For sufferers of PTSD such as veterans of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, childhood sexual and physical abuse, and victims of torture and prison camps, the past refuses to stay in the past but interferes with everyday life, careers, relationships, and health.
Because of the traumas, memories gets buried in special places in the subconscious -- according to Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk (THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE), Pete Walker (COMPLEX PTSD, From SURVIVING to THRIVING), Dr. Judith Herman (TRAUMA AND RECOVERY), Christine A. Courtois (HEALING THE INCEST WOUND and IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU), E. Sue Blume (SECRET SURVIVORS, UNCOVERING INCEST and ITS AFTER-AFFECTS IN WOMEN), and Dr. Judith Lewis Herman, FATHER-DAUGHTER INCEST).
Survivors are often scolded: "Just forget about it. It's in the past."
But survivors are often unable to heal the traumas and are stuck in swirling painful memories that take on physical, mental and emotional characteristics in present time. These can be triggered from small incidents, noises, smells, facial expressions, or even words or actions of well-meaning people.
It can take years or decades of intense effort, therapy, and many therapeutic modalities to heal PTSD and complex PTSD.
The lucky people are those who survive at all. There is a high incidence of mental illness, hospitalization, multiple medications, imprisonment, alcoholism, drug and other addictions, and/or suicide among PTSD sufferers, as they attempt to heal themselves and try to deal with their all-consuming agony.
At the very least survivors may isolate themselves because appearing "normal" when they are not, coupled with the shame, pain and confusion of PTSD, can be overwhelming. It can be easier to drop out of society altogether rather than be judged by others.
There may be hope. A new protocol is being tested in the USA by psychologists using the drug MDMA, coupled with intensive psychotherapy (8 - 10 hours per day for a number of days) to treat and hopefully heal PTSD and complex PTSD. Widespread use of this treatment for patients is estimated for approval around 2021. You can google the non-profit organization MAPS to view their website.
Lauren O. Thyme, Complex PTSD survivor and author of ALTERNATIVES FOR EVERYONE, A guide to non-traditional health care.
Lauren O. Thyme is a spiritual and psychic counselor, healer, channel, lecturer, published writer and poet, professional astrologer, and spiritual pilgrim.