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Came Up… Elsewhere.


A place to explore themes, topics, & threads… Brought up elsewhere… without hijacking the current thread, or moving to one’s diary for more focused/self-examination.
I think that themes of identity are valuable in their ability to help us frame where certain values, beliefs or behaviors may originate, but they need to be handled with caution as they do not define a person, nor are they the bars of a cage that lock a person in. Too many times I see people grasp a hold of a diagnosis and "that's who I am and explains why I am this way". That's fine as long as they are OK with it, but so many times I see it as a prison that individuals lock themselves into and use to define themselves and their boundaries.

This may be one of my own themes as I HATE someone slapping a label on me and defining who I am and what I can or cannot do by that label. The spine surgeon who told me I would never walk again over a year ago and wanted me to do "pain management". Well mother f*cker, not only am I walking but I rode a horse two weeks ago. Would love to make an appointment just to dance into his office and out!

Themes, diagnosis, and theories can help us to better understand things, but they should never be used to define us as individuals. They should help create a path to recovery and self discovery and not a prison that holds a person back with theoretical prison bars.
Identity was (is) seriously problematic for me. My trauma gave me an identity which wrapped itself up in core beliefs and became pretty unshakeable.

So, building up a new self concept has been a huge part of my recovery. No way around it. I couldn’t move away from the self-loathing that was killing me till I learned that I wasn’t that person.

The obvious problem with learning to accept “I’m not that person” is …who am I, then?

That’s a question that loads of us struggle with. It’s not limited to ptsd, but if you add ptsd to that problem, then it can be incredibly difficult to function alongside. Avoidance symptoms are great for coping, but you can’t avoid yourself. Problematic core beliefs very often circle back to issues relating to self concept and identity.

I still don’t have a comprehensive answer to the question Who Am I?. But I’m starting to accept who I’m not, and take in pieces of who I might be. Which is satisfactory for me for now.

For me? It was partially talk therapy that helped me work through those issues. But honestly, the art therapy was gold for it.
Yeah, its a difficult thing, identity.
Was the real me someone before trauma?
Or years after when I was mostly asymptomatic and "functioning"?
Or now as we deal with trauma?
Or did the real me never have a chance to become an adult because of trauma? Was it trapped by what happened and left behind in order to be semi functional and asymptomatic and is now forgotten or buried away?

I begin to realize that because of things that happened I had to change who I was in my mind to survive all that. I had to build parts of my own identity for myself because I there were things the world outside tried to make part of my identity that were not real.
I think our favorite analyst said it best,

The world will ask you who you are, and if you don't know, the world will tell you.
Carl Jung

The hard part is ignoring what the world tells you, and believing your own truth.