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Monday, July 16, 2012

Post Traumatic Gazette #1

When I started the Post Traumatic Gazette in 1995, I thought our country would never be involved in another war, especially one like Vietnam without front lines and where anyone could turn out to be the enemy. I was wrong.
Because I knew so many survivors of other traumatic events, I wrote everything with them as well as veterans in mind. It took me more than six months to write issue #1, because I wanted it to explain the symptoms as survival skills in a way that would not be hurtful to anyone. I wrote and re-wrote and polished it till I felt it was as good as I could make it.
Here's one quote I am proud of:
"This is not some random collection of weird behaviors, but appropriate and effective biologically based reactions to extreme stress. They have a purpose: survival."
Many descriptions of PTSD symptoms make no logical connections between them and give no insight into why a person would react like that, but that was my big question when Bob got home from Vietnam: What happened to him? Why does he have that reaction?
Another quote I am proud of:
"These PTSD survival skills tend to become less appropriate and less effective with time and can wind up being really crippling ineffective behaviors. For a healing perspective, we need to keep in mind that the behaviors of trauma survivors are direct evidence, sometimes the best evidence, of what they have survived, of their experience. They are also evidence of ingenuity, creativity and courage. Reframing the behaviors in this light can be an enlightening experience for the survivor, families, friends, and therapists. Instead of being bad behaviors, they become useful evidence about the nature of the trauma or traumas and the guts and brains of the survivor, who, after all, survived."
A final quote which one guy wrote me started him on the road to recovery. It is from the second article: How to Begin to Recover:
"Willing to vs Wanting to: There is also a great deal of difference between the words “want” and “willing.” Spelled differently. Mean different things. Willingness may mean I do things I don’t want to do! If I wait till I want to do the things that will help me recover, I may never recover."
I hope some of you will go read the full issue and tell your friends about it if you find it helpful.

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of your work Your writing has provided a lot of insights for me. Thanks.