Episode 50 - The up and downs of healing

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 the up and down of the healing progress, which can be at times rather frustrating. Sadly, it is part of healing, no matter what kind of healing.
It can be a wound, concussion, bruise, psychological or whatever. Anything. As long as it interacts with life it will have the up and downs typical of healing. So time to talk a bit about it.

Prelude
Who hadn’t one of those days, were you were SO good, it felt like you are going to be healed within a short period of time and then the next day happens and you wonder if you are even able to eat. I had several of them.
It often feels like a hamster wheel, where you just don’t seem to be able to get anywhere. The thing is, with the physical healing process we can SEE things. We SEE a wound changing.
We can point to the fresh scar still visible. We can show people our bruises. But what do we do with psychological ones? Trust me it’s there? It becomes especially hard if people demand concrete answers how it is going.
Well, I guess? How does one describe something, that neither party can see, will ever see or has ever been seen by anyone? Let us get a brain scan to check? How do you describe your status?
Not just to others, but also to yourself? What words can one use to describe those weird feelings you feel? That makes it all harder. Of course I can’t give names to your feelings, but I can help you with the up and downs.
To give you a better understanding where you are in your up and down and how it is going with your healing process. Maybe help you prepare appropriately. So, first we ask why we go up and down and then what we can do.

Why do we go up and down?
So, how come we go up and down? Well, that might be hard to believe, but if it isn’t caused by a trigger, then the going down phase is actually something good. Let me explain: There are 2 reasons why you go down.
The one most commonly known is something triggered you and you having a strong reaction. A trigger is like an attack on you and if you don’t know how to counter it, all you can do is retreat and recover as fast as you can.
That is what the up is, which I think is rather obvious, it is you recovering and/or restoring yourself. Depending on how strong the hit or so was, the deeper down you got and the longer it takes to go up again.
Also depends on support, events, other trigger and the like, that influence the speed of healing. But what is the second going down that is good? Remember me using the metaphor of your soul as a garage?
And that your trauma is like packages all piled up in it? Well, the second way of going down is your brain clearing up a bit of space and opening one of those boxes and getting hit by the content - so to speak.
It means that your brain took a part of the trauma away. Depending how much space it had and what tools, the part it took is smaller or bigger. Afterwards you should heal up higher than you were before the opening.
But because that amount is usually not really feel able, especially after you just digged yourself out of a hole and who remembers how high the ground was before you fell? So you most likely won’t notice.
So the only way to actually see it, is by looking back into a quite distant past. This up and downs continues until we are completely free of the boxes, but the more boxes are missing, the easier it gets.
That means along the process, the worst days will be still better than your earlier best days.

What can we do?
So, what can we do regarding our healing progress? A few things.  First we can make a sort of diary, or at least a table, with how good or bad our day was and what we were and weren’t able to do.
Maybe a general statement from you of your outlook on the situation and you feel like it is going. This way you can see and read up how much you have changed and read what hasn’t changed.
This can be a good starting point to discover sleeper traumas, which I get into another time.
Second, prepare mentally for the the darkest phase. Usually just before it goes up again, you are at your worst. It is true, it is the darkest before dawn. And you will be the most miserable just when you are about to heal.
I can confirm that myself with many, many instances I went through. I sometimes try to aim to sleep right beforehand to skip it as much as possible, but that is very tricky to pull off.
It is absolutely crucial to have a strategy to dampen the negative and devastating effects. Be it a mantra, grounding technique, whatever works for you. But be aware that you might not be able to do anything in this phase.
Third, learn to ride those waves. If you are in the healing progress they will basically come non-stop and might even overlaps at times. Like any good sailor, it is wise to get used to rhythm of the waves.
It will let you know when to brace and when to move. It takes a bit of experience and trying, but if you can estimate when what phase hits, your recovery speed WILL increase.
Last but not least: Don’t be too hard on yourself. I know it feels incredible slow, but it really isn’t about speed - it is about consistency. Take a deep breath and take it one step at a time. You get there.

Private words
I first want to say thank you for listening, we reached the milestone of 50 episodes, which is just mind boggling. It has almost been a year since I uploaded the first episode and a LOT has changed since then.
First and foremost how I view the podcast, I since have tried to change to adapt the podcast to the many topics and question people with PTSD have and not just give the strict guideline how to deal with it.
The funny thing is, my most listened to episode, the second one titled “PTSD and it’s symptoms” I first didn’t want to record, because I thought no one would be interested in it, because it was very basic knowledge.
It was very wrong of me to assume that. I understand that now. The lack of general knowledge on this topic is disturbing, not just the public, but also from medical personnel. As I sadly learned from my surrounding.
So where we go from here? I will within the next week open the section for therapy, so I can provide more direct help. How I do that will be available to read on the homepage, which I quite reworked a bit.
And since most peoples listening behavior has changed, I also plan to do a video version of my podcasts - most likely by recording myself while I record the podcast. I am curious what you all think about that.
Of course I will continue to try to give answers to question and show the way out of that absolute nightmare. Thank you again for listening and making my work not be in vane.

Outro
That was it for todays episode, I hoped you liked it. I can only encourage you to ask me as many questions as possible, as it really helps me enormously in finding the next topic and shaping my podcast.
So please, 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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