Meandering Michele’s Mind: Our own crowd of believers
Monday, March 29th, 2010 • Uncategorized •
I am on a quest to put together a network of people who believe in us and our power to heal. It’s occurred to me recently that for all those who believe we are broken and cannot be fixed there must be an entire mass of professionals, practitioners and caregives who believe the opposite.
As you know, I firmly believe we can find freedom. If you know someone who believes we can heal, please send him or her my way. I want to hear their points of view, ideas, suggestions and philosophies. I want to hear other voices that believe we are not destined to suffer forever.
In my own world I’ve been meeting local psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who are on our side. And they know people, too. For example, my therapist friend Teresa (who so very firmly believes in our healing capacity) sent me this note paraphrasing the overall message of a trauma training session she attended last Friday:
The training I went to on trauma and neurobiology was fabulous! The best part being (and the part I know you will love) the lecturer (professor at FSU, researcher, trauma expert, and lecturer around Florida) stated,
“Because you had a traumatic experience does not mean you have PTSD, and if you had PTSD and you were able to regulate the experience then, if down the road you have a flashback or a nightmare it does not mean you still have PTSD. You can integrate the experience and normalize it enough to live with it in your memory. You never erase it and, from time to time, it can trigger, but that does not mean you have PTSD forever. It just means you had a triggering moment. If the rest of your life is asymptomatic then your PTSD is gone. “
Pretty much she affirmed that the myth of eternal PTSD is a myth and that you can have a moment where the recall is flared up but that does not mean you have not gotten rid of your PTSD…it was just a moment that triggered — without the cluster of symptoms that make up the whole of PTSD it is not still PTSD!
I read these words and I get excited. They mean there is hope for each and every one of us. It means if we can find a way to regulate our trauma reactions, if we can integrate the experience into who we are, then we can expect we have the chance to be released from the PTSD grip.
Half way down my own long road to healing, I read about the idea of integration. I set myself on a path to do that and it helped me enormously. I wrote out my story so that I — in my own words — could frame the past and make it a part not the whole of me. I worked on seeing more of who I am than just my survivor self. I worked on building, constructing and choosing who I wanted to be outside of, despite and beyond my horror. I found a practitioner who believed in me. Eventually, I got the job done.
We can only heal if we and the people around us believe we can and will. We each have to assess our own beliefs, and also those of our friends, families and professionals. If any of those areas weakens our strength they must be changed, ousted and replaced.
We must build a community of believers. Together we can change the path of PTSD recovery from one where we battle against our own and others’ disbelief, to where we draw our courage from the knowledge we are not alone and healing is eminently possible. We must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, each of us on our own path and yet traveling together to conquer the past and create a future where we each take back our power and live again.
(Photo acknowledgement on Flickr.)