Last year I was looking at a brochure for an international conference on PTSD. One of the keynote topics was on Forgiveness and Resiliency. It made me think about the act of forgiveness and if that was something I was comfortable doing at this point on my journey. After a year of reflection, I can honestly say that I clearly choose not to forgive. I do not think it is my job to forgive. I think my job is use the power of my anger to create a life that I self author. My job is to create the life I am worthy of, one that helps me to reach my fullest potential and become more self actualized while managing a physical illness. My job is to use the power of my love to love another into their greatness and to address injustices. It is by doing these bold acts that I find resiliency on a daily basis. I do not think forgiveness alone can transcend the physical brain and body challenges due to early and prolonged trauma.
This has been a growth-filled week for me. After reading a woman’s blog one morning, I got in touch with huge sadness. After spending time with the sadness, I realized that underneath the sadness are these intense, powerful emotions of murderous rage, anger, and hate. Murderous rage, anger and hatred for how victimized I was by people more powerful than me and how this developed into this sense of helplessness because I was unable to keep myself safe. Continue reading
I have had panic and terror attacks most of my life. When I am in an acute attack, my natural physiological response is to clutch my chest because I feel like an elephant is sitting on top of it which makes breathing a difficult task. Also, I feel a gripping tightness around my heart. I naturally find myself clutching because I have a fear that my heart will stop. At first, my natural physiological reaction to the panic and terror attacks the last few weeks appeared no different. However, what I noticed on this vacation and the two weeks that followed is that my initial clutching turned into a gentle touch full of warmth and healing for my distress. Continue reading
I have just finished a 10-day trip to Washington State and Oregon. It is the first time I have been on a travel vacation since I left my work on disability in the 2005-2006 school year. The challenges started at the airport when the panic attacks began (like an Elephant sitting on my chest). I had flashbacks of 9/11 and the Malaysian airplane that was shot down. These 2 catastrophes reactivated the trauma for me and the terror never left me for the flight there and the flight home. Because of these events air travel will never be easy for me and I think not easy for many with PTSD. My triggers became more activated and were present through my entire vacation. I did my best to utilize all my tools to cope with them. On the other side, I had incredibly blissful times with family especially getting to know my 2-year old great niece in Seattle, and seeing where other family had chosen to live their lives at this moment.
In addition, I found the beauty of Nature exhilarating! Yet even when going on short contemplative walks in the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula, I would have great fear when coming across other hikers. I would see them as the next ax murderers while my husband would say “Hello” and joke with them in passing. Living with PTSD is not a “Simple” lifestyle.
My husband and I wrote this summary blog together. The richness (and pain) of the full experience, which I wrote from my heart, is listed under the further reflections section of my blog site. It has the same title. You can connect to it using this link.
I am still feeling the effects of my therapist being on medical leave for 5 weeks. Again, it got me so in touch with my primal hungers and longings. Today, I felt my deep hunger to be of service and to effect change at a more global level. Really I connected to my deep desire to be on the front line of addressing injustices especially for the poor and vulnerable. It is part of my deepest need. It carries with it so much power of desire. I really want to do grander things than I am capable of right now. I want to develop to my fullest human capacity while having an impact on the world. I have such an innate capacity and desire to be more about love and caring. I want to live a life that develops my capacity to be about greater radical empathy. My struggle with my mental and physical health has certainly given me a greater sense of radical empathy. For that I am grateful.
So I have to ask myself many questions around this deep hunger and longing. Is my need to do grander things because I am fulfilling my primal need to have my life live on in what I do or did? Continue reading