Taking my own personal role in my own healing has made a tremendous impact on how I feel about the idea of the future. As a meditation teacher, I teach being present in the here and now because that is really all that does exist in this moment; this is what we need to connect to in order to be present with the safety that exists right now. It helps us to settle the fight, flight, or freeze
mechanism that is part of our survival instincts.
However, having PTSD there is a struggle with the idea of present and future, while the past is what binds us and torments us. It's another one of the many contradictions that come with living with post-traumatic stress. It's not so easy to be present when there are no tools in place to help us do it. Stress mounts on top of stress and it can and will escalate if not addressed. We've seen this time and again with military personnel who take their own lives. They can't see any way for anything to get better.
PTSD puts blinders on us. We can't see more than two feet in front of us and we feel like something is chasing us down from behind...which means we really aren't experiencing the present moment either. It sounds a bit like a dog chasing its' own tail, doesn't it? Sometimes it feels that way.
So what exactly am I saying here? I'm saying one of the major factors that has helped me to truly take some steps forward in my own recovery and care, is being a participant in my healing. Counselors, doctors, other professionals can't rescue us. They can, however, offer useful tools, medication, procedures, etc., but they aren't in the business of "fixing people"...even that is many times why we seek them out.
We are the ones that go home with ourselves at the end of the day. We truly know our condition best and it is up to us to take notice, pay attention to patterns, write down our questions, and seek out what can make our own personal world better. The knowledge we have about ourselves can help the doctors, counselors, and other professionals know what steps to take to aid us on our path and help us heal.
If you are someone who suffers from PTSD or if you know someone who is suffering, pay attention to behavior and see what you notice. There are always patterns that take place. Keep a notebook and when you read back over it after a period of time, you may very well see some trends. PTSD always feels like chaos to the person who has it and it often looks like chaos to the people around them, but what I have learned is that within this chaos is order. There are triggers, patterns, pathways that have been paved, doorways, and windows to the brain's processing. It isn't exactly all chaos like I thought it was. There was something systematic happening in my brain every time I had serious flare up.