTENTION will give you some things to mull under the heading, How self-respect affects healing:

1 - “If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of fulfilling your intentions…. Then you’re creating an obstacle that will inhibit the flow of creative energy into your… life.”

2 - “If your thoughts reflect a pessimistic view of the world, then that’s actually how you feel about yourself. If your thoughts reflect an optimistic view of the world, then that’s how your feel about your life. Whatever attitude you have about the world in general is a good indicator of the respect you have for your abilities to intend into this world what you desire.”

3 - “… without high esteem for yourself, you shut down the entire process of intention.”

4 - “… your entire world view is based on how much respect you have for yourself.”

Today, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I believe I’m worthy of being PTSD-free?

Do I believe I deserve to live a joyful, productive, fulfilling life?

Do I believe I ought to have peace of mind?

Do I believe I am valuable enough to not live haunted by the past?

Do I believe my happiness, contentment, success and good fortune is as well earned as everyone else?

If the answers to any of these questions are “No,” then you have some work to do. Why don’t you believe these things? Why is your self-respect at such a low level? How we’re raised can do this. What we experience can do this. Trauma, too, can strip us of all belief in our own deservedness. In fact, in a perverse way trauma can make us believe we deserve the bad instead of the good. If this is happening to you, you need to address it – quickly! Start thinking about how your self-respect interacts with your healing. We'll explore this idea together in a future post.

In the meantime, if you have suggestions for how people can improve their self-respect, leave a comment. How would you encourage others to heal this aspect of their journey?

(photo: Loulair Harton)

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

Hi Michelle,

I love your posts, you have wonderful insight. I have not forgotten about the article. I have excuses, lol.

I will try for next week. Keep doing what you are doing, you make a difference :)