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PTSD is Like... My Effective Strategy to Cope With My PTSD

Discussion in 'General' started by kimG, Sep 3, 2006.

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  1. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    I know this sounds like the line from Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates..." But it came to my mind yesterday as I was outside.

    I went out (in my nightgown, mind you) meaning to get the mail from the mailbox at the end of the driveway. On my way I noticed that the cowpeas needed to be picked (cowpeas are black-eye peas - delicious but even more so when they are fresh! One of the few things I can get to grow besides weeds...), so I began picking them. Then I noticed that there was a massive amount of weeds that had to be picked too, before I could find all the pea pods that were ready. So I began pulling them. Mind you, it was drizzling rain, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto was making its way up the east coast...

    I finally picked all the pods that were ready and decided that since I had the energy to do so, I should just go ahead and pull all the weeds, as I had neglected our mini-garden (peas and tomatoes) all summer and it now was to the point of chaos. After all, if I waited just one minute more I'd probably not only get sidetracked with something else, but I'd lose my energy too; you know, one of the many PTSD things...

    Now here's where my relevation comes in...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    PTSD is like a garden.

    Once we have a garden planted, if we tend to it, it'll produce good things.
    Once we have PTSD, if we tend to ourselves, facing our trauma, we'll do good things, feel good things, etc. We will produce.

    If we leave a garden go and don't do anything to it, weeds will take over and almost smother out anything we planted.
    If we leave ourselves alone after the trauma our "weeds" will take over our mind and almost smother the life out of us.

    Once we begin to tend to our garden, we see progress. The seeds sprout, leaves grow, veggies and fruits are produced. Little things like sprouting seeds and growing leaves turn into big things like the fruits, veggies, and flowers.
    Once we begin to tend to ourselves, we see progress. Little accomplishments turn into bigger accomplishments which, in turn, result in big progress.

    We can't totally keep the weeds out. Sure we can use weed killer, but it might kill the good plants and those little buggers always find their way back in. We can pull them, but for some of them, if we don't get the entire root they will grow back. We can use barriers and mulch, which will deter a lot of weeds from growing, but some still persist, although they are easier to pull out, roots and all.
    With PTSD we can't totally keep the "weeds" out either. We can only tend to them. We can't be cured of it; we can only control it, much like the weeds in our garden. If we use "weed killer" (i.e. drugs), we often end up with unwanted side effects. We try to pick the "weeds" by pushing them to the farthest corners of our minds, trying to forget about them but they always come back with a vengence. Therapy is our mulch. It doesn't keep away all the "weeds", but the ones that do return are easier to deal with.

    Once we begin tend to our garden year after year, it gets easier to know how to make it the best garden we can, to grow the best fruit, veggies, and flowers we can. Although it will get easier, we will still have weeds to take care of. But we'll have the knowledge we need to effectively treat and control them.
    Once we begin to tend our PTSD garden, it will get easier year after year. Yes, we will still have "weeds" to contend with, but the knowledge we will have will make it easier to treat and control them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    I did get my garden weeded, even in the rain. It was good therapy too. With each weed I pulled, I thought of all the things that happened to me as a kid, growing up with an abusive mother and brother. I grabbed a handful of crabgrass and pulled, thinking of the time my brother threw me up against the wall. I pulled a chunk of grass-like weeds pretending they were my mother when she beat the crap out of me so bad I could hardly walk. The leaves broke off and I realized I had to get the roots and all or they would just grow back. Perhaps that was my way of dealing with it, that I had to get the roots so they wouldn't hurt me anymore. When the roots would come out in a clump of dirt, I banged it against the brick wall to knock the dirt off, thinking the entire time that this was what I wanted to do to my mother and brother! I did this for about 2 hours, even with my girls there helping me, and it felt SO good! And, I must've been a sight to see...when I was finished, I went inside covered in mud...but smiling!

    Happy gardening, every one!:smile:
     
    zaniara and piglet like this.
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  3. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    Oh...and I am SO sore today...legs, lower back, glutes...

    But it feels SO good...

    Try it some time!
     
  4. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you had a great time Kim! A brilliant analogy too - gardening is great for the soul!
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Kim... do you know what you just did?

    I can't wait for you to answer that, so here it is. You just found your effective strategy to relate everything you have read and learnt already, into terms you can now relate too and apply. You have just learnt, that by going out and doing your gardening, you are now going to process your trauma, now taking what you know and applying it to a technique suitable to you. You just discovered the full power of healing with your PTSD... unbelievably well done.

    Now... please go do more gardening and continue what you just wrote about above... thinking your trauma through as you weed, including the banging of the roots against the wall to get the dirt off. Absolutely well done...
     
  6. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    LOL Anthony. Did it make sense? I am not a writer at all, in fact I hated grammar, writing, and everything language-arts related except spelling (because that was pure memory, which I don't seem to have much of anymore). I write like I talk, which sometimes is so scattered that I'm afraid I have ADD or the like...

    I did come in and tell Warren about it; his comment was "How profound."

    It was the realization of it all that kept me going. The more I pulled..well, I don't know how to describe it. I'd like to say that a sense of calm and peace came over me, but I don't think that was it at all. More of an enlightenment.

    Now if I only had a few acres to weed...:rofl:
     
  7. Farmer

    Farmer Active Member

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    I've got a big garden that you can come weed anytime.:)
    Maybe you could write a self help book ( weed your troubles away)
     
  8. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    :rofl: ROFLMAO!!:rofl:
     
  9. Anonymous1

    Anonymous1 New Member

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    Here's another gardener chiming in...well done, KimG!

    I so agree that the healing part doesn't just come from the lovely flowers and delicious produce that make us feel good; but ripping the heck out of the pesky weeds! Imagining my tormentors as crab grass really sounds like a great idea.

    I can vent a lot of anger while mowing the lawn too - my least favorite thing to do! Hmmm. You've really started something here!
     
  10. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    I love to mow the lawn, but I've been told I have a cianide thumb.
     
  11. Anonymous1

    Anonymous1 New Member

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    See, this is why we make a great community! It takes all kinds. Can you see our commune now? Nam gets to mow, KimG gets to weed and Farmer and I will grow the stuff. Deal? :) ...
     
  12. Farmer

    Farmer Active Member

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    It's a deal :)
     
  13. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    Hey...sounds great to me!
     
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