We were having a great discussion on trauma, and I posted these questions. What kind of traumatic experiences have you had? How long ago did it feel like it happened? When you answer that question it may become clear to you that trauma and PTSD is a disorder of memory. I asked the question, “How long ago does it feel like it happened?” Many people say it feels like yesterday, last week, last month. If it’s a traumatic memory, it doesn’t matter how long ago it actually happened. The memory is always going to feel a lot closer in time and also a lot closer in perspective. A lot closer than it should be, because the principle is this. Memories fade with time. If your memory’s not fading with time, it tells you something. It tells you that the memory itself is not behaving like a normal memory, and that’s our problem.
There are basically three legs on the stool of trauma and PTSD. The first leg is avoidance. The second leg is intrusive mental imagery, and the third leg is hyper-arousal. Your body’s physically aroused, so you feel really, really stressed and anxious and panicky, etc.
The thing I want to flag up today is this. When I was working in the Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service, and PTSD and trauma is my specialty, many, many times people would struggle with traumatic experiences. They come in to the NHS, and one of the first questions they really have, although they wouldn’t really want to ask the question, is this. They’d want to know if they’re going mad. The reason they’d want to know if they’re going mad is because it seems so crazy to them that something that happened a long time ago still feels like yesterday and it’s still disrupting and ruining their life. I met so many people who are so relieved to know that they were not going mad, because they’re experiencing the negative effects of a traumatic event.
What we need to do is this. We need to separate out the event from who you are. Now, recall this. People would say, “I thought I was going mad,” after I’ve explained the nature of traumatic experiences. “I thought I was going mad,” meant that they themselves were the problem. Going mad is the problem. They were the problem. I want to flag this up to you today. You are not the problem, but you have a problem. Let’s turn this around. I am not the problem, but I have a problem.
Now, how many of you can say that you believe that? I am not the problem, but I have a problem. If you don’t believe that, then that is an element of what you’re struggling with. So say this ‘I am not the problem, but I have a problem’. How true does that feel? Zero it’s not at all true. Seven it’s completely true. Let’s start to unpick this aspect of trauma that makes you think that you are the problem rather than you have a problem that you just don’t know how to overcome. So I am not the problem, but I have a problem.
A lovely person learned to transform their experience from ‘not happy’ to feeling empowered and with a little guidance they turned it right around. Here is what they wrote to me.
‘I visited Dr Purves when I was going through a difficult time in my life. There was no real explanation to why I was feeling like I was, however I knew things were not right. I felt extremely anxious within the work environment and it got to the point where I didn’t want to go into the office and work with other people. I blushed if the attention was put on me and I had panic attacks at least 3/4 times a day. It was exhausting and affecting me personally and professionally. I went to see Dr Purves as I couldn’t go on like this. Over the 8 weeks of visiting him he gave me a variety of techniques and made me think about situations differently. I used mantra and visual techniques to change my thoughts which really worked. I practice these daily, and always will to keep on top of any negativity which leads to anxiousness. Anxiety is a horrible, life ruining mental illness which can be overcome. I am much better now and doing well at work, and even pursuing my own business dream. Thank you Dr Purves.’
You to can transform your life. Its just takes a little time and effort. You don’t even need to visit me. You can use my online programs and do all the work at home. She didn’t get a quick fix nor did she expect one. What she got was her life back. What’s that worth to you?
The best part is that the first week is free. Check it out.