We’ve lost yet another one to PTSD-related suicide, and it breaks my heart. There’s nothing worse than living in a moment of trauma for every day of your entire life, but it makes it worse when the people around you don’t understand that, can’t understand that. I want to try to break it down for you so that you who don’t have PTSD can understand and empathize a little.
Imagine that every moment of your life is a semi-transparent frame.
Your brain files all of these frames away in your memory by priority – the more important and intense feelings go to the front, the less intense and important frames go to the back.
But then something happens that is so intense and so important that your brain locks it in front of every other memory.
In fact, it’s filed in such a high priority that every single thing that happens after that is seen through that one high-priority frame.
That is what it’s like to have PTSD.
There is not a set limit of “how traumatic a thing can be” in order to trigger a trauma like this because everyone is different. Every brain is different. Some people can go through life seeing and experiencing just the worst crap ever, and they never get bunged up about it. Other people go through things that are more or less horrific, and they’re scarred for life.
Here’s the even harder part of it. Because someone with PTSD is looking at the world through that one frame, even innocuous, innocent, and completely unrelated events can become even more traumatic, heightening the sense of anxiety, stress, and tension.
What does it look like, though? When someone’s responses don’t quite fit what’s actually going on, it’s time to look closer. For instance, a person who has been violated gets into a relationship much later. The violation was a severe point of trauma – PTSD – so whenever anything in the relationship seems vaguely trauma-shaped (going into a dark bedroom, the mere act of having sex, a door slams), the anxiety and tension and panic of that trauma moment returns. The person accuses the partner of violations, the partner is understandably utterly confused, and there’s a lot of yelling and screaming and WTFing going on.
That’s THAT part of it.
I am absolutely not kidding, goofing, or in any way overstating the fact that PTSD can and is treatable, if not completely curable. If you are willing to let go of it, there is a method called EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – that is extremely effective. (It’s also called the Tapping Method.) I have used it (and had it used) on myself for dealing with the death of my son, for dealing with traumas and violations in my own past, and I can unequivocally state that it is highly efficient. I have additionally helped many other people as well, because why collect a super-powerful healing method if you can’t use it on the people you care about?
This is not a “feel better by sheer force of will” thing. This is an actual therapy developed in VA hospitals specifically for the purpose of healing PTSD. And I have to put the caveat in there that you “have to be willing to let go of it” because some people identify themselves so strongly with the trauma that they have a much harder time releasing that moment than you might think.
EFT pulls the priority sticker off of the frame and lets it go back to its proper place in your timeline. After that, quite often, the hard part begins because you have to learn how to human again. Let me tell you, though, learning how to human when you’re not looking at the world through a window of fear, anger, rage, panic, and anxiety is much easier than when you do.
For my part, yes, I provide this service. I do ask for a donation for my time (kid needs medication, and they, like, want to eat every day), but I’m usually willing to work out something with you, either in trade or service if you can’t afford to donate. All you need to do is send me a message about it, and we’ll set up a time to talk.
Oh, and the other crazy part: you don’t even have to meet me face to face. We can do it from anywhere, to anywhere. Hell, the greatest sorrow of my life was lifted in under 20 seconds by a lady in South Africa, while I sat in Wyoming. True story!
PTSD sucks. If it doesn’t kill you, it can make you want to die anyway. Life is too short to spend every day fighting. Let me know when I can help you.