Today on Facebook one of my friends talked about a show she had seen on Dr. Phil. The horror that had happened to a child was triggering her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was reaching out.
I wrote back, in Message, not on the Wall, that I had it, too. And when I see certain violence against women in the movies, I am on the floor in full fetal position, rocking, covering my eyes and saying 'make it stop! make it stop!' I shared that I have to filter what I allow myself to see.
It took ten long years of my life to sort out PTSD, after having a memory of abuse 'come back' when I was twenty-six. What happened to me was when I was four. What I was told in counseling is that memories do not come up until you are psychologically strong enough to process them. I felt like my innocence had been taken away. As a start, I bought a tiny ballerina bear, and named her the same first name as me. It was my innocence. I took her everywhere. Once, when I forgot her at work, my husband and I drove back to get her. I was a four-year old coming out to live my life.
On of my favorite places to go while I was healing was the drug store. When I was little, there was a Rexall down the street from my grandparents. We used to walk there. The pharmacist was named Bill, and he always said a special hello to me. Sometimes I would get candy, or a little toy, like bubbles or jacks. It was a safe place. When I remembered, I was in Berkeley, and I went to the drug store there.
This part of my life I don't like to look back on. I had only one purpose and that was to heal. I read. I journaled. I talked and talked and talked. And through it I found the courage to live my dream, and apply to medical school.
Unfortunately, my college sweetheart was a victim of similar abuse. He chose not to heal. And the marriage ended there.
I hate to say it, but every man I have ever loved, deeply loved, has been molested. Two husbands, and two boyfriends. That is partly why I do not have the courage to try for a relationship again.
I wanted to share with my friend tonight, as I was falling asleep, but had forgotten earlier, is that childbirth was traumatic for me. I did not want to feel the pain. I felt it before when I was four, that white hot pain like you are going to die. I actually did have that thought, 'this is what it feels like to die' before I passed out. I think I had a cesarean section because my spirit willed it. My obstetrician was insensitive to my psychological distress. The nursing staff and support never mentioned it, although I mentioned quite clearly to everyone involved I had been hurt and I did not want to deliver vaginally. Fortunately, I stalled at four, and ended up in surgery like I wanted all along. Cut my anywhere, I don't care, but not there.
I was embarrassed at the time. And yet, I have encountered PTSD on the labor deck time and time again. Usually it is in the context of someone who had a block that didn't work right in labor or in the operating room. They felt it, the knife. When I have had a perfect block, and they felt touch, since you only numb to pain/hot/cold, they freaked out. I had to induce general anesthetic. I have seen some like me give birth vaginally. But every time, without saying a word, I treat them with dignity because I know for myself the agony is real.
Once, I shared, 'It happened to me too, honey'. But for someone in the earlier stages of healing, that doesn't help. I remember a counselor said at the beginning, 'it happens to LOTS of girls'. I got angry and said, 'even if it does it should have never happened to me!'. So I let them in their pain, and give them lots of attention, caring, and of course, Reiki. Sometimes the bewilderment of my patient is so severe, the then/now PTSD flashback situation, I have to try not to get 'sucked in' to the emotional maelstrom. Even then, I know my Reiki offers something that many people cannot. It helps. But from an energetic standpoint, and perhaps later in time if not right away.
Today, though, my spirituality helped me in a big way. The patient had a delay, you talk to them, and they think a LONG time, and you think perhaps they didn't understand or didn't hear you, and then they answer back. One word. Telegraphic. But right. There was something in the eyes that was really creepy.
Turns out it was a paranoid schizophrenic on tons of medication. And the recovery room nurse knew the patient, and said 'they take forever to wake up'. I asked if the patient was paranoid enough to hurt any of us, and the nurse said 'no'.
In the O.R., I kept this patient out. It was a MAC for a GI procedure. But at the end, something told me, 'give Reiki'. I hooked in as the case was over (energetically). This one was almost pure evil, so low a vibration it took my breath away. I grounded the patient, and asked for direct angelic assistance. There was a pressure on my chest, a slowness, and a discomfort I had not experienced. I did Reiki, gave the transition symbol, Karuna Reiki (TM), and Deeksha. All in the time between when the probe was out, and the nurse finished her charting so we could leave the room. About four minutes.
In recovery room, the RN said, 'I don't know WHAT you gave him but this is the best wakeup I have ever seen on this guy!' I smiled and said, 'I used the Magic of Disney' and 'I used to work there in college. I am a graduate of Disney University'. I was just messing with him. I distracted him with tales of how to point with the hand open, and how I only wear one ring on each hand from the policy. And how they recently allowed male facial hair that is well-groomed.
He called me on it. He knew I was 'up to something'. But I wasn't talking. Not in the GI lab in front of everybody. But I am talking tonight. Only to you.
Somebody told me once that PTSD leaves you permanently damaged. You can function, but it never goes away.
The fact is that stimuli outside the range of normal human experience 'war, rape, torture, etc' are recorded with a different neurotransmitter in a different way in the brain. It has norepinephrine and it burns the event right in. That's why the flashbacks are so real. And so intrusive.
If you have PTSD, think of your subconscious as a cat. Every now and then, in the course of grooming itself, it coughs up a furball. To watch it would make you think the thing is going to die. It heaves and it struggles. But it is on the way out, this thing that wasn't good for it in the first place, completely indigestible and could cause it harm if left unchecked.
After a while, the furballs run out. Mine took over ten years. They were more frequent at first. And then at the end, they surprised you. You thought it was over.
Under the surface, I have damage. But it does not affect my day to day life. It makes me a better healer. I understand.
In those ten years, when I was trying ANYTHING to feel better, I wrote a letter to someone who was there at the time. This woman told me to 'keep it secret'. I wrote and said I know everything and I forgive you. She sent me an afghan with the granny stitch and an angel pin. The pin HORRIFIED me. The legs were open. Bent, but open enough to really freak me out.
One day my mom was at the apartment. She said, 'we don't need this any more!', took me by the hand, and together we dumped the blanket and the pin down the garbage chute. That was VERY theraputic.
Live in the now. I do. And the past is gone from me, forever. My child was worth it. In every way. Tonight he said, while he was falling asleep, 'I'm glad you are my mom.'
I save him from a predator. In my own family. He mentioned something funny in the tub. I believed him. And he started talking at the dinner table at his paternal grandmother's house. Said it was the same person. His father called social services on my own family member. They did a full evaluation. This family member was too old and sick. A relationship between my son and this person was important. But I was advised to NEVER let the two of them be alone. Sure enough, at the funeral, my son spoke. Age four. And almost shared another experience. No one else would have known, it sounded innocent, but in the context I knew.
I saved him.
I saved him from a life of hell on Earth. Nipped it in the bud. And I would do it again. Everything. Even the suffering for me so I would recognize it at once in my son.
Rascal Flatts has a song, 'My Wish'. Some words go, 'When you are faced with a choice and you have to choose, always choose the one that means the most to you.'
Heal. Love, Have heart. And Aloha!