October 30, 2008

PTSD Can Evoke a Sense of Safety

My blog is about what I deal with on any given day, the continuing battle wrought by one man attempting to overcome PTSD again, and again, each day. Sometimes I achieve just that and others I succumb to its ravages; the chronic struggle that most combat PTSD sufferers deal with on a continuing basis.

Identity issues prevail throughout the mind of a PTSD host, so to speak. When I think of a cure my mind almost reels in horror, because of my survival instincts having defeated death as a result of having PTSD, and its shaping of my life. I would not be who I am today without it, this device of PTSD that engages in the survival defensive mechanisms that has sustained my life on a persistent basis.

What would I do to replace the safe feeling I receive when I am vigilant in my personal protection? How would I deal with life when I am used to coping from minute to minute and occupying myself with this endless game of self absorption? An attachment of the self to the self that is the identity of one who sufficiently succeeds in suffering.

PTSD is not only about personal protection or self preservation but in its essence a mechanism of such endeavors, thus becoming a self-perpetual entity in of itself. Almost as if it has become self-aware and not only will it steer me away from danger, but also away from its own demise; a seemingly serendipitous supra-intelligent guidance of the subconscious (I do love word play for sure).

Tis no wonder that we who suffer from combat or complex PTSD have existential identity issues intertwined with the usual symptoms, and at times, exhibit this as a personality crisis while occasionally leading to psychosis and neurosis.


  1. You're describing the EGO, in all its glory! In order to preserve its control over us, the Ego does its best to convince us that anything that might heal us, would actually bring us harm. The Ego needs us to believe this so that it retains its power. An identity crisis, indeed. You're so right!

    But.... What if we stopped believing in the games the Ego plays? What if, instead, we choose to believe in a sort of Superself -- a bigger, stronger, more powerful self that is whole and grounded and unaffected by trauma. What if we develop a post-trauma identity, one that gives us an alternate, healthy identity so that we can let go of PTSD and feel safe that there is something so much better to take its place?

  2. Freud was on the right track, but this goes deeper than a construct of the mind just as you have alluded to.

    I believe you were talking about a Superself, a higher mediating construct of the ego verses Id conflict based mind. This system has its limitations, due to the fact that it still rests in the manifestation of the Ego driven by the primitive instinctual desires of the Id.

    The problem with persons who have been stricken with PTSD, their minds have become deeply entrenched and compartmentalized. Herein the psychic energy becomes channeled through the rails of heavily imprinted synapses feeding the body with responsive synergy for explosive reactions needed for survival.

    These encoded processes have subsumed the rationale of analytical considerations to forge a frontier of force.

    To disallow the primitive mind to reign supreme one needs to form a more than Freudian superself to a Maslowian self-actualization, akin to the Buddhist transcendence of self.

    In my post on Dissociative Spectrum, I spoke of a feeling that "...I was more alive than I had ever been, except that there was no conscious processing of information and a total lack of emotion, absolute detachment. Time had suspended itself for me, I was eternal, I had accessed a part of me that was omnipresent."

    This feeling of becoming one with the universe I have only been able to achieve briefly and never as completely as I did for 72 hours of the ground war in the first Gulf War.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee