Monday, March 16, 2015
As I prepare to meet with my therapist again tomorrow I find myself feeling aware of a very strong feeling. I am growing ready to stop talking about the past. I am, in essence, finally reaching the end of the trauma resolution work I began in June, 2013. In the early days of my conscious healing journey I frequently felt some anxiety that the process of healing would take many, many years for me to complete. This may ultimately prove to be a prescient intuition. But I can at least finally sense the ending of that portion of my process in which I am regularly seeking out the assistance of a therapist.
Yesterday, as a way of doing a bit more work on myself, I wrote out some notes on how to 'counteract' the different criteria associated with Complex PTSD. I first learned of the idea of Complex PTSD last summer when I sought out a second opinion regarding my mental health diagnosis. At the time I felt quite dismayed to learn that I could probably easily have been diagnosable for Complex PTSD if such a diagnostic term actually existed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Below appears a description of the six criteria I learned about. My own antidote to each of these issues is noted under each criteria.
May include persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
I allow myself to make a space in my heart where the sadness can live. My sadness does not have to define me. I can allocate a small piece of my heart for sadness. But the majority of my life I can make room for the good.
Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one's mental processes or body (dissociation).
If unpleasant memories arise I can see them as if they were mere images on a movie theatre screen. I can look at these old images without becoming emotionally enmeshed in them. No memory is greater than my capacity to live a healthy life. Memories have no power to destroy us. We can use memories to inform how we wish to live in the future.
May include helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
Suffering, loss and grief are a universal human experience. Joy, love and fun are also something all people can experience. There is no shame in not knowing how to do something. As a human being I can see myself as a being who can evolve, learn and grow.
Distorted Perceptions of the Perpetrator.
Examples include attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
I have the power to choose how I will live my own life. I have the ability and responsibility to choose how I define my values, what constitute success and failure and what I want to be known for.
Relations with Others.
Examples include isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
There are trustworthy people all throughout the world. I know this from past experience. I can teach myself the skills necessary to live a productive, independent and rewarding life.
One's System of Meanings.
May include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.
I make time for that which I value. I am the person best equipped to make decisions regarding the quality of my life. I have value regardless of what I do, who I am, where I live, what my past history is, what my goals are, what my challenges are and so on. We all have value simply because we are...because we are alive.
It's so nice when the pain of your past life history begins to fade away.