Episode 18 - Shame (I)

Intro
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 Shame, first as something that makes your everyday hard, then in the next episode we move on to get deeper into the topic of shame until we get to shame as a trigger core.
It is a topic that keeps lips sealed and wounds open and helps the tormentor as a useful tool - so it is important that we talk about it.
Before we even start this episode I want to say that no one deserves to be humiliated and shamed… especially if they confess something that is a deep wound to them.
Shame is important for a mistake we did and shouldn’t have done, it is in our responsibility to act then accordingly and try to make up for what we did wrong. But it also is sadly used as a tool.

Preamble
While I was communicating with several people with PTSD via chats and forums - one topic kept coming up: Shame. In several types and shapes. May it be as a tool used, a form of punishment or just as a side effect.
We are going to start from small to big, that means: We first talk about shame about your current situation and then shame about telling it to someone in this episode. 
Then in the next episode we talk about shame because of the reactions, then shame about what you did and then shame about what happened to you.
After that we will probably talk about how shame is used a method to silence people.

Shame: Current situation - Status
I think I will hit close to home with shame about your current situation, if you are affected by PTSD. Even though it is usually not your fault, as PTSD tends to completely change your life.
It is bad enough as is it, but it is even worse, when you see everyone moving forward and you’re… kind of standing still.
The worst part for me was, I actually couldn’t even give a good reason…. It is hard to put in words what happens during the healing phase. So actually the honest answer to “What are you doing so?” was “I don’t know”.
The questions about that was one part why I stopped meeting strangers. Though later I settled with “I am recovering from a severe illness”… which took me longer than I want to admit to come up with.
When you have basically nothing to do, because you can’t, you also have a lot of time about thinking how miserable you are at the moment. Which makes it all just worse. So I feel you - strongly.
But it isn’t your fault. You are sick, sadly not visibly so. An open wound you can show around and people can see the progress… but with PTSD… what can they see? I filled the dishwasher twice this week? - Rather not.
You might even remember a time when you COULD do more… and can offer no explanation why you can’t anymore.
It is like you are walking in a storm, as if it isn’t hard enough to move AT ALL - you occasionally get hit by something that the storm brought out of nowhere.

Shame: Current situation - Take your time
I would like to remind everyone to remember, if they can, the last time they recovered from something big - like an operation, mourning, severe illness and the like. You were just exhausted and done.
The same applies here… I know how hard it is, but take your time. You have such limited amounts of energy in your state, that if you move to fast you just get exhausted and your symptoms will get worse.
Your life story is your own, you don’t need to compare it to anyone. Just to yourself. Don’t think about what the other can do and you can’t… but what you done in the last months to years.
You don’t know the other person life, think about the person you know best… and how little you still know about them. How can you value the lives of others by brief glimpse of their life?
Studies have shown that woman who regularly look into fashion magazine are more unhappy with their body and it harms their mental health.
Social media also spreads unhappiness because of the constant comparing and some other things - as people see a glimpse of the others person life and think they are living the perfect life.
I recommend finding people to talk with… or chat with… especially online has a lot of opportunities… often with people in similar situations who usually respect privacy.
It can be so helpful to have someone to talk to… about anything! Also this gives you positive experiences and feedback, also very valuable.
Your life might be in need of improving, but you are working on it and that is all anyone can ask of you - there is absolutely no reason for you to feel ashamed. You get where you want to go - one step at a time.

Shame: Telling it to someone - The doubts
Another thing many struggle with, is, to tell anyone what is happening or their recent situation. They are often too ashamed about what happen and what the reaction will be. To the second part we get soon.
But first let us focus about being too ashamed to tell anyone. It is no surprise… having a trauma is like a defeat… it is not something you want to spread and make everyone aware of.
Secondly there is often the doubt… DID it really happen? Am I imagining things? Am I sure I am not being overly dramatic? Maybe that is a problem everyone had and it is no big deal.
Especially if ridicule was part of the traumatic experience or growing up - speaking up can become this insane hurdle, that makes speaking about it almost impossible. It is like the lips are sealed.
And no matter how much you shout form the inside - you just don’t seem to be able to get it out. It is something very hard to unlearn.

Shame: Telling it to someone - Your rights
But first before we get into the why, lets make one thing crystal clear: You DON’T have to tell anyone anything you don’t want to. We talked about that in communicating PTSD with family members.
It is perfectly fine for your to say, that you are recovering from your illness or that you can’t work for health reason. If anyone wants details, say you are uncomfortable to disclose them.
I think you might be surprised how well that works. You don’t own anyone anything, not an explanation, nor do you need to justify yourself. Your health is your private thing.
Secondly, you are doing nothing shameful. Why is it shameful to tell anyone about it? You have the right as much as anyone else to say what is weighing on your soul.
They have no right to talk down to you for it. You are not being stupid, arrogant, selfish or any other word they used to silence you. Why would you be?
The only people who would want you to remain silent, are the ones harming you. Those who care, care about how the others feelings are and care about their wellbeing.
You have a voice. And it is your right to speak as much as does everyone else. Your voice is as important as is everyone else's. Why wouldn’t it be? You are as important as everybody else.

Private Words
I apologize for the shorter episode and presumably my voice, I am not sure what I caught, but it is really hard to get rid of and very disrupting.
Besides that, most residents of my building complex and the neighboring ones are coming back, as they are mostly students and their semester is starting very soon.
I rather enjoy being surrounded by them, as they have a pretty much live and let live philosophy and shrug just with their shoulders if they see me behaving uncommonly.
They aren’t really behaving commonly or typical as well… they just started living on their own… and it’s a wonderful thing to watch.
Though I have to admit, listen to some of their worries or thoughts, when I walk past them to go with my dog, are rather amusing to me. Oh my dear… it feels like a century when I was in their shoes.
I wish them the best for their path and journey.

Outro
That was it for todays episode, next week we get deeper into this topic and I hope it helped you get insight and be at least a bit freed of this sort of shame.
If you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at contactme@johannadraconis.com.
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.

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