… and literally so. I’ll relocate within the vicinity. It’s only about 10 km (~7 miles) from here. But the pace and feel of the new place will be more “urban” again as I’ll move from a village to a town of some 20,000 citizens. It’s a huge step for me – and it scares the living daylights out of me to be honest. At the same time, it feels like the absolutely right – and necessary! – thing to do, and at the right time, too. I need some personal space to myself again, more privacy than I had here – and thus a greater sense of control of my life and more personal rights. I guess, you could call it “unholing myself and getting at eyes’ level with the rest of them (again)” or something like this.
In recapping the past six going on seven years, I think I’ve embarked on an endeavour of digging as deep as possible into my history and the outcomes of that history. I guess, I had meant to discover, uncover, reconnect with and heal the true essence of my personality – the essence that should have had a chance to develop and express itsself, if things had gone different for me, i.e. if I hadn’t experienced major trauma from practically the earliest days of my life and hadn’t gotten retraumatized time and time again when growing up, thus “setting unhealthy neural pathways in stone”, figuratively and literally speaking as neuroscience found. I think the nutshell version would be: I had meant to first find and then heal and rebuild my most authentic identity – or whatever parts of it I thought to have remained largely unharmed. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until recently that I found out through Michele Rosenthal’s work that an identity crisis is almost inevitably associated with PTSD and “Life after Trauma“, as Michele Rosenthal puts it in her excellent work (in that context: I strongly agree with her on her finding that this identity crisis is often overlooked or not given enough focus in so-far existing, conventional and maybe even specific trauma-therapy settings. I say so from much frustrating experience with conventional therapy settings. As far as more specific therapy is concerned, I have to say that I didn’t and don’t have access to it for limitations in my health insurance policy – but have come to largely mistrust them from my research and from what I hear from other survivors). Identity crisis? Oh, hell yeah – tell me about it! After thinking I had built a life for myself by coping with and managing my symptoms as best as I was able to find, previously without much helpful assistance from the “experts”, then seeing that life fall apart one “pillar” at a time, thus eventually arriving at 100% disability, bankrupcty and ensuing poverty with a bleak outlook on ever coming around again (financially) – who wouldn’t spiral down into a major crisis from that? (I presume even individuals not affected by the outcomes of PTSD or C-PTSD would inevitably undergo a certain extent of crisis following majorly disruptive life events like a divorce, career setbacks, physical health problems and – needless to say – a host of financial problems coming from all three ultimately landing me at the very bottom end of the societal totem pole. Or to put it in the words of a former friend: “I would have killed myself for a fraction of what you’re going through” – his words, not mine. I guess that safely puts me in the “trauma survivor”‘s box then…? 3:-) – and it put him in the box of not-exactly-supportive “friends”, sorry to say… 😛 )
Anyway. Identity. That’s a big one – and for anyone so, I presume. For someone struggling with the outcomes of major trauma – and never really having had the opportunity to seek specific treatment, like e.g. EMDR or ego state therapy and whatnot – you may find yourself in a position of recurringly trying to grab loose ends – and that is progress right there, already! Because before those ends come loose, your own psyche may presents itsself as an insanely tight knot of competing emotions, some being a reflection and after effect of the incurred emotional injuries as a result of trauma, others being a genuine expression of who you are. But how can you distinguish them? Or to put it in different words: Which emotions are trustworthy and which ones should be rather brushed off as projections or some sort of “emotional reflex” to, say, the actions of your perpetrators (in case of C-PTSD, which is often linked to being exposed to abusive behavior by individuals in a position of power or superiority)? How can you find faith in your own resources when everything is just one garbled chaos of responses to both current and past events? How can you tell the difference? What parts of you can you trust and which ones should you be careful with as they might be (delayed) expressions of your (still hurt) trauma persona? It seems an insoluble enigma at times.
This is why I’m happy to find that Michele Rosenthal has agreed to address some of my questions in her upcoming conference call. I have been subscribed to her newsletter for quite a while and found her to be a trustworthy source. By that I mean to say that I am convinced she understands trauma (I should explain that in the whole “community” of trauma-survivors, I had to find that not all of them sound plausible enough to me, in such a way that I couldn’t be sure about all of them really understanding – or even having experienced – real trauma… Michele has. So what she has to say, I can “buy” – and my apologies to her, if this sounds somewhat condescending. However, from multiple experience that neither the conventional medical field nor even well-meaning friends, family or otherwise benevolent individuals are all that helpful in your quest for healing – I had to become supervigilante in terms of scrutinizing who offers real help – and who doesn’t. Again: She does, her findings strongly resonate with what I was able to discern for myself.).
I’m incredibly curious to find out what she and people calling in will come up with in regards to the above questions. As for myself – I think, some “new” direction is burgeoning – for lack of knowing any better, I might have to add though. Some of that direction is actually something I seem to have found intuitively in my early and mid twens – and it revolves around the idea of going about activities that feel significant and rewarding to yourself. Thus, those activities – to me – seem to have the largest potential of making you happy and acting as a valid tool in your recovery. To put it simply: As a “happy camper” there seems to be less and less “room” or potential for triggers of one or the other kind – and new, meaningful, rewarding experiences might help to rewire your brain and thus hopefully attenuate some of the “sore spots”. In my particular case – I don’t think, I am going to be able to really overcome them all as they seem so inextricably woven into the make of me (in this context: German neuroscientists found that victims of childhood abuse – and thus their descendants – are likely to inherit a genetically rooted predisposition to contract PTSD later in life. This might apply to me in addition to the actual multiple trauma I experienced from early on and then again later.)
But I don’t mean to fast forward or put words in Michele’s mouth. Let’s see, what she and her callers are going to share on behalf of “Your Life after Trauma“. In order to call in to the live conference call on Thursday, November 20 2014 at 2pm Eastern/1pm Central/12pm Mountain/11am Pacific, follow these instructions:
“How to Connect to the Call
Dial into: (712) 775-7031
Meeting ID: 805-594-868#
**Note: If you are in Canada dial this number first, then follow the prompts to input the information listed above: 559-546-1400”
In this context: Many, many thanks to Michele for willing to address my questions (as I won’t be able to call in in person) – and generally for her work and for sharing it with the rest of us!