No contest; climbing helps PTSD for me

Well, after going to church for a second Sunday in a row, it became clear to me what the Depression associated with my PTSD has been about for just shy of two weeks now.  My nightmares and intrusive thoughts can’t be ignored, and church triggered some traumatic memories for me.  I talked to my doctor about it yesterday.  I didn’t know what his response would be, yet I did.  We discussed it, or rather he carried the discussion, since I’m not able to talk about my traumatic experiences much.  “I don’t think you should go to church for a while.”  I nodded.  “You’ve had some intrusive memories…and nightmares after going.  I don’t think you should do things that continue to bring up negative things in your life.  Our therapy here is mainly geared toward doing as much ‘normal’ as possible.  I’m not trained to do the desensitization for that – the trauma.  Maybe someday, you’ll want to go that route.  Or maybe not.”  I told him that our therapy was good.  “I’m not degrading myself.  I’m just being factual about my training.”  I didn’t want him to feel bad about our therapy.  I fell silent again.  “So what are you going to do about it?”  I remained silent.  “Now, you do know, Chris, that I’m a behavioralist, so I’m going to want you to DO something to get you out of this funk.”  Yes, Sir.  “I think you should climb.  Take Cullen to the gym tomorrow.  Break him in early.  I think you should do that.  Cullen could be your best therapist right now.”  He listed the attributes of Cullen, at 11 months of age, that were perfect reasons for hanging out with him.  “And I think you should climb.”

It’s hard to know what’s going to trigger traumatic memories, intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares, and the whole business of PTSD.  That’s what makes it so hard.  Well, part of what makes it so hard.  There are a lot of hard things about PTSD, but one of them can be identifying triggers and where negative thoughts and feelings are coming from, and then figuring out what to do about them.  The word “normal” is used very loosely in any context dealing with mental illness in comparison to the average individual, but some social “norms” are recognized when they’re typically healthy for most individuals according to scientific studies that have been done.  Triggers have to be recognized and heeded, though.  It’s a hard thing to have to live by, but there are things, like climbing, that can heal the trauma to an extent and provide relief from and a way to manage the PTSD.  I’m going climbing this morning as soon as SteepWorld opens.  I need to.  It’ll be a welcome relief!!!  Updates pending…

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