Read this post very carefully.
Read it all the way through to the bottom.
Counseling is a word that someone with PTSD often does not want to hear. There are a myriad of personal and professional reasons why it is not generally welcomed by those suffering from post-traumatic stress. It seems that, from my experiences talking with others, that if you are going to counseling or if someone is suggesting counseling....you must be broken. This is followed by the feeling or insinuation someone must step in to fix you because you are in no shape to fix yourself. You can all blink twice if you've been in that position or felt like you were in that position at some point in your journey or another.
You haven't even given yourself the security clearance to tap into those locked up files inside of you, so why on earth would you want to give that clearance to someone else?
What if counseling isn't about you being broken? And what if you could feel "at ease" attending a counseling session, instead of being on edge, dreading it, or feeling like you have to build a garrison around the inner workings of your heart and mind?
Practicing meditation the morning of your counseling session or maybe even an hour before your session may help you to feel more grounded and present in the moment. If there is anxiety prior to a counseling session, where is your mind usually wandering around? Probably in the past, is my personal guess. There may be worry that the counselor or therapist might dig up this or make you want to talk about that. You may have the general feeling that you don't want to talk. Once you make that decision to not want to talk, the body tenses, breathing changes, and a whole myriad of physiological responses take place in the body and the brain because you feel a threat coming that you have to be vigilant against. Fight or flight kicks in.
What if practicing meditation calms you enough to put your mind in the present moment where you are able to look at your counselor from a new perspective and realize they are trying to help you reach the best parts of yourself again? Are you truly hearing what they are saying or is some of it being blocked or changed because you are fighting so hard to protect yourself? It is a process and with PTSD, it is a multi-step process and a multi-layer process. It is almost never just one thing going on inside of you. It is multiple internal connections that create the outward responses that are so familiar to people with PTSD.
Meditation can make working through those steps and layers more bearable by keeping you present and connected to how you feel right now in this present moment. It's just one of many different kinds of tools, that once developed has been shown to decrease blood pressure, alleviate headaches, slow the heart rate, and regulate breathing. It activates the part of the brain that helps to calm you down. If you are calm before attending counseling, there's a chance you may be more receptive to truly listening to what a counselor is saying to you, as opposed to what we sometimes think they are saying. Feeling calmer and more present may also allow you to become more receptive to considering the thoughts and ideas that a counselor is sharing with you.
As I have stated before, we are in this together and I truly believe that as someone who has traveled the long hard road through PTSD and come over the other side of the hill, I feel a distinct responsibility to share what I've learned to help others who also travel this path. I hope that these posts from my own personal experience and perspective, give you some food for thought because often times, with PTSD, the reality we think we are living, isn't the reality at all. It is a perception that has been jogged around inside of our brains because of the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physiological changes that have taken place at the onset of trauma.
*image: Google Images