Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about moving forward in your healing journey - or how to know if you are or not. As in “Am I slowing down because I need to or am I just lazy?” That is a good question that likely many asked themselves - including me.
Since pacing and managing your energy is such a crucial point - it is important that we know. So let us talk about it.
I usually say in my podcast, that you should slow down and take a break. More so than the other way around. The reason is rather simple. The curing from PTSD is a hell of a marathon and everyone wants to be done with it as soon as possible.
Which includes me and the reason I feel like I have to. But while I have briefly broached the subject - I never really went into the question how you know you are moving forward. Which is a rather important point.
Of course I will once again only make more general statements - as this topic of course depends on many factors. As usual. One of them being the size of the topic and of course your situation in general.
If everything is on fire there is simply less movement. In general it is always best to have a sort of diary - as it is the best way to document your progress and compare yourself to your past self. As mentioned before.
BUT I of course understand why people can’t do that and that it even can be dangerous to have these thoughts lying around. The good news is, that it isn’t needed. This comparison is a lot easier to make - you just need to know where to look.
First we talk about having the same response, then trigger response despite making progress and about one trigger not moving forward does not mean no progress.
Having the same response
One of the easiest ways to figure out if you are stuck is by checking if you keep having the same response. Be it a trigger, trauma, behavior, outbursts, emotions, opinions and so on. That also includes your dreams. Especially dreams.
If you keep having the same dream again and again - that means you are probably stuck. And I mean the same dream. Not just the same topic - for example about the family relative you lost. Like seeing them in different settings and situations is the same topic.
If situation and setting remain the same - you are likely stuck. During our healing journey we resolve issues by taking them apart from multiple angles - so it is completely normal to be stuck at the same topic for a while. Which makes it a lot easier to figure out.
All you need to do is see if your response to something changed. Even just slightly. As long as that happens - you are moving forward. Even if you are taking a break. Usually the strongest noticeable change happens during breaks - as we talked about recently.
Did a song or movie or the like make you cry? Go back and see if your response changed. Which is one of the easiest way to check if you made progress.
Trigger response despite making progress
It is also important to note, that just because a topic is still a trigger to you - that it doesn’t mean you are not making progress. Some triggers are just huge or have very deep roots or the like. Sometimes the removal just takes a lot of time.
That is the moment you have to be more precise and look for details. Did something change? Did my reaction change? Do some variations of the topic don’t trigger me anymore or differently?
It is best to break down a big topic into smaller pieces to see progress faster - if you can that is. Otherwise it is wise to write down your reactions and come back after a while and see if anything changed.
One trigger not moving forward does not mean no progress
Then there is the point where the trigger truly isn’t moving forward a bit, but that doesn’t mean there is no progress. We sadly don’t get to decide when our brain works on which problem. Often we can’t see which one is being worked on until there is change.
Sometimes there is a good reason for that - for example when the trigger is buried under other topics. This way we can see the issue but have no way of resolving it. Our brain does not work like on an office schedule.
It does what it does, when it does and whatever way it does it. So it is completely normal for your brain to pick up topics and working on them when you are not even aware that those were actually an issue in the first place.
That is why it is so important to give the brain some space to do the thing and just regularly check if something changes. Or be attentive and on the lookout to things around you having or starting to have a different affect on you.
Circle logic, self pity, self fulfilling prophecies and the like are your worst enemies and the reason you need to check. Because usually as long the brain has the tools it usually tries to seek out the problems and removes them.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/podcast/ and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.