What PTSD Taught Me About Friendship

Having a genuine friend is vital to having a healthy life.  Many studies, as well as life experience, teaches us that friendship is healthy spiritually, physically and emotionally.  I am not talking about people who are acquaintances or people you are friendly to at the office.  I mean a friend who you can tell anything and if they disagree with your thoughts they will not abandon you or be pissed off for years because you told them something that may have offended them.

I have also learned that in order to have good friends you must be a good friend.  The traits of genuine friends are patience, kindness, understanding, deferential treatment, and faithfulness.  Friendship also includes making time for your friend.  In American culture, time is the most precious thing we have.  Making time for friends is a very tangible way to make your relationship stronger and more valuable to both of you.

The need for a friend or friends is universal.  The need to have a genuine friend is not only universal but for those who suffer from PTSD, it is absolutely necessary.  Our trauma came about in the community and our healing must come through the community.  By community, I mean with and around people.  For years I was “locked” away in my head.  Many times I have locked myself away from the community literally. My behavior made it very difficult for me to consistently be a good friend.  I was too busy trying to stay alive in the midst of never ceasing paranoia and hypervigilance. At some point, we must be willing to walk into the fear and a friend will walk through it with you.  I believe it is wise for the PTSD sufferer to be honest with their friends and let them know not only what is going on with you but what they can expect vis-a-vis your PTSD and how they can help you.  If you suffer flashbacks or temporary loss of rationality this is even more important.  This isn’t the time to be “independent.”  We cannot heal in isolation.  I also learned that if you want a friend you must be willing to walk through the fear and not give into the temptation to isolate.  Your friend should have permission to gently encourage you to not isolate.  You must choose not ditch them because they are trying to reintroduce you to normal activity.  It is also crucial that your friend understands that sometimes you won’t be able to do the activities that people find so stress-free and common.  Your friend should never judge you.  They must be willing to sit with you as you suffer.  IOften times words are not even necessary.  Just having someone there in silence is often times the best we can do.

I believe it is wise for the PTSD sufferer to be honest with their friends and let them know not only what is going on with you but what they can expect vis-a-vis your PTSD and how they can help you.  If you suffer flashbacks or temporary loss of rationality this is even more important.  This isn’t the time to be “independent.”  We cannot heal in isolation.  I also learned that if you want a friend you must be willing to walk through the fear and not give into the temptation to isolate.  Your friend should have permission to gently encourage you to not isolate.  You must choose not ditch them because they are trying to reintroduce you to normal activity.  It is also crucial that your friend understands that sometimes you won’t be able to do the activities that people find so stress-free and common.  Your friend should never judge you.  They must be willing to sit with you as you suffer.  Often times words are not even necessary.  Just having someone there in silence is often times the best we can do.

It is important for you to be able to be 100% open and honest with your friends.  It is also important to realize that you will most likely run into someone who can’t handle or simply doesn’t have the time or inclination to walk someone through painful and messy healing.  That is ok.  That doesn’t mean that person is bad.  It just means that they become an acquaintance and that is just fine.  Be aware that you may get hurt,  Just do your best to be at peace with all people and simply move on.

I have had the blessing of having an incredibly patient and understanding wife.  My PTSD hurt her.  My PTSD scared her.  My PTSD confused her.  My PTSD angered her.  My PTSD caused her to think differently of herself.  Through all of that PTSD never caused her to quit!!  I will forever owe her a debt that cannot be repaid.  I literally owe her my life.  I also am lucky enough to have another friend in addition to my wife.  My friend has been willing to take my call at all hours.  My friend has often sacrificed his own time and activities so he could be with me.  My friend speaks well of me when I am not there,  he has always had my back.  He knows my entire story.  He is loyal and faithful!

If you are a person of faith then pray that God would bring you such a friend.  If not reach out to someone you trust or to someone you think you can trust.  Those people exist….I promise.

We must also be a good and loyal friend.  You may not be able to function at 100% during your sickness but you can choose to honest, vulnerable, faithful and present to their needs to a degree.

Continue to fight the lie always!

Colorado Adds PTSD to List of Conditions For Medical Marijuana

Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado made it official when he signed the bill into law.  Now, PTSD sufferers can legally use marijuana to treat the symptoms of PTSD.  Even in a state as forward thinking as Colorado, it is hard to believe this just became law.  Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado now people can use the beautiful plant to treat PTSD and acquire the medicine under Colorado’s MMJ laws.

People who suffer from PTSD generally say that MMJ helps them to “think in the now” and not constantly stress about things that have happened to them in the past or events they fear are just around the corner.  I applaud the state of Colorado for allowing the victims of PTSD to use pot medicinally!  I will continue to advocate until marijuana is legal in all 50 states (which is certain to happen) and people can use it recreationally or medicinally-as they choose.  Isn’t that the cornerstone of freedom?

Homeless Men Rush to Help Bombing Victims

So, after the cowardly bombing in Manchester killed many and wounded, even more, the stories of heroes begin to emerge.  Emergency services of all sorts were brave no doubt as they always are.  The other day in Manchester two homeless men heard the blast as they were sleeping on the cement near the bomb site.  Stephen Jones and his fellow homeless friend ran toward the bomb site and began to help all of the people that they could.  They pulled nails out of the skin of child victims and help clean off the blood that had gotten on so many people.  A good Samaritan returned the bravery by renting an apartment for six months for the homeless heroes.  Remember the next time you see a street person that they are people just like us who have the capacity to be passionate, brave and giving. Sometimes, we just need a reminder that the poor are part of our communities and regardless of why they are homeless and poor they deserve our friendship, mercy, compassion and help if we have anything to give.  Mercy always trumps judgment.

Scientology and Opiates (LOL)

In my last post-Do Police Even Know What an Opiate is I pointed out the glaring errors in many media reports that a man in Tennessee was selling Kratom and that Kratom is a synthetic opiate.  I came across this article today that blames the errors on erroneous advice from the Church of Scientology.  Maybe on Xenu Kratom is a synthetic opiate but not in the actual real world. Once again the kooks in Scientology have passed off so-called “facts” that are actually dung.  Read for yourself here.

To sum it up Kratom is not synthetic nor is it an opiate. Is Kratom addictive? No more than a cup of coffee, according to one of the U.S.’s leading specialists on addiction, Dr. Jack Henningfield, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. Kratom is not only an all-natural herbal substance that has been used in folk medicine for centuries, but it is also the subject of dozens of clinical trials and studies that are continuing to show multiple benefits for the versatile jungle-based botanical.

BOOM!

Do Police Even Know What An Opiate Is?

26 year Christopher Miller is in big trouble.  This Tennesse resident was arrested for selling five pounds of Kratom.  If you don’t know what Kratom is follow the link.  In a nutshell, Kratom is a herb that is native to southeast Asia.  It has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years to alleviate pain and provide a mild stimulative effect like coffee.  Kratom is a related to coffee, as a matter of fact. There has been an effort by the DEA to move Kratom to the same class of drugs as Heroin and LSD.  Recently, the DEA received so many complaints from physicians and citizens it stopped (for now) trying to schedule this plant.  There are a few states where Kratom is illegal in and one of those is Tennessee.  I use Kratom for pain.  It is very effective for chronic pain and has very few and limited side effects.

Sometimes, I am not even sure that the police understand what substances are and which ones are illegal or what they do.  In a news release detailing Mr. Millers’ arrest… well, here it is for you to read verbatim: “The synthetic opiate, which is illegal in Tennessee, can cause edginess, vomiting, sweating, constipation, delusions, respiratory depression, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and paranoia.”

My point is that the police and the media constantly use false information to stigmatize substances that they have decided you shouldn’t put in your body.  For the record, Kratom is not an opiate or a synthetic substance.  Big pharma is at this very moment working on using Kratom to produce a drug that would be a synthetic version of the alkaloid found in Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa.)

In addition to being ineffective and a huge waste of billions of dollars the “war on drugs” is often times propaganda used by politicians to scare people away from natural safe substances in order to allow the drug companies to be the sole manufacturer of these plants….yep it is about money plain and simple.  This is especially true in the cases of cannabis and Kratom.

If you suffer from chronic pain and do not want to use opiates I suggest you look into Kratom.

In contrast to the Tennesse law enforcements description of Kratom, the information in this post is accurate.

GET YOUR BOOT OFF OF MY NECK!!!!

PTSD is Contagious

It took me years to realize how much having PTSD for 25 years affected the people around me.  Often times the people that I care about the most.  If you are suffering from PTSD I assure you in addition to the harm that this sickness causes you that it is hurting your friends and family.  Anyone who is in close proximity to you will be affected by your PTSD.  Sorry, I don’t want to be a downer but I do want to encourage you to seek treatment so you can get better, live in peace and begin the inventory of personal relationships that may need healing.  This is very difficult and often you may not see the damage your sickness has caused.  The difficulty in seeing the damage caused by your sickness is another reason to seek the guidance of a therapist who is trained AND experienced in treating trauma victims.

Did you know PTSD is contagious?  It is true.  You cannot catch PTSD from someone sneezing or blowing their nose and not washing their hands.  However, those nearest to you can “catch” PTSD from you due to your behavior.  Will, they catch a serious case of PTSD?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It is almost assured that they will be damaged emotionally.  As you begin to get better and receive healing from PTSD it becomes a little easier to see the damage you have caused to others.

I don’t want to hit you over the head with this fact but simply to cause all those with PTSD to understand that many other people are affected by how PTSD causes you to live your life.  This can be a friend or group of friends that after inviting you to many functions without you showing up simply stop inviting you or having any hope that you will ever show up.  I understand that this is because you are sick with PTSD and the thought of going out into an uncontrolled environment scares the shit out of you.  The problem is, however, those people probably do not understand that this is the reason why.  Almost every relationship you have will bear some of the damage that PTSD causes.  Your coworkers, friends, family members, etc.

My PTSD has damaged my relationship with my children.  During my EMDR treatment, I went to both of my kids and explained why I had been such an asshole so many times. They deserved an explanation for my distant and seemingly uncaring attitude.  Repairing these relationships takes time and intense effort on your part.  My PTSD affected my beautiful wife in a huge way.  Imagine being married to a hyper-vigilant, angry, terrified and distracted person for years and years.  It takes its toll on all of your relationshups.

Here is the good news.  Those relationships can be restored most of the time.  Sadly, not all of the time.  Our responsibility to those we have harmed is, to be honest, and contrite.  We must work consciously and diligently to bring peace and healing to these relationships.  While it is true that some relationships are permanently damaged by this disorder (more accurately an injury to the brain) not all are irreparably harmed.  In fact, I believe that most of those relationships can be repaired and even become stronger. Keep your head up.  Remember you are a survivor.  Face the relationships that need to be repaired with humility, honesty and the firm resolve to own your stuff and work as hard as you can to allow them to heal.  After years of PTSD induced behavior, it may take a while for these relationships and these people to forgive you.  Just as you probably weren’t aware of the damage you were causing the people who were affected may not be fully aware of the scope of the damage that has been done to them.

Let’s move forward and be at peace with everyone if it is at all possible.  Once again remember you are a survivor and after the darkness, the sun does shine…every day.