Will Vietnam PTSD Trap Ever Set Me Free?

What does anger, dreams, PTSD and ” letting go” of one’s past have to do with each other? They’re all part of a discussion on vetting our emotions through dreams to deal with our conscious selves. Join me and another Michael J in our recent comments to his post:  Practicing for the Bardo by Urbansannyasin 

* * * * * * * *

You said: Dream Along With Me,

You have to be careful with anger in dreams. I dreamt a guy was coming onto my wife and he continued to “give her the eye” in front of me.

I swung my fist, trying to land an upper cut to the jaw and . . . woke up having struck a nearby lamp with my fist.  The lamp broke, fell to the floor and an aide at the VA Coatesville Medical Center’s PTSD program rushed to my room from her office, asking if all was ok.   “I just had a dream,” I told her.  The lamp was not repaired the whole time I remained in the in-patient program.   
But neither did I have any more dreams with such anger again . . . .
  Until I came home. But that’s another story, another dream.  Thanks for the post.

 Michael J

* * * * * * * *  

Urbansannyasin said:

You know, nothing is either good or bad. Sometimes, anger can help you, most times it is unproductive, and really hard on the furniture. 

The key, in self-discovery as I’ve learned it, is to use the power in various emotions to move you in the direction that you want to move. So, if expressing anger in a dream helps you become more assertive and take more control over your life, then it’s a good thing. If it is self-destructive, then you have to find a way around it.

I can’t pretend to know what you experience through PTSD, but if there is a key to dealing with it, it is to take back control of your mind and your emotions. You can do this by letting go of all your past history. You don’t always have to be this Vietnam Vet survivor with PTSD.

You can just be Michael J.

I think it is cool that you are a Vietnam vet survivor, but you don’t have to let that define you. You’re much more than that. As long as you define yourself by that, you’ll be trapped by that.

Try telling yourself “once, I was this person, that had this life experience, and was ruled by PTSD, but I’m not that person anymore…” 

Just one opinion!

 Another Michael J 

10 comments on “Will Vietnam PTSD Trap Ever Set Me Free?

  1. sparrow says:

    Michael i am going to leave an email address with you. I use to be active in Kundalini group. (i went through Kundalini Awakening after doing the hard work of indepth healing of PTSD and wading through the pain body associated with it. As soon as i was released from the blocks, i went into a spontaneous K Awakening.) In the K Group i meet a really nice man who was a Vietnam Vet. He was starting a group for PTSD and those that are in the midst of spiritual transformation, such as Kundalini. He really is a nice guy and goes by the name Jake. I told him i would pass the information of the Vet online group to other Vets.

    So i will leave the address in case you are interested. He really is a gentle soul, much like the feel of you Michael. If you contact him tell him ordinary sparrow sends peace.

    jakecarney36@yahoo.com

  2. Stephen says:

    Michael–in response to your market rage episode: visiting a doctor, a D.O. Board Certified Internalist, running an “integrated medicine” center, I was asking questions about kinesiology. He asked about my submarine service injury. Did a small demonstration of having me tap an acupuncture point and the effect it had on the strength in my fingers. Kinda spooky. Touched my forearm lightly, had me make five statements, one of which was a lie. Told me which one it was. Did a bit of hocus-pocus, it appeared to me, hands moving without touching me, beginning sentences and not ending them. Asked me if my pain had moved. It had. Where? To another injury, a pinched nerve. More hocus-pocus. Now? The same. More. Now? The same.

    Here’s the take-home part of the story: I was holding on to my pain. It had become part of my story, the way I thought of myself. As long as I defined myself as “a-guy-with-back-pain-as-a-result-of-an-accident-at-sea-that-left-me-with-ptsd,” that’s what I would be. Until I redefined who I was, I would be that guy.

    Ties in with a few other thoughts, such as law of attraction, and the words that are held to be sacred in some cultures: “I am…,” which lets you complete the sentence any way you want. Pretty powerful when you actually do it, like when you get cut out in traffic, or feel a reaction coming on in any other situation. And get this, I am told that you actually can “fake it till you make it,” because you actually are what it is that you project yourself to be. Well, an interesting idea,worth trying on, I suppose…try smiling, and see if you can stay grumpy…I don’t need to understand how it works, if it works.

    • contoveros says:

      Stephen,

      “Spooky” is right!
      Hey, I’ll give it a shot. Since I last saw you (October — Omega Institute and then the VA Coatesville Medical Center), I have taken three classes on EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, and plan to meet regularly at a place called “Resilency” in Ambler, PA for more of the same. I have been using it to calm down while driving and to ward off headaches.

      The teacher said the same thing you just did, and that is, we hold onto our pain — emotional attachment — is what I got from it. I was afraid to try it with the big PTSD or my lousy, good-for-nothing back. But maybe I’ll submit both to the “tapping.”

      I also got “acupunctured.” But that’s another story. Talk with you later.

      michael j,

      fellow PTSD-suffering and recovering vet

  3. contoveros says:

    Carolyn J,

    In my brief experience on this Blog, I have noticed that more women are opening up about their PTSD than men.

    Do you think the alleged “stigma” may prevent guys from talking about it?

    Hell, the only ones I know of who suffer from it are veterans. Mostly.

    I do recall, however, that a former office mate got PTSD while visiting one of our criminal clients in jail when another inmate assaulted him. My friend, who was also a public defender lawyer, was actually “in the way” and took the brunt of the attack, requiring hospital treatment (and posibly psychological therapy, but he never admitted to that).

    He won’t go into a prison interviewing room unless the door can open and provide him with a quick escape, or if someone else accompanies him.

    PTSD can get the best of anyone.

    • Hi Michael J,

      So sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner ! I overlooked your message.

      I think it could be stigma that keeps guys from opening up about PTSD, but I also believe that men just aren’t as open as women when it comes to expressing their feelings. And, it could be the macho thing being demonstrated. Or, perhaps women have better intuition than men and that intuition tells them that in the expressing and releasing of the feelings lies the healing.

  4. A VietNam vet survivor… thank you for your service.

    I wonder the same thing, if PTSD will forever define me. I have it from child abuse and sometimes I relive the strappings and the beatings the dog received. Nothing like the atrocities I can only imagine you endured, but my own atrocities none-the-less.

    I underwent EMDR, and that has been helpful to diminish the frequency and intensity of the flashbacks. Even so, I guess I believe that I will experience some feelings for the rest of my life over this, because it is a part of my experience-bank, but my perception and feelings of the events are softening as time goes on.

    And I agree with what you said on my blog… writing helps. Yes, it does.

    May you be well, my friend.

    Carolyn J
    http://www.gatesoftheheart.wordpress.com

    • contoveros says:

      On the road to “wellness” thanks in large part to your open remarks. Thank you Carolyn J.

      Michael J

    • contoveros says:

      Friend,

      Just re-read your comment here and want to send a note of comfort to you. I feel a real kinship with someone who can understand me more. It’s a shame that PTSD deals the drawing card.

      Michael J

      Atrocities are atrocities, no matter where or when they occur.

      • Thanks, Michael. Your words are a comfort to me and I feel closer to you. It is a shame PTSD draws the dealing card, and, yet, maybe it all happened to us for the purpose of healing from it and then helping others by the sharing of our stories. I don’t know. You are in my heart, kindred spirit.

        Carolyn J

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