A Norse King-God's Outlook Changed Mine on PTSD and Here's Why...
A quote from a book I am reading - 'Warrior's Return: Restoring the Soul After War' - states:
"In Norse mythology, the king-god Odin gave an eye for wisdom. What if this wound (PTSD) is the eye we pay for wisdom and the path to it? Can we understand traumatic wounding not as unjust and horrible occurrences that victimize us and should not have happened? Rather, can we understand it is a pathway to initiation and transformation that, in spite of our suffering, can become our great teacher and gift?"
This book changed my outlook on PTSD. I owe part of where I am mentally to this book. PTSD does not have to be crippling. You do not have to let PTSD define you. You are a survivor. You beat the odds and came out a new person. You have the ability to have a happy life. Live your life the way you want to live it. It's just breaking down the barrier of negativity. It's realizing you aren't a monster and you aren't broken. You have survived death, so why shouldn't you be able to celebrate life?
In this blog, I am going to discuss a realization that has come after my diagnosis of PTSD and the approximately one year of therapy I have gone through. As anyone who is newly diagnosed with PTSD, I thought it was going to hinder me for life. And, to some extent, I let that happen. There was a fairly large amount of time I let PTSD define and run my life. I was extremely depressed. Every noise scared me. I was getting angry at things I previously wouldn't have batted an eye at. I isolated myself from the world.
Conventional therapy was not working. I was not receiving the help needed. Day to day I would fake emotions. I knew there were I emotions should be feeling in situations but didn't feel anything. So I resorted to faking the emotions. Faking the emotions was probably the worst thing to do. Plus, it only works for so long before people close to you confront you about it.
With the pain of PTSD comes acceptance. You accept the fact you may feel this way for a long time. You accept you may never truly be in touch with your emotions in the same way again. You have officially buried your past self. The list of things you become intolerant of is virtually endless. You have seen the evil of man. You know anyone is capable of doing evil. You know men are able to commit the most heinous of acts.
But your senses are virtually permanently heightened. This is an advantageous "symptom" of PTSD. The most positive outlook on this "symptom" is we are always ready. It's that simple. In sitting in the back of a restaurant, facing an entrance, scanning every face to see who is a possible threat we are constantly looking to protect our loved ones. When you do these things, you are preparing yourself for the worst to happen. Honestly, this isn't always a bad thing. When something does happen and that individual you have been keeping an eye on, because you had a hunch, actually does act you know how to handle the situation. You will be prepared to get your loved one to safety and seize the threat. In the heat of panic, you will be the one ready to act instead of freeze.
I may not have my PTSD managed yet, I may never, but for right now I have the positive mindset that through my experiences I can make PTSD a strength instead of a weakness, therefore I will.