Making the Shift: What does healing mean to you?
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 • PTSD Recovery Tips •
In the fog of PTSD it’s only natural that you may not stop to think about what, exactly, you’re trying to do. (Hint: “I want to feel better” isn’t specific enough!)
But think back to other things you’ve wanted in the past. A car, an outfit, a piece of jewelry, a vacation, a promotion – in each of those things I’ll bet you were very specific about what you were working toward. I bet from the very beginning you knew what color car, what type of outfit, what kind of gem, what destination or what title you wanted to have.
The same needs to be done in healing PTSD. We’re all walking this recovery path together, but we have individual ideas, perceptions, goals and plans. It’s up to each of us to get specific in our own minds.
For myself, I knew from the day of my diagnosis that by the end of that hell I wanted to be completely symptom-free. Since then, however, I’ve talked with other survivors for whom that definition was not their expected PTSD healing outcome. They wanted the nightmares to end, or the hypervigilance to subside or to end substance abuse. What do you want?
Part of making the shift from powerless to powerful is gaining clarity. This week, try this:
Write across the top of a sheet of paper, By the time I’m finished healing I want…
Now, finish that sentence. Be as clear and specific as you can be. The more details you use the more focus you’ll get, the more you’ll know what you’re aiming for and be able to plan and strategize how to get it.
There are a few ways you can go about doing this exercise:
1 – Sit down and write as much as you can think of in a free flow — don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Just write. Let your mind wander. When it gets stuck, simply write the beginning of the sentence over and over until something new occurs to you. This exercise is meant to come from your right brain, your creative side, which means the thoughts can go in any direction, in any order. Let yourself feel free to dream, fantasize and imagine.
2 – Maybe you don’t like to write, maybe you’re more of a list person. Fabulous; no sweat. Make a list. Let your mind spew out everything that’s on the top of it. And then dig for more. Each day, add something else to the list.
In both of the options, follow through more than once. Part of becoming more powerful is retraining your brain to function powerfully. It will take some practice! Always, your mind will automatically give you what’s on the surface, but the really meaningful stuff is usually buried just below that.
As the days pass and your subconscious mind continues to mull the question, give it an opportunity to show you what you’re really hoping to accomplish. Feel free to share parts of your writing or your list in the comments!
(Photo acknowledgement on Flickr.)