PTSD and Trauma from the Outside Looking In
How would you know if someone you love is suffering from PTSD?
So many of us are not diagnosed… Which is just as well. The medications are really not working for most of the people I am dealing with. Most find that the night terrors and the scatteredness gets worse.
To be clear PTSD and DID go hand in hand. The books try to keep them separate but it’s impossible. Dissociation, DID, is the act of leaving our body. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress, is the result and consequence of what we do while we are out.
I think its super important to kind of create a picture of what life is like for those of you out there in relationship with someone who has PTSD.
Unpredictable. Number one!
It’s like you’re maneuvering a beautiful field that was planted over the top of a mine field. Each bomb has a story spewing with the viral emotion from another time. And everything it touches turns grey. For some it’s like a whole different person shows up and they feel caught in a loop in time where an old circumstance becomes today. The horror plays out just as real and as true as if it were happening now.
Right before your eyes.
Their sleep is interrupted by the night mares… So is yours.
Their days are interrupted by the flashbacks… So is yours.
Sleep? Hypervigilance is her natural state. Bad things happen when your eyes are closed.
And when that microscope is turned on you there is absolutely no winning. You are trapped. You are hunted… Or you are locked out. Those times are no fun! And as time goes on the time in-between the microscope periods are shrinking until you are now somehow the bad guy.
You can’t seem to get in… Or get through.
Just as you feel you’re getting an understanding, the game changes. Everything is different. You find yourself trapped in a movie where the words and the actions don’t match up. You have no idea what the plot is. Someone forgot to give you the script.
You know that feeling. Am I right? Nothing you say is the right thing. Every move you make is the wrong move. There seems to be no way to diffuse the situation.
And you can’t get out.
It’s not you. And they aren’t broken. They are scattered. That feels right. You get the beginning of this sentence the end of that one… their eyes dart around.
This is life in a nutshell. And you love them. So, what if we can look at this in a new and different way.
Now I get it. What is the most pressing seemingly is what is going on in your house today! I get it. But here is something I want to say. I have met and have worked with a lot of people that have PTSD and not one of them has not had childhood hood trauma!
I mean not every soldier comes out of service with PTSD right but out of those that do I venture to guess the number with childhood trauma is through the roof. PTSD is a compounding of trauma. And what the world is seeing as dysfunction is the tipping point!
I would like to in a nut shell explain the process of creating what we refer to as PTSD.
I want to begin this conversation from the foundation of a person’s timeline. Our timeline is built by the culmination of our choices in reference to our circumstances. So, say we were intended to go straight but we got bumped off course. And without even knowing it we are wiggling through the scenic route.
Okay back to the time line. A child say 6 months has a traumatic circumstance with one of her parents. There is lots of yelling. Jerking around. Her safety is not certain. As the situation escalates. She is hit or shaken and it is more than her little brain can process. She has very little control over her body. She is being held in midair. She knows fear. She knows pain and she knows how to get out. She just got here. And from up above she watches. Until she decides not to.
Now we know from quantum physics that alternate realities are real and not just for science fiction. . You know how they used to do cartooning back in the day and as you flipped the pages the image was just ever so slightly different. So, in these realities we are seeing lives created on different choice trajectories. By that I mean life is built from the culmination of our choices. One different choice can change the whole picture of our future.
So back to our baby girl. She rises out of this new-found body of hers and she watches and when things get too much to handle even on that level, she looks around and she finds that a few frames over things are a little more bearable. Not perfect but better. So, in her brilliance she encapsulates the moment in time. The piece of time that houses what cannot be seen and she hops into a reality that she can make sense of.
Do I have your attention? Let’s back track for a moment to the moment in time that she encapsulated.
What is a time loop? A time loop is a phenomenon when some periods of time are repeated and re-experiences by somebody. The person trapped in a time loop is trying to break out this cycle. So…More simply, some events happen, again and again, many times. They can be forever, infinite or the cycle can be broken.
So, this beautiful baby in a horrible situation. At the breaking point, she rises up. Ties off that piece of time and hops over a few frames. Reality hopping, I call it.
Sounds pretty super-hero-ish really. A master of the realm of quantum physics.
But here is the hang up. If the loop freezes time, there is a version of her frozen in there as well. To live that moment over and over again. Molecules of her essence are frozen back in time.
We all know that the childhood stuff just keeps coming. So, what if she did this at 5… at 8. Until loops are up and down her timeline. Again, back to a very literal space. When we have a sweater with snags we are re-snagging it every time we turn around. Until the body of the sweater is all bunched up.
There is very little space between yesterday, 40 years ago and tomorrow.
Now the down side is. Each time she lands in a new reality. She remembers very little. Her memory of the circumstance is staticy. And here they have a different story. Her truth is different. She begins to feel she doesn’t belong she is in the wrong place. She has anxiety. Feelings of abandonment. She feels haunted and hunted and chased. She can’t feel. The people around her claim to have a relationship with her, she knows it in her head, but she can’t feel it.
By the time she is 40 this way of coping with life becomes habit.
She tries to relate to the world around her but she feels disconnected. Away. Empty. Fractured. Severed. Fragmented. Because she is. Really and truly.
Now just for numbers sake I want to call on a study in which a doctor got fascinated by the shift in weight with people before and after death. His conclusion is that the essence of a person weighs 21 grams. So, for the sake of our discussion let’s take that to be true.
She has to be leaving molecules behind in each loop. We only have so many.
It’s not as if she disappears from the equation. It’s like a cyst in your body. A capsule of infection and a little piece of you. A hologram. But still molecules. And these molecules banging around cause heat. Heat… Infection. Explosion.
If you want to talk about exhaustion. How tired are you at the end of the day? Just think if your essence was dispersed between multiple realities. So, while you are tired from living one life her exhaustion comes from trying to live 12.
Back to the unpredictability of life with this person. You never know which version of her is going to show up. Is it the 6-year-old scared and wetting her pants? Is it the 15-year-old. She comes out swinging. Yelling and cursing. Is today a day where the clingy 9-year-old shows up and is jealous and confused?
Observance is key.
1. Is she 6 tying to be 40 and overwhelmed?
2. Be aware of the subtle shifts in how she is displaying and ask yourself or her… How old does she feel?
3. Words don’t really work here. So maybe a meditation bell some sort of subtle sound to pop her back to today. Most are sound sensitive. If not walk away.
4. Don’t probe or badger for information. She is stuck in neutral with the engine running. She has a foot on each, break and gas, at the same time. She has no words for you now.
5. Know and understand that it is not you. You cannot change her. You cannot love her enough to put the pieces back together.
It’s not you!
There is hope. It can be over for everybody. Its fast. It’s easy and it’s over. She created the loops. She hopped through realities and through this space she is going to gather herself back up. The loops drop back down into the timeline. Emotional charge Gone. Today is today and 40 years ago is 40 years ago.
Man, Woman or child. Soldier, domestic violence, sexual violence. PTSD does not discriminate and the process is the same.
If you want it to be over and this rings true for you or someone you love, click here to take the free PTSD assessment?