Some Thoughts about PTSD…. Exploring the Depths
I never truly understood what PTSD truly is..
I was living with it for years and never even knew that I had PTSD
No one ever explained my past traumas to me in this way.
I thought ONLY people who experienced trauma in war experienced PTSD.
I thought PTSD was flashbacks of horrific experiences but not other symptoms.
I had no idea that there were what I call “residual” effects that are just as devastating as flashbacks.
People talk about the grief of losing a child but the residual affects of PTSD need to be addressed also. Feelings of being overwhelmed during tasks that once seemed normal. How about when there is chaos and commotion and every cell in your body starts to feel agitated but we dont know why. Why am I feeling edgy and a bit panicked when things move too fast around me?
The small things like going to the grocery store and reaching for Rehtaeh’s favourite soup. Sometimes I freeze remembering the night it all happened. I was texting her from the grocery store (hours before our lives changed forever) asking her what she wanted. One of the items she asked for was Minestrone soup. Now, Minestrone soup is a trigger for me. Who would have thought that would be a trigger?
I was recently hit by a plow while driving and in that moment it was bizarre to have so many emotions arise. I was startled and very emotional for days. My body went into flight/fight mode and then my cells “recalled” what freezing means for me emotionally and it all came rushing back. I did not have flash backs of the night Rehtaeh left us but I did have emotional memory because my body froze just like it did the night I discovered her.
The body has its own memory separate from our minds so it was triggered and we must honour our feelings and reflect in order to find a gentle understanding of our own experiences.
I have learned to listen to my body and honour my emotions but there are always new surprises and new ways of understanding the complexity of PTSD. I hope you explore what it may mean for you and your life also if you too have various reactions and emotions other than the flashbacks.