FIGURING IT OUT
I’m 59 years old and just now figuring out I have PTSD; what, me, PTSD? Why you ask; because I’m not a Veteran of course! I decided that I couldn’t have PTSD, at least not the label, I wasn’t worthy.
IN THE BEGINNING
Here’s a little bit about my life experience with trauma. At birth, I was a healthy 6.8 lb baby girl, and within four days, I was dying. Before anyone could say ‘Bob’s your uncle,’ I developed a milk allergy and dropped to 4 lbs. in 3 days; my skin started to fall off.
Within days of that, my grandmother told me my mom started working and walked away from me as soon as she was able. My grandparents raised me for the first 12 years of my life. For me, being raised by my grandparents was a blessing, and yet even that had a rough start. My grandparents were loving, kind and allowed me great freedom in life. The trauma came as a baby, not only the skin falling off, but anytime they touched me. Feeding was painful, changing, and even hugs hurt while my flesh was filling back in. Eighteen months later my skin healed per my grandmother. While crying at their touch, I imagine I heard my grandparents cry when they tried to help me that seems traumatic to know you not hurt but you hurt those around you. The subconscious is amazing in what it remembers.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL
At 12, I got sent home to live with my parents. There was physical and sexual abuse. At 17 rape, at 23 more physical and verbal abuse and heartbreaking betrayal in my marriage. By now I am pretty crazy. Desperately in need of peace in my life, it took me seven years and two beautiful baby boys to get out of the marriage. Leaving was accomplished hiding money under the house, and working when he was working so he didn’t know I was leaving home or making money.
Out of the marriage and seeking help I decided maybe AA might be an excellent choice. Because I did some drinking in my 20’s, I decided I might be alcoholic. Now, I haven’t drunk at this point for about seven years, but they tell me alcoholics can be dry for a while. Now, I had a girlfriend that is in AA. It seemed to me her life had turned around. As they say in AA, I wanted what she had. So, I got a sponsor, my sponsor listened to me then said, “I don’t think you’re an alcoholic, but hey, if you think so, that’s all that matters”.
Whew, finally some relief in the 12 steps of AA. I learned and began to understand that my response to what happens to me is the problem. That said, I’m not able at this point to control my response to pretty much anything, and well, I see as danger everywhere. In fact, there is a lot of life that I see as dangerous. AA was a lifesaver in many ways. Unfortunately, A.A turned out not to be my answer. I left after a few years because I didn’t feel like I belonged. I couldn’t relate to the alcoholic.
All that said, in 1995 I found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), it was the start of the healing. I wasn’t very good at it for many, many, more years, and truthfully, until I tapped with another practitioner, I didn’t start that deep core healing. The moral of that story for me is, I would never have allowed myself to take me where I needed to go. Healing of those core issues took someone else I trusted to push me safely to those dark spots.
There was a healing session I was attending (not EFT), and I was screaming, stop, stop, if you go there I won’t live through it. My person asked me to trust him through the process. He was reminding me that I had been getting healed by him physically for years. He urged me to let go and move through it. Doing that brought forth a huge breakthrough, this was especially true when I could trust not only my health to him, but for me to trust me to do it and live through it. I grew from those few terrifying minutes.
Now I lead others through that “dark night” as they say and that brings joy to my life. I can say today, which is a strange, that I am grateful for the life I have lived. This life has brought me to this moment. The key though was I was willing to take the ride and do what I had to do to come back. It’s been a long journey for me. Only recently did I discover a keyword to tap on that made a huge shift in my life. That said, I still didn’t call it PTSD, it was a crazy life filled with a wild beginning and not so healthy choices.
THE LIGHT COMES ON
When I met my Coaching Buddy and good friend, who said she had PTSD, it still didn’t register PTSD for me. She was in the military, so that made it okay for her. I have to laugh now at my response. The response I have I believe is because Gary Craig started out with Veterans that were in trauma. My trauma. was part of everyday life. Again, I deemed my life was not worthy of being called PTSD. I was just out of control.
It was a light coming on when my friend suggested that there was no way I didn’t have PTSD, but not for a few weeks. It took a second friend, who is a Vet and has PTSD to remind me that I couldn’t have lived my life and not come to have PTSD. She was not mad because I had trauma and I was not a Vet. She didn’t feel I was taking HER sacred spot. She just loved me and thought I knew it all along. I got it; finally I saw that PTSD was about trauma, period. In other parts of my life, I knew not to compare pain. For some reason, PTSD seemed “above” the norm.
The most important notes for me as I write, I know that I am not crazy and PTSD, feels strangely like home. I believe I have found the place where I can relate, serve and be served.
In love and service,
Coach Diana Lynn