How do we process pain?
Trauma comes in many flavors. I’m reminded this morning that one man’s demons is another man’s motivator. It’s fascinating to me….the psychology of how we process pain. How we justify in our minds that we are not worthy of love, how we justify how we are not worthy of healing….because we have done something that we think is wrong. Or because we have done something that we think goes against our moral core. Or that we have faced death and won…and didn’t feel that we should have won.
But the worst thing that I see with PTSD, and this is not specific to combat Vets…it’s just trauma in general….is the lack of self-worth. The feeling within the mind that one does not deserve to get better. The feeling that one is unique and that no one can understand or relate to our internal pain.
And this simply isn’t true. The person struggling with PTSD can’t see this themselves, they are in survival mode. They are just trying to function each day. They are trying to not think about how their father beat them when they were a child and made them feel worthless…they are trying to not think about when they rolled their car when they were drunk one night and their friend died…they are trying to not think about the night that they nearly died while giving birth to their child and returned home to lack of support from family…they are trying to not think about the man that they killed in war….whatever their personal internal trauma might be the motivation of that pain, of that self-loathing…that lack of self-care and lack of self-love is eating away at their very soul.
These Vets are not alone…I’ve had trauma and I’m a civilian. You have had trauma. You know someone that has had severe trauma. You likely know someone that struggles with sleep at night. You likely know someone that overeats, or has panic attacks, or self-medicates with drugs or alcohol, or who has major physical problems because their internal struggle surfaces in the form of physical manifestations. Trauma changes your life. It changes how you view day to day living. It changes how you love, work, and breathe. But there is hope. Medications can help to take the edge off so that you can move forward with talking about the pain you are feeling within. Talking….in the form of therapy…is incredibly therapeutic. By talking about the specific traumas, it helps to make them less impactful within the brain. It takes away their power. It takes away their hold on your heart and mind.
Exercise is good for a traumatized brain…and for some that is doing leg lifts and arm lifts…for others it is jogging or the gym. Meditation and concentrated breathing is good for stress reduction and centering of one’s mind and body. Yoga is a beautiful thing for the mind/body. Friends and animals are helpful to connect us to those who care about us unconditionally.
But if you are feeling suicidal….if you are feeling like there is no where to turn. If you feel that the things happening in your head are too much. Reach out to us, reach out to a friend, reach out to a national hotline, or reach out to each other. We cannot face our own demons alone….we are stuck in that loop of not being able to see things clearly….only someone from the outside can aid us to come back to center…to heal and to move forward.
For civilians: 1800-273-8255
For Vets: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255
We are not islands….we are not so strong that we do not break. We are human beings, delicate souls struggling to understand our lives one day at a time. But we are NOT alone. And at Sarge’s Place, we give a darn about each and every person. And DO remember….you are incredibly brave and strong for reaching out. That takes more courage than keeping it within. That shows you are a stronger human being to say, something is not quite going right within me and I need help. Listen to that small voice asking for help…and reach out if you are in crisis