Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode I will talk about what might help you through your darker moments and signs you are getting better or healed.
I wanted to try a more positive episode, after the last ones have been rather hard. After this we will go more into more practical territory again.
For this episode I first want you to give you some tips how to get through the darker moment and what ways you can see you are getting better.
The last episodes made me realize that I viewed my position in a wrong way… so I try to be more than a mere explainer of a method.
I also realized the last episodes were a bit negative and heavy, so I am trying to focus more on positive aspects and support. And do not worry: Healing isn’t linear. It is okay to sometimes fall a bit back.
I think the saying is 2 steps forward - 1 step back. As long you keep on moving you will get there eventually.
I know how desperate you can get during the worse times of this nightmare - and that you sometimes just need someone to tell you everything is going to be alright.
So first I want to tell you what helped me get through my darkest moment, signs you are getting better, signs you are healed and the difference between healed and cured.
What helped me get through my darkest moment
Well, to be honest I did get inspiration from Harry Potter for this. A little back story. You might think of the movies and books what you will, but Rowling nailed the description of deep Depression with the Dementors.
And pretty well the empty feeling of PTSD as well. Those things guard a prison by keeping the prisoners in a state of deep depression, the reason no one could escape, as all happy thoughts were sucked out of them.
But one figured out they could only block happy thoughts. The thought I was innocent, was not a happy thought.
So it still gave him enough energy to survive those years, stay sane and gather enough energy to escape.
I did the same thing, but my line was ‘It will pass’. Not a happy thought, as it HASN’T passed yet and no information WHEN it will pass. Another translation could be “it will be over”, but that is even more inaccurate.
Es geht vorbei - in case you can speak German. Everything passes, the good and the bad. That is good. Because as bad it is, that good things pass, it means the bad things will inevitable pass.
This will not make you smile, but it can be your sheet anchor you can rely on, in case the sea gets rough. Of course this might not be the right sentence for you - you are free to create your own.
Just remember it is not allowed to be happy or attached to anything good. Just a matter of fact.
Depression and PTSD will turn and twist everything to your disadvantage, that makes a stereotypical mean wife look tame.
But they can’t change facts or truths, that is why they are also so important and the key to defeating the illness - as it the only thing able to reach it without being changed.
Only the truth will set you free.
Signs that you are getting better
There are signs you ARE getting better and more free. Imagine your psyche being a person caught in a net or a set of strings, the more free wiggle room you have - the better you can free yourself from it.
But in the beginning - you can barely move - if at all. So what are the signs you are getting better?
Well first I noticed the intensity of my symptoms lessened. Yes the symptoms have kind of a cycle - like moon - where it goes up and down in a rhythm, but the ups got slightly higher and the lows not as low.
I mentioned stock market trend lines as a good resemblance of that. A good way to compare it - is either looking back or writing down the symptoms intensity on a scale.
Second I noticed I was able to make better choices. My choices now lead to way fewer times backfiring or harming me or causing me even more trouble. It was like getting out of a fog… a form of clarity in the brain.
It is like before something was blocking your brain from making specific decisions… and suddenly you are faster and better at decision making. Thinking is so much easier.
Thirdly, I must say, the best way to see if I am getting better is my sleeping pattern. As soon as it escalated I knew… something is wrong. From up to getting 12h too late to bed, everything inbetween is possible.
There is of course also the quality of the sleep. Do I sleep 12h and still feel like I haven’t slept at all and was beaten in my sleep? Then I am clearly not well.
So how ‘refreshed’ you feel in the morning is also an indicator.
Fourthly, I noticed that suddenly I just could do things. Usually it would take me ages to get myself to fill the dishwasher, but suddenly I got it done… later even immediately and had even energy to do more.
It wasn’t like I felt much different energy wise, but suddenly I could do things with the energy I had - even if it wasn’t much. So if you can do more? That is a good sign.
Fifthly, and this is VERY important, I felt love again. Emotions are also attacked by PTSD… everything is dull, that includes our emotions for people. Your heart is filling with joy of the thought of seeing someone?
That is a good sign. Even one of my closest relationship felt like a distant acquaintance. So finally feeling emotions and relationship feelings is a good sign you are getting better.
It is incredible what this nightmare takes away from you.
First signs of being healed
We have just had the signs we are getting better, but what are signs you are being healed - but not yet cured? It is a safe assumption that the signs you are getting better can be used as well.
So no more symptoms, always making better choices, a complete normal sleeping pattern, just be able to do stuff without problem and easily feel love and loved. No surprises here.
I would also add, that the stress level is greatly reduced and curve ball coming out of nowhere can be managed quite alright. You can appreciate and absorb beauty.
This is also the point where your brain should stop working against you at - every - turn. Your energy level is significantly increased.
You get your quality of life improvements: Food tastes again, you are in mood for something, emotions aren’t damped anymore, body feels like your own again and so on.
Important are the lack of flashbacks and other typical symptoms are no longer present. If this status persist over several months you are officially considered PTSD free.
Difference between healed and cured
Now you might be wondering, why I used the word healed and not cured? Well healed means you reduced PTSD to a rubble, but cured means it is gone.
That means you can stomp on your trigger, without being truly disturbed. But there is a stronger sign I want to point out: Peace. The feeling of utter peace and relaxation. No more fear. Truly resting in yourself.
I mean not calm, calm you get by healed. I talk about true and deep peace. The peace that lets you know you could life an eternity with yourself.
It is possible, but a long path and I am deeply convinced, that everyone can take it… if they have enough time left. The path from healed to cured isn’t all too long, but you have to walk it.
Otherwise you are like the villain in those superhero movies, who walks away from an almost dead superhero and thinks, that this will never bite him in the butt. And we are smarter than that, right?
I know that for many this seems so impossible far away and unreachable, but I can assure you it is possible. Just focus on the next section on your path and keep on moving. You will get there.
I recently realized, that I mentioned my arms, but not what I mean by that. Well the beating I received - seemed to have more long lasting consequences than I thought: My arms nerves seem to be damaged.
Through coincidence I realized that my fingers are kind of numb, my feet are giving me more input than my fingers. And then I went investigating.
While demonstrating the problem I overdid it and we had to go to the hospital. Well it seems they are either dead, “deactivated” or damaged… a measuring of it was supposed to give the answer.
I was told to go to my neurologist, but because of the move and all - it did not happen. Luckily surgeon was never my dream job, as I can hardly control my arm and hand motions.
I AM scared of loosing my arms totally, but I also think it would be temporarily - because medicine is making incredible strides - but I REALLY hope it doesn’t get this far.
And that was it for todays episode - I am still trying to fully understand the role I am in now, but I honestly hope that this episode will help you through dark times … or at least give you hope or something to aim for.
I know it can be terrifying, but you are not alone and the dark times are not as powerful as they like to appear. Breathe, take it easy and step by step.
I plan to return to the more PTSD side of things. I have a long list of topics I can and want to talk about.
As usual, 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.