The goal of the PTSD-Identity is to destroy any hope I have of peace. While PTSD wounds my own soul, it also strives to damage the peace of those around me so they will give up on me, reject me, and just let me go into isolation and die. The PTSD-Identity can manifest some very ugly behaviors and try to convince people to abandon me. To love someone with PTSD takes a special, exponential, love. PTSD wants me to despair and give up on myself.
In an earlier essay, Can I Have PTSD and Ever Be at Peace?, we discussed that peace is more than just the lack of physical violence. Indeed, peace is a series of properly ordered relationships (Self, God, Communities, and the Creation). In this post, the PTSD Spirituality blog will discuss how important it is to be at peace with myself.
A Properly Ordered Relationship with Myself.
We introduced the four right relationships of peace in the earlier post on peace and the soul wound of PTSD. One of them is that I have a right relationship with myself, that I realize my self-worth.
When I say this I am not talking about what the modern self-esteem movement teaches kids to say: “I Am, therefore, I am Right!” I am speaking about a serious, deep sense of one’s own core value, one’s own place in the cosmos.
As we have mentioned elsewhere, the goal of PTSD is to kill you. Twice as many Vietnam veterans have killed themselves as there were ever American troops killed on the battlefields of Vietnam. PTSD suicides from soldiers who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan remain at a high level. PTSD wants us to kill ourselves either quick through a suicide or slow through drinking, drugs, and reckless behaviors.
The temptation to suicide is also a real risk for those who have survived rapes, assaults, and molestations by, priests, clergy, or teachers. PTSD suicide is not only something that applies to active military and veterans.
PTSD Soul Wounds Cause Despair
Anyone whose soul has been wounded by PTSD-producing trauma can be at risk of suicide. This is because PTSD leads to despair and intense doubts about our self worth. If our despair becomes deep enough, or we believe we have no value, or believe we are irredeemably tainted by our own actions or the actions of others, then the PTSD-Identity will try to convince us our life is worthless and should end.
Our despair may cause us to try and kill ourselves directly through suicide. Or, our PTSD-Identity may try to kill us indirectly or slowly through drugs, alcohol, adultery, porn, and reckless behaviors.
Despair Cheats Us Into Seeking a False Aliveness
The effects of PTSD induced despair cause us to feel empty, alone, numb, feeling “not alive.” PTSD sufferers then try to “feel alive” again through destructive means. One of the symptoms is to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Many also try to feel at least something by chasing thrills and risky behavior. Also common is spousal infidelity and promiscuity. They engage in reckless sex to feel alive – if only for a moment. Promiscuity always fails in the long run and makes the despair worse. It also damages those around us, including our partners in promiscuity.
Trying to feel alive, many people will do things that end up getting them killed. Part of the solution for them is to realize and integrate into their self-awareness that they have real value.
We can keep from killing ourselves if we learn our true inherent value.
Click this link for more on how we struggle to feel alive with PTSD through reckless sex and how that struggle can harm us.
In our next installment on PTSD and Being at Peace with Myself, we will examine how Genesis, chapter one, speaks to the basic fact that we possess an inherent value. No matter what, we are valuable.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z