Fall to fall, this has been a year of slow growing life progressions. Actually that is rather dismissive, the growth has been abundant and I am grateful for that. A year ago I was very much locked into a place of dark isolation. This mornings shower caught me of guard reflecting on a wonderful job I began last October. I had been unable to maintain it for many of the crippling situations named in the article below. It took a hell of a lot of work, love, and spirit human and other to move me to where I am today. The artwork above as always is original the following has been borrowed from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Definitely much more work to do, this has been a tricky ride. Knowledge is power.
This is part of my revisitation and recommitment to my original mission. To help another now that I find myself walking upright with a mind body and soul once more capable.
Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt – lil Big R
Dealing with the after effects of rape is a nightmare. The physical hurts can often soon be mended, but it’s the inner pain that people can’t see that takes longest. It’s also the hardest to deal with because it’s not like healing after surgery, there is no set time limit. The emotional scars can stay with us a lifetime.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a reaction to being exposed to an event which is outside the range of normal human experience. Sometimes it is referred to as post traumatic rape syndrome too. It is a normal human emotional reaction to an abnormal situation. Everyone reacts differently to different situations and it doesn’t have to be a life threatening experience for someone to respond in this way. It just has to be perceived by the victim as a traumatic event. It is a psychological phenomenon. It is an emotional condition, from which it is possible to make a full and complete recovery.
PTSD affects hundreds of thousands of people who have been exposed to violent events such as rape, domestic violence, child abuse, war, accidents, natural disasters and political torture. It is normal to be affected by trauma. There is help, and it is ok to ask for help. PTSD is not rare. It is not unusual. It is not weak to have PTSD.
Traumatic experiences bring to the fore survival skills which are valuable and useful at the time of the trauma, but which usually become less valuable, less useful and less effective with time. Sometimes survivors become stuck in problem behaviors when their pain is not acknowledged, heard, respected, or understood. Denial plays a great part here (it didn’t happen, or it shouldn’t affect you). Put-downs, dismissal of the pain, mis-diagnosis and other forms of secondary wounding keep survivors stuck.
Symptoms may come on soon after the trauma or fifty years later. That is what is meant by the post in PTSD. It is normal too for symptoms to come up again when faced by further trauma and in very stressful times. It is normal to be affected by trauma.
Society has it’s own way of dealing with trauma which can both be belittling or denying. For a survivor to be told that what happened to them wasn’t that bad, or was no big deal or continually being told it was time that they were over it, or just try and forget it ever happened cause secondary wounding in trauma survivors. It reinforces the mistrust of everyone and everything that trauma evokes in all survivors who no longer can believe that the universe is fair or just.
This ability to do whatever it takes to survive is instinctive. We all have it, and in traumatic enough situations, it will come out or we die. Extreme situations which trigger this reaction again and again may cause survivors to do things in order to survive which can be hard to look back on later.
Similarly shutting down feelings in order to do whatever it takes to survive, or do your job and help others survive, is a reality based survival skill. Numbness is the answer. It is effective. It will help you live.
Unfortunately when survivors numb their fear, despair and anger, all their feelings, even good ones, are numbed. Numbness is comfortable. Thinking about what they have been through is so painful survivors wind up avoiding thinking about, feeling, or doing anything that reminds them of the trauma. For example, if they feel the trauma was their fault they may spend the rest of their life having to be right so they won’t ever be at fault again. If they were happy when the trauma hit, they may avoid happiness forever.
Criteria for diagnosis of PTSD Continue reading