Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why "To breathe again"

I decided I should explain the title of my blog and book to be. Obviously, I breathe, but it's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can breathe without hyperventilating due to being so overwhelmed by my circumstances; things far out of my control. 
I guess I could title my blog/book "How I learned to stop hyperventilating" but that just doesn't flow as easily, ya know? And honestly, I haven't completely stopped the hyperventilating part. There are still days that I feel like I need a paper bag close by just in case. I still feel overwhelmed by things that have happened to me and triggers and flashbacks are still too real. So "To Breathe Again" it is. 
I also wanted to share an article I stumbled across which I like 95% of but there are a few things that I wish had been put a little more eloquently. Oh well, that's the dreamer in me. No news media story or article will ever get it 100% right. That's the nature of media.
This article is on PTSD, the disability of our time. I appreciate how the author explains that PTSD cannot be categorized as only a warriors mental health issue. It is one of the most common mental health problems there is due to its nature.
My favorite quote from the article: "The process of healing from PTSD requires going through a full grieving and healing process so that one can learn and grow from the negative life experience instead of letting it hold one back from truly living."
I disagree with the word healing. I feel strongly that although you can move forward and learn techniques, go to therapy and process what has happened, PTSD is not like a broken leg. It will never truly be healed. It cannot. Without a movie-like medication or mind zapping that can take away all negative and painful memories, there will still be triggers and there will still be flashbacks. Maybe not often - maybe the dreams will become less powerful and nightmarish, but they will still "get me".
Giving up on processing the situation is no way to go. You can get from bottom to 90%. I say that out of hope, of course, for I am not there yet. But I have to believe that you can recover most of your pre-trauma self.
So I will continue to go THROUGH this in hopes that one day, it will be a distant memory; that the triggers will seize, that the nightmares will become more of a bad dream that I can forget shortly after awakening, that the scars will lighten, that the guilt will dissolve, that the anger will continue to lessen each day.
I've discussed before my belief that everything happens for a reason. For a while I really questioned that philosophy. I'm back now. I've decided that this had to happen for me to help others. It had to happen to me because during the process of getting myself back I would decide to write about it and reach out to others struggling. It had to happen to me to show me that I'm stronger than I thought and that I have more family and friends who could care for me and my family than I would have guessed (and learned the true friends from the "friends"). It had to happen to me so that I would learn to believe in myself and my abilities again. 

I know that what happened to me was horrible. I had to process the anger (which I still struggle with on the bad days) and learn to let it go (also something I work on). I know that the individuals who did this did not do it on purpose or out of a place of evil, but it was a horrible accident. So I will continue to work on breathing as I as I continue through this.

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