Combat PTSD Wounded Times
June 4, 2017
"A picture is worth a thousand words" Fred R. Barnard attributed this saying to,
The actual Chinese expression "Hearing something a hundred times isn't better than seeing it once"Reading about something horrific causes us to use our imaginations. Great thing about that is we can shut it off at will. We stop reading and refocus our minds onto something else. After all, it is just a bunch of words. Seeing something horrific is like our brain clicking the shutter and having it implanted into our memory.
When I was young, I loved horror movies. I bought books by Stephen King. As a matter of fact, I was reading Misery when I was in labor, or at least, trying to read it. I knew it was the work of a fabulously strange mind. It wasn't real but I could imagine the house, characters and the pain inflicted on Paul Sheldon.
When the movie came out, it was different than I imagined it to be. It was not the case with Nightmare on Elm Street. That movie came out a few years before Misery. I did not read the book and was not prepared to have it follow me home. My friend and I left the theater, stood outside my car and checked the back seat. The images were part of my brain even though it was all "make-believe" because everyone is supposed to feel safe in their own beds.
We are all supposed to feel relatively safe doing what is "normal" and going about our days. Sure we think about the usual stuff, like having something stolen or getting into an accident, but not enough to stop us from doing what we want to do. That is, unless you have already experienced the bad stuff. Then it is a lot deeper than just a thought. It becomes a concern. After time, the memory is still there but has lost its power.
There is a story on the Guardian about the images captured by cell phones on the Manchester bombing when one person decided to do an evil thing, yet a greater number decided to do good for the sake of strangers. Not only did they help wounded survivors get to safety, they have been gathering in huge numbers to raise funds. Those images can cause PTSD in people who were not even there. Pictures, much like images from a movie, make it real!
How the brain stores traumatic images and triggers flashbacksImages from the Manchester bombing are likely to cause post-traumatic stress disorder, says Daniel GlaserThat is what a flashback is like. When you see something, it comes back in images trapped within your memory. Yet, if you were there, the images you saw come back with the sounds and smells, as well as your own body reacting to that event you survived.
"The unmediated phone footage that has been shared is unlikely to lead to PTSD itself, but seems to risk the creation of disturbing memory traces. Something about its horrifying nature has an impact on how they are stored. Pleasant memories don’t seem to recur to the same extent, but deeply traumatic ones can; the emotional shock when a memory is laid down is often re-evoked when it is recalled."
That word, survived, is not used often enough. You survived it! That means you were stronger than that thing that happened. You are still stronger! If you are not starting to experience the power eroding from it within 30 days, get professional help to take back your future.
I was lucky when my family made sure stuff was talked about "to death" and I was done talking about it in the safety of "now" even though they gave really lousy advice. I knew I was loved and they cared enough to spend time and listen to what I needed to say.
Understand that events like that are a part of you but that does not give "it" permission to take over the rest of your life. Kick PTSD in the ass and take control of your life back!