Wednesday July 10, 2013
The question of how I ought to create a strategy to heal from my diagnosis of PTSD has been on my mind since I received the diagnosis some two weeks ago. I do indeed believe a comprehensive "strategy" is vital to creating the foundation necessary to find healing.
First and foremost it is necessary to have love. As I remarked in a recent posting I was pleased to discover there is nothing amiss with my heart muscle. Yet there has been something seriously amiss with my life in general. There has been a fundamental imbalance present in my life for some time now. I have needed more love than I have been allowing myself to receive. Throughout much of my life I have tended to be what I would call a "giver". I have often given so much of myself to others that I have effectively not left enough of me for myself. It's clear that this needs to stop now. My very health is at stake.
Love and the countless manifestations that it appears in can be found in any number of places. Ideally, when we live within a healthy environment, we will enjoy the love of family and friends. Social activities, professional associations, hobbies and the like also provide us the needed support to live as healthy human beings. But then there is a higher level of social organization to consider. I allude to my country of citizenship. Before I go further I need to share a bit more of the backstory.
I went on a trip to Germany in May of this year. It was funded through the American Council on Germany. I traveled to Germany to conduct a research project. Yet I took advantage of the trip by also making time to see my birthmother and family in Germany. I had not seen them in eleven years. As I have alluded to in an earlier posting my mother became seriously ill when I was a very, very small child. During my recent visit I had the opportunity to see her in the company of my uncle and one of my cousins. We had lunch together at a local restaurant not far from the facility where my mother lives. After lunch we walked outside; I walked with my mother and provided her my arm to hold onto.
It is clear to me in hindsight that my recent visit awoke many feelings within me. The visit awoke the pain of the loss I experienced. But I was also pained by the fact that my mother now also has a degree of dementia. This was not true eleven years ago when I saw her last. At this time I simply do not feel emotionally prepared to deal with the implications of the fact that she now also has dementia. I do not feel ready for her to begin slipping away.
Since my return to the United States on June 1st I have felt myself to be in a state of persistent culture shock. When one leaves his familiar culture and plunges into a very different cultural environment it is only natural that this should take place. I still vividly recall how this happened when I left a Lakota Native American reservation I lived and worked on at the tender age of twenty-three. Having come back to the United States I can put into words (at least somewhat) part of what I can clearly see that I could not so easily see before I left. And this is what I see....this is my opinion: The United States of America is a nation filled with many deeply traumatized people.
If you want "evidence" to substantiate my claim you can look for it in an upcoming post. Yet I know in my heart this is true. I know it is true based on how I have chosen to live since my return. I see the truth of my belief reflected in the many aspects of daily life I have surrendered since my return. I see the truth reflected in my discontent. I see the truth reflected in my bewilderment as to how I will heal from PTSD when I live in a nation filled with so much illness. I see the truth when I ponder how the antidotes for human suffering, fear and alienation often peddled in this nation are shopping, consumption of mass media and driving out to the shooting range for a day of target practice.
And so today I leave you with these questions which I am attempting to find answers to: How do you heal from PTSD when you live in a nation filled with people suffering from it? How do you indeed heal when you live in a nation dedicated to distraction from pain and obsession with pleasure?