Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Healing PTSD: Taking A Break

Sometimes you just do have to step away.

Sometimes PTSD has to no longer exist, even if only for a few hours or minutes. All this healing work can be draining and your mind and emotions need to be shored up with an experience outside the realm of PTSD.

I’ve written before about the power of music and the power of the communal experience to lift us out of our own isolation and bridge the gap between ourselves and the rest of the world. I was reminded of this last night when my parents, brother and I went to the BankAtlantic Center in Coral Springs, FL, to see the Eagles LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN tour.

Let me just say, first, that this band can still rock in concert. Dressed in black suits with white Oxford shirts and black ties these guys played for three hours to a packed house. There was no opening band, only the Eagles playing everything from 1971 to today, including many of their own solo hits.

The very last song of the night was one of my personal favorites, ‘Desperado’, sung while the stage was mostly in black with no video component and a white spot on Henley. (Watch this clip from the recent NYC concert to hear the song and see the stage.)

I love this song anyway, but listening to it again and thinking of all our PTSD journeys, I think it should be one of the PTSD anthems. Doesn’t it describe our isolation, struggle and convoluted path? Doesn’t it describe how the years go by, and how we recede further and further from ourselves and those around us? Don't the final two lines offer hope for all of us who feel dissociated, detached and lost?

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She'll beat you if she's able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can't get

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom, well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day
You're losin' all your highs and lows
Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it's too late

When we love ourselves,

and let others love us –

when we accept our right to the experience of love

and the joy it can bring,

as easily as we accept our traumas –

when we come down from the PTSD

fencepost and begin the long walk

back toward ourselves and a community,

that's when we begin to heal. If we don’t

make the effort to reconnect, then

we remain in our prisons, walking this world

traumatized and alone.

(photo: Buddha’s Ghost)

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