Hello, my name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
Today I will talk about something long overdue it seems - the plan of this whole therapy. What the plan is, how it works, what are the steps and hopefully why like this.
Truth be told, this episode should have been the first or second episode - but to be honest, I really thought my healing path was linear as would the therapy plan be. I was wrong.
The more I wrote and the more I tried to make the instructions as broad as possible, the more I realized, that is pretty much the opposite of linear.
In my defense, it IS linear if I make everything for a specific case, but not as an universal instruction.
So today I will explain the strategy of my therapy and how the plan looks like.
And I mean STRATEGY. It is pretty much the basic of any strategy game or the like.
Secure the base ->
defend it ->
create more troops ->
take all the enemy bases out, while keeping your base safe ->
destroy the main base of the enemy and you win. ->
Now the map needs to be restored.
We of course take an extra step with the care afterwards, because unlike in those games, we need to restore the map/landscape. But otherwise it pretty much follows a pattern found in many fields:
Basis - Defensive - Offensive - Aggressive . Afterwards I add rehabilitation and back to life. Now I will explain it step by step and I will be using the example of an fortress to visualize it.
Now our fortress example is a real one with an outer wall and everything. To be precise:
The fortress has the main fort, the throne room is in there and the like. The inner ring, with the sort of village inside, with blacksmith, baker and so on.
A middle ring, where the more common quarters are and a few more shops. The outer ring, with towers and well fortified. In it some fields and the like.
First we start off with Basis. I see it as the basic knowledge about PTSD as seen in the second episode and the third. Just to establish we are on the same level.
This happened during Episode 2, where we talked about “PTSD and its symptoms” and in Episode 3, with explaining trauma. Everything on a base knowledge.
In our example this means the basic knowledge about our fortress and the potential enemy - a shadow army, that unlike normal enemies doesn’t want to claim the fortress for themselves, but just destroy it.
Until there is nothing left.
The shadow army is a mysterious enemy, seemingly spawning endlessly from a cave, using unusual strategy, take nothing, seemingly following no logic.
Everything the shadow army conquered you can’t use anymore. You neither get its resources, nor can you craft/recruit/etc something with it. You first have to reclaim it.
And depending on your state of PTSD, the shadow army made it potentially even to the main fort. Usually a full PTSD breakout is when the outer wall was breached.
Even if you beat them back, the hole in the wall remains. Reminder, that if you loose most of your outer stuff, you won’t get supplies from that and have to life of your stored supplies.
Which makes you less effective and weaker. The more you reclaim, the more supplies you get and the better you can act.
You are, similar to a player character in a strategy game, not attackable - despite the shadow army will try you to convince you otherwise, but can be made basically immobile.
The enemy is expanding and the more they laid claim to, the more limited your movement is. As well your options. Now it is time to find out how to turn the tide.
Second we need to take care of our defenses. This happens when we fight off the attacks of PTSD as effectively as possible and at best prevent the attacks from happening. How to best shield ourselves.
We talked about this in Episode 4 and 5, with “Daily counter measures” and “In case of an emergency”. Or any method you developed to protect you as much as you can.
In our examples this would be the guards, the walls, archers, shields, etc.
Thirdly, we talk about offensive measures. This happens when we use the attacks of PTSD to launch a counter attack, which lays out the basics for our later aggressive strategy.
That happens when we use the attacks of the trigger, to track it down and take it out. Like we talked about in Episode 7 and 8 in “How to remove triggers”.
Under offensive measures, I understand using the attack of the enemy to bite a piece of him, while defending our base still. Also this is the phase where we try to learn ways to take down the enemy.
With triggers it’s using the trigger to take out the root of the trigger and clearing it from the PTSD. This might also give us an opportunity to learn more about the main core of the PTSD.
In our example that would be taking the closest station of the shadow army, where we learn it uses the places it covers to place circles to spawn more minions.
So we learn to follow those minions to spawning points and destroy those and if we can, we try to reclaim the spot that once belonged to us. Most likely the rest of the army works similarly.
We gained valuable insight this way. Also now we can use again what we cleared, no matter how little it is.
Fourthly we talk about aggressive measures, also known as taking down the enemy. Now we become the aggressor and launch attacks at the enemy to wipe him out. But still keeping our defenses up.
This phase lasts as long as there is an enemy left. The base strategy is simple: Take them out base for base, men by men, stone by stone, until nothing is left. Take a breather if needed.
The triggers are showing us the way to get to it, if we don’t happen to stumble on a part of the trauma. The trauma is similar to cancer, it can spread across many places and infects everything around it.
Also it is not one point, it is a structure like a bush, so there are many parts and its not really clear cut. That’s why we take it step by step or stem by stem.
All of this takes long and it’s not wise to rush it. This topic we only talked shortly about in Episode 9 “How to hunt down triggers”.
We now look where the PTSD is hiding and take care of it, after we cleared out the more obvious stuff. With every point cleared you get more energy, clarity and room to breathe.
It IS addicting. But what to attack first? That is the question I can’t answer universally. That depends on your shape and form of PTSD.
I recommend starting small and then keep on going. Whatever you can get. Take it, deconstruct it into smaller pieces you can swallow, and remove it. That also includes the core trauma.
This is important, because to many clearing the field and with most abilities restored - they just stop. But like the cancer, a bush, etc. - the PTSD just regrows slowly and will strike again.
Just keep on going until there is really NOTHING left.
For our example there isn’t too much difference. It is usually most wise to work yourself up from camps to bases to forts, but sometimes you don’t spot them right away.
Which can backfire if they come from the side. That is why you only take the next camp, when you have gathered enough forces and are absolutely sure you can take it.
Be aware that the building you free give you boons. The blacksmith upgrades your weapon and repairs damage, the herbalist heals your troops and so on.
Once you cleared them out of your fortress you need to go on their turf… and figure out where they came from. Search for clues. Then go to the cave, where they spawn endlessly. Find the source… and DESTROY it.
Once again by deconstructing it until you can destroy them or make them neutral, until nothing is left. Only then the army will stop spawning.
This phase takes long - up to many years. Though you usually CAN see the progress, by being able to do more and more, it is exhausting and takes ages. You will need endurance and don’t rush it.
It’s a marathon - its about reaching the goal, not really about getting there first. Try to keep a steady pace.
Fifthly we talk about rehabilitation. The enemy is defeated, roll end credits! But in life the story doesn’t end there. At the end of the road you will most likely just feel exhausted and weird.
Most likely after the first time you reach this phase, you will bounce back into PTSD, because your brain tries to keep the status it knows.
Though it IS completely normal to glide back to PTSD, but the spaces between those should become larger and those PTSD phases should become shorter and shorter. Until they are months apart.
Keep regularly looking for hidden triggers or other nests of PTSD - so you get the full potential back. It is suspicious if a topic or so is somehow draining your energy. Might be worth taking a closer look.
First and foremost I recommend keeping up the daily counter measures, to avoid relapses as much as possible.
Then you will have to restore the parts you destroyed… and replace them with new material. This can either mean very little or very much - once again depending on your PTSD.
You achieve that by see what was damaged - maybe a truth you held in high regard? - and replace it with a undamaged piece.
I got them mostly, by listening others peoples opinion and checking with what I agree and disagree with, until I shaped my own and tested it against other opinions.
Every time re chewing it to make it more accurate. This process might take long into your now PTSD free life - but that is what life is like. Constant change.
Your life will have changed, maybe just a little. But you usually don’t walk away from an experience like this and don’t get changed by it.
Take your time - so you fully recover. You need to be at full health to survive in this world - especially with the harder days to come.
I was surprised myself what all was unlocked. I went from being able to life pain free with assistance to being able to work 50h a week. So really take your time.
Now for our example, the fortress has to be rebuild. Fully, if you plan to keep on living there. So you have to inspect every building, wall, door, etc for damage and repair it.
Priorities on the most important buildings of course. But the enemy is defeated, now you just have to focus on rebuilding.
Though there might be some stragglers of the shadow army, better to check every corner if there isn’t a nest you overlooked.
It just takes 1 man to rebuild the shadow army, so you really need to be careful. Otherwise the fortress slowly rebuilds, as fast as the workers can - partly still limbing.
You need to rebuild everything - especially the holes in the walls, otherwise you are vulnerable to new attacks - not necessarily from shadow army, but all sorts of attackers.
This phase may take a while, but at least you should be now free of most symptoms.
Don’t rush back to everyday life too fast, I know it is very tempting, but similar after cancer - YOU NEED REST.
Really take the time. It is important. You might be surprised how much energy you get back. And slowly return to everyday routine. Build it up - take your time - you have quite a journey behind you.
Back to life
Sixthly we talk about getting back to life. This phase is most likely mostly for long term PTSD survivors. Especially when they suffered the trauma in their childhood and/or from one of the people in a trust position.
We now have to abandon things we held truths, things we learned like behaviors and so - which will take quite a while to unlearn.
Something like “I am useless” or “I deserve this happening to me” or “If I make a mistake, I deserve punishment “ and so on. Alternatively we associate things with specific things.
Like we hear footsteps and have the urge to run. We stay silent, despite wanting to speak. We automatically look down, when we speak to specific people. And so on.
I only can recommend here not to try to unlearn everything at once. Replacing those truth is a lot of work and will take up a lot of your brain space and energy.
You didn’t learn those things over night - so you won’t unlearn them over night. But luckily it is faster to unlearn things, than to learn things. It is important to replace those old rules with good new ones.
I recommend philosophy, intellectual debates (Aka no shouting and insult matches), movies or series, books, comics, whatever helps you find your way in life.
In our example these are rules, we thought to be right and valuable, but turn out the be wrong. Either by proving themselves useless and/or counter productive in reality or by being crafted by someone with bad intent.
Now the people of the fortress need to find new rules and most importantly, they need to make sure they are right this times - without bad influence and adapted to bad time to come.
There will be debates, there will be votes. As it should be. Good things take time.
So to recap:
Defend your position -> if you get the opportunity use an offensive strike to use an PTSD attack against it - most likely via trigger -> keep on pulling trigger until you get to deconstruct the trauma -> restore yourself.
Just a small throw in from me. This has been quite a week, but I finally have somewhat a kitchen back. Cooked here for the first time really today - after living here for almost a month.
This was the most chaotic move I ever participated - and I did quite a few, even one across half of the world. I am just glad that I slowly getting back to a normal daily routine.
ALMOST there! Should be able to do the homepage next week. Still, I apologize for the inconveniences along the way. Should be the last time I need to do that.
And that it for today’s episode - hope the road map is now clear and I thank you for listening and I hope you liked it.
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.