Living with PTSD

Erica suggested I take one of my affirmations/realizations and write from it.  I chose “Depression is a big deal.  It has taken courage, strength and determination to create as much of a life as I have.”  I became aware of this after the week I spent doing my best to “be with” depression, instead of fighting it to “get things done.”  As a result I saw how much work it was to “overcome” depression, how absolutely totally debilitating severe depression is.  When I decided to write about it, I realized that the source of the depression was PTSD, and that’s an even bigger deal.

PTSD is an enormous wrenching of the brain and nervous system.  When it happens as early as it did for me, before the brain and nervous system have matured, then it interferes with all further development.  Because of PTSD I struggled with severe depression for most of my life.  There were also periods of extreme anxiety — actually “terror” is a better word.  Times of terror.  From my alcoholic parents I had learned that everything I did was wrong, so not only did I suffer extreme and debilitating states of mind, but I made myself wrong for being that way.  I also had no idea how to help myself or take care of myself.  I didn’t know how to ask for help, except for seeing a therapist.  For most of my life I didn’t even know that it was PTSD that I suffered from.  That understanding has helped a lot, but I have been working on healing PTSD for 15 years and it’s hard to see that I’ve made any real progress.  In some ways, opening up the deeper layers has led to feeling more pain.  It’s hard to feel so young and vulnerable.  It’s hard to be alone, even more so now that I’ve experienced the community of Kindred Spirits.

Another painful result of living with PTSD is that I’ve created a good life for myself, and I’m not able to enjoy it.  I created Neskaya because I wanted to have a place to do Sacred Circle Dance, and I made its foundational principle the celebration of diversity — something I learned from folk dance.  Because of this, and possibly because of the energy I brought to it, Neskaya has become a place where everyone is accepted just as they are.  Every time someone says that I feel surprised and delighted.

PTSD also wrecked my marriage, first by making it impossible to be sexual, and secondly by keeping me from challenging my husband on issues where he had stopped supporting me.  I didn’t didn’t see them because I had learned that I didn’t deserve respectful treatment.

No sooner had I posted this than a friend posted this to Facebook.

I went back and wrote down the ACE’s.  Physical, emotional and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, etc.   It turns out that my ACE score is 4.

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