Wednesday, March 4, 2009

PTSD Healing: Let Your Voice Be Heard


OK, so you read Monday’s post on reaching out and you thought, "Hell, no! I’m not ready to be a Chatty Cathy."

That’s cool. No need to rush into healing head first. You can sidle around the idea; circle it like a puppy before he chooses to lie down on a big fluffy pillow.

For now, reaching out can actually be done in private in the comfort of your own home. (This is just in the beginning – don’t get too comfortable with the fact that you can always reach out without personally interacting!)

The first step toward reaching out does not have to be a big one. Often I write and speak about the proactive things we need to do to heal. However, sometimes reaching out means sitting still and doing nothing at all but listening to the voices around us. In order to fully reach out and engage in healing and the world outside PTSD – which is where you eventually want to end up feeling comfortable and functional – it helps to hear that others are thinking the way you do, are as confused, troubled and stumped as you are, and are working as hard at figuring it all out, too. Do this more. Find a wide range of PTSD bloggers you can check in with every day. Learn from them. Educate them. Befriend them.

Look, this is easy to do – you’re already doing it (you’re here on this blog, aren’t you?). I’m just asking you to do it a little more. There are plenty of us speaking out about PTSD. Are you listening to the others? Some bloggers chronicle their daily struggle; others approach things from the academic point of view. We're all in a similar boat.

If you take little time to find the other PTSD bloggers out there, you’ll expand your range of information, emotion and experience. This is good to do. It gives us perspective. Carefully choose who you follow so that you’re reading posts that benefit rather than depress or trigger you. There are several bloggers who are honest in their struggle but not self-destructive or self-indulgent. The quest is to find bloggers writing about PTSD in a proactive, self-aware voice.

When you’ve got a good list (this can be between 3 – 5 blogs) begin to engage in the conversations. Every blog post is an open invitation for someone to jump in. Are you leaving comments on the posts that resonate with you? Why not?? You are an expert in your experience. What you think, feel and understand is valid and might lead someone else to a new comprehension. It’s time to begin letting your thoughts out into the blogosphere.

BRDIGE THE GAP exercise:

Today, reach out in the smallest of ways: As you surf the net begin to leave comments on the blogs that strike a chord in you. Is there something I’ve written in an earlier post that you thought, “Oh, yeah! I feel that way, too!”? Go back to the post and leave a comment. You can do this anonymously. You can begin to flex your reach out muscle without any of us asking you for a bigger commitment.

When you find other PTSD bloggers who write clearly and with emotion, use all of our words to tap into your own experience, and then reach out to tap into the energy of the collective community. Make at least 5 comments on blog posts that ring a bell in your own self. This can be 5 comments on one blog, or spread the love around and meet some new bloggers. The point is to respond to what bloggers are saying by telling them you agree or disagree, that you feel that way or similarly, that you've discovered this has helped or that has hurt. As long as you’re respectful you can say whatever comes to mind so: Read and feel and then translate that into words that reach out and bridge the gap between you and the blogger and his/her community.

To get you started, I offer you these three PTSD bloggers:

Catatonic Kid has a great post today about fear and love. I already left a comment because her words so completely tapped into my own experience.

PTSD, A Soldier’s Perspective today has an in-depth exploration about why vets' patience, value structure and sense of self change in the post-combat environment.

Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind chronicles daily life with a mild TBI and PTSD.

Do some sleuthing and searching. Read with an ear for your own heart’s voice and an eye for appropriate opportunities to engage in the discussion, whether that means adding to one that’s ongoing or writing the first comment to kick off a conversation.

And then come back here and let us all benefit from your adventure! If you come across other PTSD oriented blogs that you feel have a great voice and focus on valid topics, post the links in the comments.

Reaching out means getting comfortable letting people know your PTSD self. That’s it. I’m not asking you to strip down to the whole you – yet. But stop being content to let the rest of us do all the work. You have thoughts, ideas and opinions that matter – let the world hear them!

(Photo: unfocused mike)

7 comments:

catatonickid said...

Cheers for the shout-out, Michele :) Baby steps rock.

Off the top of my head, here are 4 amazing bloggers who deal with PTSD/life/healing:

Desire to Heal - self empowered healing of mind, body, spirit. (Her tagline covers it, really =) )

Svasti: a journey from assault to wholeness (Serious awareness and wisdom to be found here.)

Wily feminista (smart, savvy woman whose authenticity may actually blow your mind... it's great)

This That Distorts Me Has Saved Me (Big on things I can fully relate to/learn from.)

Michele Rosenthal said...

@CatKid - You're introducing me to bloggers I haven't even found! I love how the network grows. :)

Petula said...

I just watched a Dr. Phil show on PTSD. Not sure of the date because I record them on DVR. It's not a disorder I've personally dealt with, but I think what you wrote here is very helpful. That's one thing they talked about on the show was putting words to the fear.

I actually happened upon your blog through your LinkedIn post about your need for a freelance book editor. Have you found anyone yet? If not, I would love to talk about it with you more.

You can reach me through LinkedIn, Blogger or email (petulawrites (at) yahoo (dot) com).

:)

Michele Rosenthal said...

I found a new blog for incest survivors with PTSD:

http://artconstellation.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-still-want-to-paint-it-black-but-i.html

This woman (an artist) is strong and healing and chronicling the tough road of getting over and past this most intimate violation.

Powerful, honest and full of energy writing.

giving up is not an option! said...

thanks Michele for the good stuff!

susan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amy said...

Reaching out is the most important thing you can do to help yourself recover from PTSD.My friends and family have been the most important thing about overcoming my PTSD. I wanted to share a website I came across, http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-nd, that offers a lot of great advice about coping with PTSD.