I wish to write how I deal with PTSD. For many times I seem to do the opposite of what friends or books say will relax me.
I find anything that is close to New Age, spiritism or like hippies freaks me out. For instance, I don’t like candles or incense.
This is because my stepdad consider himself to be a hippy. Part of his excuse for abusing was under the label of “sexual liberation”. He and his circle believe that meant children are freely available to join in the “sexual revolution”.
That revolution nearly kill me.
So, when I hear or see anything that is close to that lifestyle, I freeze inside. Sometimes, I will be sarcastic as a way of hiding my anger and fear.
I do not want to have a bath when I have bad PTSD.
I was abused in a bath every Friday between the ages of 12 to 17. So water is not my favourite thing.
I prefer to wash quickly and thoroughly. Then I can ignore the water.
Nowadays, I am growing to like baths, but I could not imagine wanting to soak for a long time.
What I really find relaxing is loud music that I know by heart. I tend to go for 60’s and 70’s soul and disco, 80’s pop.Sometimes I need long pieces of music. I go for jazz, especially be-bop, and classical, especially Bach and Mozart.
Some music has always reach into my heart, and allow feelings to come crawling up to the surface.
So much pop and soul. I can smile when I near “Leader of the Pack”. I sing with passion to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. I dance to Prince. Blondie I scream at the top of my lungs.
Classical reminds of my grandmother who run a ballet school. When I hear Brittain’s “Sea Interludes”, I can cry. Mozart give me peace and let me use my brain. Bach make forget all but the music.
Jazz is deep love of mine. Be-bop is always a huge friend to me. I listen to Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and I relax in such a profound sense.
When I live with male violence, I had many of late 40’s and early 50’s American jazz. I know it kept me sane and give an idea that there was more to life than what I living in.
When I listen to be-bop or swing, I can laugh, I can be serious. Listening to jazz, I can remember I am alive.
I am the same with classic R’n’B, especially Chicago blues.
I relax with the TV.
It was an escape when I live with my stepdad. I could stop him for a short time by saying I had watch the end of “Doctor Who” or “Batman”. TV seem safe to me.
I watch TV and let it silence my past.
I will watch drama and let myself be gripped.
I watch old films, mainly before the 60’s. I gravitate to 40’s films, for I can dissappear into that world. I love the sophistation, the quick talk. I like that the characters are very grey, and many of the plots have twists.
Film noir is chase by my channel hopping.
I have always escape into watching football, cricket and rugby.
Some of my happy memories as child was going to watch Arsenal or Ipswich with my Dad. I was happy watching rugby and cricket with my grandfather. I was in heaven when I got Michael Marshall’s autograph.
These were times I felt I could be a child. I felt I could be loved without having to be hurt.
So, when I watch sports now I feel I can belong in the fan’s world.
I tend to be a very quiet fan, but I do have a lot of passion for all those sports.
When I was a teenager, sports give a reason to stay alive. I had to know where Arsenal were in the table.
I lived with extreme violence, but I found newspaper, I found the back pages.
In a strange way I know if I did not know about Arsenal, I would slip into killing myself.
Now, sports are just a pleasure. But, I remember that they did save my life.
Reading has also given me a reason to live. I cannot go to sleep without reading. I read novels and short stories endlessly.
I go for fiction that focuses on how humans are with each other. In many ways, I think I was able to find out who I am through fiction.
I read “Bastard Out of Carolina”, and discover the surreal dark humour I get from years of living with male violence isn’t that unusual.
I like the novels were the main character may not be likable, but has a strength. I love “Rebecca” for the reader is encourage to be on the side of the first Mrs de Winter. “Vanity Fair” has Becky Sharpe, who I would rally round. When I read “Mme Bovary”, I marvel how the writer could grip the reader with such an unlikable main character.
I read many psychological thrillers, especially Patricia Highsmith.
I do walk a lot, mainly I enjoy city walks. I enjoy being in a crowd alone.
I will go to lunch in restaurants alone, if I have spare money.
These are the ways I deal with PTSD.
Just don’t put me in silence. Or ask me to meditate.