Monday, January 19, 2009

PTSD Healing Resolution #1: Are You Committed?

Mark Twain said, "Courage is resistance to and mastery of fear – not the absence of it."

How are you feeling these days? Are you afraid? Well, of course you are, at least a little. You’re about to radically change your life – for the better! Even if we’re looking at a bright new future there’s always that little twinge of the unknown, that small flip of doubt that we’re safe in what we know and unsure of what we don’t know and maybe things are better that way. (Really? Are you really still thinking that? Do you truly want to spend the rest of your life mired in PTSD muck?? I didn’t think so.)

In order to move forward we have to take the strength of our healing intention and build it into reality. This takes commitment, which is the theme of the BRIDGE THE GAP posts this week.

First, let’s assess the level of your commitment. The way I see it there are four categories of commitment:

False commitment: This is the first phase in which we think about what needs to be done and we are overwhelmed. We say, "Yes, I want to heal!", but what we really mean is, "Yes, that’s a nice idea!" We don’t actually intend to do the necessary work.

Half-hearted commitment: A better phase on the commitment continuum, to be sure, but not a lot gets done here. We make the appointments, we show up for the therapies, but all along we’re saying to everyone, "Heal me!" We don’t take the responsibility on ourselves.

Whole-hearted commitment: Now we’re moving up on the commitment food chain! We’re doing the research to find the right therapy, therapist, group, and program. We’re studying up on what’s happening to us PTSD-wise so that we understand where the problems germinate and what affects them. We're taking control instead of constantly being controlled. Whoopee!

True commitment: Hallelujah! At this level we're devoting our deepest selves to the healing process. We are saying, "I want to be healed!" In addition to understanding the value of participating in the work that’s done without, we’re also deeply engaged in the work that’s done within and we're doing it every day.

Where do you fall in the commitment continuum? Take some time today to think about how deeply your desire to be well goes. What will you do to achieve it? Will you chase down that new therapist? Will you read one more book about trauma and PTSD and how to heal? Will you totally dismantle your PTSD self and reconstruct a new and improved, post-trauma identity that allows you to get on with living the life you were meant to be living?

Be honest in your appraisal of which commitment phase you’re in. And then, make a list of what things you will have to do to move to the next phase. Don’t try to leapfrog phases. The best healing comes organically when we progress through a series of moves that build on each other. Trauma severed us from a logical progression of change; healing is built one natural piece at a time so that the change becomes who we are, not a splintered effect of who we could be.

(photo: Koog Family)

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