PTSD and Choosing Not to Be A Victim

click here to view –> Be A Friend To Yourself.

You may remember our wonderful guest post by PTSD survivor and advocate, Michele Rosenthal.

Ms. Rosenthal generously asked me to also post on her blog site. Pretty fun, huh. So here’s the link if you’d like to take a gander over.
Thank you so much Ms. Rosenthal for this opportunity to share space. Keep on folks.

To view post, click above on “Be a friend to yourself.”

Escape Self-Loathing

Self-Care Tip #91 – Put the fight down and take 2 steps back.  Be a friend to yourself.

He came in looking really good.  Chris had seen me for many years and he hasn’t always looked this way.  I said

You look great!

Chris shrugged and told me he had just had a long messy argument with his partner and somehow still felt alright.  In the past, after they fought and the self-loathing set in, he might have hurt himself – like using alcohol or cutting on himself to

…just feel something different.

I was ready to move past the story as he sounded like he was ok with it.  We talked past each other.  Me asking about his sleep, and Chris telling me clips and phrases from the argument.

But amazingly I’m fine!  If he wanted me out today, I’d be out of there, no problem.  He just needs to say the word!

Chris was sitting back in his chair, relaxed until then.  His hands came up and took control of his space, thrusting as he spoke.

Being a psychiatrist, my expertise kicked in and I realized I should turn back.  Chris wasn’t ready to talk about sleep.  You see what all those years of school can do.  Not everyone knows how to pick up on such subtleties.

Chris, maybe you aren’t so happy you argued.

We talked more about his energy, appetite and motivation.  Then we came back to his argument.

It’s none of his f—— business where I am during the day!  I’m not his child.  I’m his partner!  I told him…!

And so on.  Chris still looked better than when he was in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, or when he was catatonic.  But he didn’t sit comfortably with himself.  And I thought, Chris has fought so hard for himself, why can’t he handle what I want to say?  And I did.  And he did.  Beautifully.  He was a brave knight on a black steed holding his wounded sides.  Life had been a battle for him, but he was making choices to fight less and live more.

“Ok.  Yes.  You’re right.  I will next time.  That makes sense.”

When you’re about to engage in something that in the end will make you loath yourself, choose not to.  That’s friendly to you and your other.  Say something like,

When I was gone you felt jealous?

Give over stage and anger and open windows and breath.  Just choose not to hurt yourself.  Winning or losing the argument, in the end, you hurt by your own choice.

Biologically and probably spiritually Chris wouldn’t have known what to do with that years ago.  But he did now.  I saw him relax again and put his hands away.  I knew Chris had a love for Love and this clicked for him.

I can’t describe how happy I was/am.  Being a part of his journey is a great honor.

Question:  How have you escaped self-loathing and your mean self in the heat of the moment?  Please tell me your story.

You Are Ink + Water


Being responsible for what we do now is not the same as being responsible for what has happened to us or is happening to us.

How to tell someone who suffered abuse that they are responsible for themselves?  How to tell a child of an OCD mom, that his adult self, is responsible for his emotional health?  How about someone living in poverty?  How about a victim of natural disaster?

…A parent whose child died before they did?

My dad tells me, no parent should live longer than their own child.  In 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, the US state department sent him to find a hospital that was usable as a service, not in anticipation of war.  There were essentially no hospitals.  Stripped, robbed of wood used to burn, hocked copper wiring, and a spirit of “every one for himself” sat in place of hospital supplies.  Dad had met with some tribe elders to try to conciliate, but without effect.  Before he knew it, it was war.

There was one hospital he found with 2 operating theaters and some recovery beds.  He joined the French nurses who were still there.  Working around the clock, he was Mogadishu’s only surgeon for that first week.  He walked out to a mile of bodies spread outside the hospital.  He chose who would be taken in to the operating room versus who would not and what that meant.  There was no anesthesia for hundreds of amputations.  Life expired without many theatrics.  Three weeks later, and after other surgeons had come, they evacuated him.  He came back to manicured bushes, telephone wires, paved roads.

After surviving the Vietnam war, 40 plus years of medical practice, and participating in treatment for many people who have died over many years, it is Somalia‘a open album that stays in Dad’s thoughts.  He sees the faces of parents shrouding their children.  He tells me as if I’d forget, “I can’t say enough about how I loved the people!”

Although Dad shared these traumas, he must claim his health.  The grieving parents likewise.  This is not to say, “Get over it.”

There is so much bad stuff affecting us, that it makes it easy to not take responsibility for our own selves.  But, the success of our health – emotional, physical, spiritual – begins and ends with “Me.”

Don’t give up or get over or go at “It” alone.  Buying in to being a friend to yourself, does not mean giving up on your other friends, including God, family, your beliefs, your assistance.  It does not mean erasing your history.  It does not mean starting over.  It means joining all these things.  It means being ink in the water, everywhere in your story.

So, here you are.  (Clang, cling, Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom!)  Can you still hear yourself?  You must!  I must!  Our health begins and ends with “Me.”

Self-Care Tip #74 – Be your story.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Have you done this?  Do you relate?  Please tell me your thoughts.