Updated: Sep 12, 2020
I never knew I was having PTSD moments throughout my life, until very recently. That's a big awakening.
My first inclination that I experience a kind of 'imprinted shock' was last year when my very 'shaman-like' Physio, called Shelley, pointed out that I would 'stop breathing' for short moments during my very painful rehab sessions after my wrist break.
I remember thinking...What? Really? I stopped breathing? Surely not. You'd think I'd know if I had stopped breathing right?
Those rehab sessions with her definitely involved some deep healing. We would often dive deep into the type of pain that was much deeper than the ache in my wrist - those six months of rehab with her changed me and I will always be grateful.
I remembered thinking she was like an angel in disguise or something. Like she had been 'planted' in the public hospital system just for me because I just couldn't fathom how lucky I was to have her assigned to my case...I mean, she was special...too special to only be a Physio in a small town public hospital!...but there she be.
Since then, I have realised these PTSD 'non-breathing-moments' are nothing new for me, I've been experiencing them my entire life, and it happens when I feel my fight or flight mechanism taking over to protect me from the old immanent danger I experienced as a child.
The good news is that I see this now. I have awareness - yay! I notice how my heart races, and that I withdraw from people, conserving my energy and I feel it now when time seems to slow right down. I also notice that a very strong energetic wall goes up around me, which I'm sure is felt by anyone who is in my vicinity. (see blog post 'Tea & PTSD') Now I understand why it has been easier to live a life removed from others and also why others feel like they need to give me a wide birth at times.
Historically, after experiencing these moments, I would spiral into a depression for days, sometimes weeks without knowing what had happened; And since I didn't know what was happening each time, I had no strategy in place to help release the imprinted protective behaviors I'd practiced since first experiencing my trauma 45 years ago. I'd go 'round and 'round...What was once a protective tool became a truly a vicious cycle, a kind of ground hog day that I had no awareness around.
Well, I learnt even more about all this the other day, and that is to honour the self protection mechanism that has kept me safe for all these years, like a best friend - it has worked hard over that time to look after me and be there for me - so thank you higher self! :)
These PTSD moments are nothing to be ashamed of, run from or apologise for and right now all that I need to do is acknowledge all of me...gently reminding myself that I am safe, I am here in this moment, and I am loved.
The letting go will be done in my own time, at my own pace.
Here's to continued growth.
(Written for you and for me to help normalise our PTSD experiences through sharing and conversation. Let's just decide to trust that we are not broken. We are worthy, sensitive humans navigating our way through lifes' hidden opportunities to grow).
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