I cannot give a comfortably acceptable explanation for it, but I can tell to anyone who asks me that PTSD is a bit of a pain in the butt! I like the freedom that I get from being honest because I never have to try to remember the fragments of the lies I have told. PTSD sucks big time and we all know it, if we are experiencing it, so the need to lie, is non-existent!
We are Not a bunch of on-the-loose, insane, mad, disturbed, unbalanced, unhinged, unstable, irrational, crazed, demented, berserk, or psychotic lunatics, who have escaped from the “Cuckoo’s Nest”, we are persons who have been scarred by events and acts against our safety both physical, and emotional and have the challenges of correcting the uncontrollable responses we have to these damaging memories. It is not a commercially constructed railway system, it is a neuron-trail overly connected to all points simultaneously, with no accessible switching stations.
It is the overloading of one’s mind in the processing of information, most of which is memorization of assaulting events.
The mind of any person is connected to the entirety of the neural-network. It is not an individual’s choice whether this takes place, it is a hard fact from which no person finds a manner to change, ever, unless there is physical damage of some kind. This can be caused by an external force, or through physiological means. One aspect irrefutable: the imbalances are in direct response to the trauma!
There are no avenues which work evenly for all people, some are less effective, some aren’t effective to any degree, and some; are downright detrimental in their effects. The balancing points are so many that there cannot be any expectations of finding a directly responsive treatment that works as soon as you try it.
Therapy modalities don’t factor in all the relevant differences that may be found during the treatment process. This is not a fault, it is simply the characteristic of disorder versus treatment option; unfortunately, this exists in all forms of treatments.
As individuals, we seek the path of the least resistance when it comes to finding comfort. This not being the case, would actually define the seeker as somewhat “less-than-all-there” so we are expected to at least be open to the aspects of treatment which may not meet our particular needs at any given time. I have demanded more from my own attempts to find a way of not feeling so invaded by the attacks in my emotional property, but I fail more often than not, this led me to the eventual seeking of an intercessor from outside of my sense of security. I sought an outsider to help me, which for me is difficult in and of itself.
I’ve found it makes things go a bit easier for me to let loose of assumptions, and allow my truth to be the only identity I occupy. Lying to myself makes it much less comfortable because I am forced to come back and try to find the real me after I have left the company of the fake person I created to protect myself from whatever I saw as a threat. I’m sure that I am not the only person who sees the uselessness of energy waste that this would entail, so I don’t abuse myself with this process.
Being available to the demands offered in treatment is difficult for me as well. I often find myself questioning the words the therapist is using at any given time. I know that I am not the Dr. here, but I am the person who is experiencing the situation from the first-person side of the conversation, and I cannot see a need to relinquish this much of my authority over to someone who is not so encumbered. If I cannot sleep at night, the therapist has no idea why I cannot, so why should I accept the limited aspects of their interpretation of why it happened?
The best answer I have for my Dr. when I am asked the inevitable question: “why?” is “I too, do not know!”. Try it, it works well. I have seen the faces of the “experts” when they have to deal with the aftermath of my honesty, and it is funny in a way. Not laughable so much as it is insulting at times. His person is recording my words, adding my innermost feelings into their own knowledge bases, and I don’t feel as comfortable with this process as they would like for me to say I am.
So when someone asks me to explain how it feels to “have” PTSD, I try to explain it simple terms, usually some sort of analogy. (Imagine standing on a high diving board, someone is about to push you off into a deep end of a pool and you don’t even know how to swim! Worse still, when you are pushed, you see the pool has no water in it to break you fall. Now, what do you do? How do you dispel the fears running through your mind, while trying to find a solution to the problem you are facing? Add to this, insufficient identity of the person who is pushing you, and a reason for why they are doing it in the first place, well, then, now what?)
The more complicated the analogy, the closer I get that person to NOT understanding PTSD, as I am.
We do not need to explain it, we need to break its grip on our mind. We do not need to add more confusion, we need to straighten out the entanglement which has disrupted our normal highway of thinking and responding to those thoughts. We need to plow away the drifts of despair and remove the waste of debris we never asked to have deposited inside of our emotions. This will take work, I know this, but I am impatient, and I don’t deny it.
How is a life of normalcy inspired inside of a person who is a stranger to him or to her selves? How can any person, degree holder or not, take a clear enough approach to our inner selves to alleviate the despair that many of us feel?
The instant of the trauma must be not only found in a general sense, it needs to be specified. Even triggering events do not always show themselves clearly enough to be recalled at some later time.
All in all, I would like not only to explain what PTSD feels like, but also from where it comes inside of me, and ultimately to tell it to move on to other things, I’ve no more need for its presence.
Normally, this would be considered the end, but I realized a long time ago, this is a long-haul situation, so I’m in, to see it defeated, not just by me, but by everyone.