Stress is cumulative. It builds up in our minds, our bodies, our emotions, and our thoughts. Imagine all of the stressors you've experienced throughout your life. Stressors you maybe didn't have time to deal with prior or maybe because of your job you had to simply survive and get the job done. There was no time to feel. Remember that your body is storing all of those experiences. It shows up in restlessness, irritability, lack of patience, rise in anger, illness, pain, tension, tightness, headaches, and the list can go on and on. It's a lot of years and a lot of stressors.
Be patient with yourself when beginning meditation as a tool to help you relax. The myriad of stressors you've faced and continue to face cannot be removed, erased, or alleviated in one day or one session. When beginning a meditation practice, you are not trying to eliminate the stressors or their residual effect, you are simply bolstering your body's own resiliency reserves by tapping into the body's very own ability to heal and recognize safety. When we think of welcoming peace, calm, and tranquility we place our attention on the positive instead of trying to outrun or outsmart the negative. We can't undo what's been done, but we can begin to replace the negative with a positive experience, so that over time the positive pathways that have been built are the place we turn to more naturally than the negative. Each time you meditate you are building those positive pathways by training your brain to focus, instead of it running wild with your thoughts, worries, concerns, agenda, schedule, and daily stressors.
You are defining what your center of balance is going to be. Is your center going to be something from the past that you no longer have the ability to affect the outcome? Or is your center going to be your health and well-being today because that's what you have the ability to affect? Those are questions that are hard to answer because the past seems to have so much control and in your "heart of hearts", you want to feel better. It sounds like a catch 22, doesn't it? But with meditation you have the power to choose your focus. You have the power to say, I'm not focusing on that thought right now, I'm focusing on "peace, calm, and tranquility" right now because this is my meditation. Those other thoughts are not my focus right now, they are welcome to poke their head in, but I'm going right back to "peace, calm, and tranquility".
It's okay to be a "work in a progress" and at some point, you realize that everyone is a "work in progress". Having PTSD is no different than being a different kind of learner in a classroom. Some people come to a classroom and have prior experience and others come with no prior knowledge at all. Consider yourself the experts in this classroom. You know what PTSD feels like, own that. You are not an anomaly. You have simply recognized your own human condition. You would give all to help others, but others aren't who need you most right now. Your own soul, your own being, your own person is who is crying out to you to please pay attention, "Please give me your focus. Don't forget I'm in here. I need you too".