Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Key Question

One of the hardest things to deal with in Complex PTSD for the injured and their loved ones is emotional flashbacks.

Marcy and I have devised a few techniques over the last week or so to awaken me from these free floating pains and anxieties from the past.

First, we have created a safe haven for me in a prayer and meditation space that is dedicated to Mary.  I sit there three times a day and ask for help and guidance and strength or to have bad dreams removed or to sleep better...whatever it is that I am needing.

Remember, I am a believer and so this works for me.  I think it's super important that everyone who suffers from C-PTSD find something they can believe in besides their pain and their brains.

Second, we have purchased a comfortable blanket that is just mine.  This sounds silly, but emotional flashbacks make us feel very small and very unsafe.  Having something to hold onto, literally, can help in the worst of times.

And finally, we have come up with the Key Question.

This question would be different for everyone but also very much the same, I think, since Complex PTSD always comes down to feeling unsafe in the present because we are confusing it with the past.  Well, our brains are confusing it with the past.

This question is a KEY in that it can unlock our frozen fear and walk us through the door into our current, adult life.

The question that Marcy asks me when it is apparent that I am not present is:

What are you afraid of right now?

We are new to this path, so I know that over time, we will just get better and better at this, and we will be sharing with you as we go.

(Feel free to ask any questions about all of this.  Marcy and I would love to help other couples learn to cope.)


Linnea said...

I'll definitely share this with my husband when he comes home. When I saw the Key Question, my intuition whispered, "yes." Clearly, we need one.

I don't think the idea of the blanket is silly at all. When I first started having panic episodes in my teens, I'd hold onto my left index finger with my left thumbnail. I long since stopped doing that (though I have a permanent callus on my index finger), but looking back I know I was literally trying to hold myself together through the waves of panic. A mantle of comfort would have been glorious.

Please let us know how things are going for you (as much as you want to share, of course).

Linda-Sama said...

are there any Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioners in your area, christine? I completed levels 1 and PR, we don't try to "fix" you, you "fix" yourself through "talk therapy"...there are two basic questions we ask:

"what's happening now?"

"tell me more"

from my website:

Ellen said...

Seems like a good three-step plan. I really like the idea of the 'safe space' imbued with good energy, and the special blanket.

Christine Claire Reed said...

It's nice that my readers just "get" the blanket thing. :)

And Linda, I don't think we have a Phoenix Rising person around here. I'll dig around a bit, because after looking at your site and theirs, I'm totally interested in some training. :)

Linda-Sama said...

email me if you have any questions because I decided NOT to do Level 3 training...but that has nothing to do with PRYT itself

Susan said...

You plan is spectacular Christine and it is vital to learn how to cope and "get through" those moments. May you find strength as you travel this path. :)

Karen D said...

I sooooo get the blanket thing and I have a favorite one also.. for me even in the summer heat I have to be covered, even if it is just a sheet.. for years I slept with my clothes on (not PJ's but the clothes I wore that day) like I was always on alert for something.. and doors...hate them.. took all the doors out of my house, people thing it is weird but I don't care, I need to see what is coming.. I am not sure what it all means and I am working on it but I am starting to really connect with what you are saying here. I also like what you say about having something to believe in besides your pain and brain. My brain just spirals because I have such a hard time remembering things from my childhood, I get stuck in what, why, where, when alot. I have been drawn to Mary in the past and she seems like a wonderful mother figure I could turn to.


Karen D said...

PS: I did leave the door to the bathroom on! ;-)