Recently, I was sitting in a group of my Velveteen buddies… (do you hear the play on words – name stolen from The Velveteen Rabbit.. 🐰 bunny ~ buddy, get it!) Sitting with godly-living friends who live out the truths in his Word.
And in sharing about hiding from a hurt, someone mentioned the way something as benign as Netflix can be an unhealthy coping mechanism. And yes, it can.
As alcohol can be.
As eating can be.
As exercise can be.
But I want to think through the ways we can be PTSD STUPID vs. PTSD WISE. Often in a triggered fight, flight, or freeze frame of mind, we can choose PTSD STUPID in a way to “get revenge” on the ones who didn’t show up in the way we wanted them to. I have an intense desire for my closest peoples to tell me “YOU ARE SAFE HERE WITH ME”. Unfortunately, that is a burden too big for those persons to carry every minute. They are sinful and selfish – exactly like me.
And they are not Jesus.
Expecting my tribe the beat the drum to the rythum only in my head, is asking the impossible. I can inform said circle of what calms my frazzled frenzy but a vital component to PTSD WISE is realizing “it isn’t all about me”. My peeps have their own hurts, habits, and hang-ups. They will not be my everything, all the time.
So stepping back and remembering that truth embedded in reality is one of my first HUGE steps forward. They are not perfect because in the Garden of Eden, momma and daddy humans, Eve and Adam, sinned. We all sin darn’ it. I can’t depend on my amazing daughter because she wasn’t meant to be my rock. I shouldn’t put the weight of my disordered brain entirely on the shoulders of my husband.
But there are shoulders that can carry all the heaviness in my heart – Abba, Daddy, Father, God… But specifically, God of the Bible.
Not MY TRUTH,
Not a GOD OF MY OWN MAKING! HEAVEN help us if God is what a human makes up!
– we aren’t all- knowing so how can what we create in our limited minds be GOD.
– we aren’t unconditional in our love so how can we create a selfless GOD.
Oh. Heaven help the ones trying to tell GOD how He ought to be. They will screw it up, just sayin’.
Step Two is having repeatedly projected on others, pain they didn’t inflict, choosing to stop reacting as if they are intending to hurt me like reality and/or others did. [super-super-super hard for me].
This involves [gulp] TRUST… and no card-carrying PTSD SUFFERER easily trusts. When you touch a stove and burn your hand, there is a neurological pathway created so that we learn not to do that again! Duh!!!
The same is true of emotional pain. Once hurt by making a perceived “mistake” like opening your heart to a fragile and mentally unhealthy person, you learn to not do THAT again and close off your heart to many people.
Because she hurt you.
Moving on down the road to recovery, you must enter into something akin to….
EMOTIONAL SPARTAN GAMES.
You will need to move obstacles weighing triple your body weight!
Mentally, you have to choose to throw aside the coping skill of :
PTSD STUPID- somewhere unsafe. For instance, it is the opposite of safe to leave your home unannounced, drive two hours away to a state park you have never been to and not let a single person on the planet know that’s where you are, park at the entrance to a trail that leads as far away from humans as your hypothymus allows you to think and run.
To PTSD WISE – run in your neighborhood with mace and cellphone, or in a state park close to home with the heads-up to another human.
This running. It is an event in the ESG. The Emotional Spartan Games of the will. Very few ever understand the emotional effort it took to not just run away from all if IT. For me, Facebook groups for RAD moms and PTSD groups tell me I am not crazy-weird imagining and reacting like a psycho (I get that all too often).
Yeah, I completely can’t understand nor do I get that Olympic game on ice with housework involving stones swept furiously. Curling, I believe.
And rugby. They grab said player’s shorts and create a very uncomfortable situation for the poor guy in a massive wedgie, as well as for the spectator cringing at this bizarre tactic. ….So I will work hard to think, “I definitely don’t understand “THAT,” but I respect the effort.”
“A” for effort! Clearly I am a southern North American lady in regards to geographic norms in sports.
The point – PTSD requires intense act of will to stay and not run! The effort feels like carrying a piano on your back down the beach in soft sand wearing flippers. Just about impossible.
IT hurts. But healing is possible when you put in the work.
I am beginning to notice my patterns of making unhealthy decisions. And I am putting in the work and competing in the arena.
Fencing. That happens in an arena. I hate watching fencing. Not the rancher putting up barbed wire across miles and miles because that would be boring …
The [it pains me to call it a] “sport” of arming one’s self with a skewer, dressing in a weird white get-up, and galloping forwards and backwards to poke his opponent.
But now, I, because the God-of- certainly-not-my-own-making, has brought me to this hard place in life to compete in fencing fights, Ic compete.
I don’t want to be here. It’s stupid. And it is so much harder than I imagined.
I fence. Seriously. The thought is humanly embarrassing. And sincerely, sorry to all you fans of the… ah-hem.. throat cleared… sport.
In my head, I fence another idiot dressed like me in white but he is insane. He’s like completely serious, like life and death are on the line. And he’s actually out to kill me while dressed in white.
(Oh how my analogy has coming full circle and I didn’t even mean it when I started writing about this). Satan clothes himself in white often. The deceiver shape shifts into whatever I think is stupid and harmless like a fencing opponent in a dumb looking dance off. But the devil sees my eye roll, that I am not ALL IN during the match, and wins.
That is PTSD STUPID.
On the other hand, PTSD WISE is the discernment that the fight WE ARE IN is against Satan. He is the one we fight against now. The trauma happened. And we don’t clearly see what is going on in the here and now. He wants us in the arena, half serious, half prepared, to take us out – completely.
So fight. Fence for Christ’s sake (I do! Because I never want to give Satan a victory).
Decide. PTSD STUPID or PTSD WISE.
You can watch Netflix to disappear from the mess of life – your current sucky circumstances – and claim victory because you chose to take a trip to Downton Abbey, pick up cool history facts in your travels, and not actually run away. A mental Netflix trip – Can be very good.
But complete avoidance of life in a Netflix coma = bad.
A drink can be okay for many of us over 21ers. But using alcohol to constantly numb your senses is rather bad. PRO TIP- Drink water.
Feeling rebellious? Drink caffeinated soda- a pretty mild drug.
Drink coffee.. With all the good stuff added. Or black.. So “bad” yet oh so good.
Or eat something yummy like candy corn. Not the whole bag and not if that’s a trigger for compulsive over-eating disorder.
(Again soda or candy corn is pretty non-controversial, unless talking with Brant Hansen on Way-FM.)
But better than say – divorcing the husband who struggles with anger and being a terrified PTSD girl.. Bad combo sometimes and bad idea,
….Better than drinking and blacking out,
…Better than hurting self just to prove no one cares at all about you,
…Better than thinking about “How many would actually come to my funeral? I don’t guess I would pack out even a small church.” I know by PTSD WISE practices that going to this thought space is not a great place to camp out mentally… Like thinking, ” “my family would probably be more annoyed to interrupt their lives again by arranging my funeral versus them celebrating at my home going that my hard-fought life was spent in growing His kingdom and serving hurting people inside and outside of the church, specifically those with PTSD.
…Better than all the knowingly stupid choices made to eleviate pain
Is to FIGHT. Fight the lies and arm yourself with the TRUTH (not a skewer)! Fight FROM victory not for victory. Jesus has already defeated the evil one.
Fight against taking the easy route and lashing out.
Fight against letting unkind words fly even in the face of being attacked with abusive verbal hand grenades rolled precisely to where you stand.
Fight the penchant to crumble into utter depression and even suicidal thoughts. We all want the pain to end. Agreed. But taking that decision of when and where you breathe your last is wrong. That’s God’s business- the giving and taking of life.
Fight PTSD WISE. Know your tendacies. Trace the patterns of the past that had negative outcomes and create a new better result. Create beauty if only for a second.
It’s beautiful when you self-regulate your choices. It’s beautiful when you mentally dodge the flaming arrows and dance with God.
It’s beautiful when you remember your name is CHOSEN and you don’t answer or agree to be called “pathetic”.
It’s beautiful when you care for the shell he has deposited your soul in. Nap. Get a massage. Walk in the shallow waters of the ocean.
It’s beautiful when, in humility, you open His love letter to you, read and pray: Lord, change me in a way that I more clearly and more fully reflect You.
It’s beautiful when you