When my wife and I separated we had separation counselling because I wanted to do it in the healthiest way possible, and so we had several sessions with this incredibly bright therapist.
After about the fourth session the therapist said to me, “I’d really love to give some healthy feedback if you’re open to it”.
So I said, “Yes, sure I’m totally open to it”.
She says, “You’ve got undiagnosed PTSD”.
I remember at the time thinking, “Don’t you know who the f*ck I am. I ain’t got PTSD, I just don’t got PSTD. Let me sit with this for a moment”.
I went away and researched PTSD and started to talk to people in treatment with PTSD.
I asked about all the symptoms, what are the episodes like and realised yes, I did have PTSD.
Some of these symptoms include;
- Feeling numb
- Not wanting to talk about or think about the event
- Changing a normal routine to avoid triggering memories
- Staying away from places, people or objects that may trigger memories of the traumatic event
- Negative beliefs about yourself or the world
- Blaming yourself or others unreasonably
- Intense worry, depression, anger or guilt
- No longer enjoying favourite activities
- Becoming emotionally detached from others
- Not being able to experience positive emotions
- Being easily startled
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor concentration
Now, last year during one of our events something in my personal life happened that really triggered me and I had a full blown PTSD episode. I’d never had one before like it, nor since thankfully.
I went into affrofibulation, I had a heart rate of no less than 100 to 120 bpm for the entire three day event.
If you imagine having the worst possible panic attack you can have with your heart pounding out of your chest and your whole body just wants to shut down.
To cope with it I began meditating and I’d start going into the calm and then – bam, my body was so over stimulated it would throw me out of the meditative state, but I persisted.
Now I went on and delivered that event, that NISI, and absolutely crushed it. I used the Users Manual, I persevered with meditation and using the psychology tools. I was regulating like a mother f*cker and I was hyper conscious of possible triggers around me so I was vigilant with keeping my environment ‘clean’ of triggers.
I was very conscious of the language in my head, and the ego, and I just kept on setting the intention to serve.
I kept my talk track going by repeating to myself, “You got this, you can do this, keep pushing. You are an animal you are a beast”.
I just kept asking for help and setting the intention saying, “I’m your tool, I’m your weapon, I’m here to serve. I am your balm, I am yours, use me. Use me for what I’m here to do”.
So I kept on asking for help to serve, saying I’m not here for me, I’m here for them.
Incredibly, based on some of the feedback I got, it was one of the best NISI’s we’ve run.
So there’s nothing new with the approach I took. I just used the tools, and the language that were most supportive for the situation I was in.
Look, the reason I’ve got to where I am and that I’ve got these tools, is because once upon a time I was a kid in a lot of pain, with a lot of problems, and a lot of issues.
I’ve gone on the journey to work this sh*t out because I wanted to heal myself, and I wanted to heal the world.
My best tip on coping with PTSD is using The Users Manual – it got me through.
If that fails there’s heaps of support you can tap into including:
- Beyondblue (PTSD),
- Reachout.com (Acute stress and post-traumatic stress disorders),
- Phoenix Australia (PTSD Guidelines)