So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

04 December, 2012

R is for Railway Spine, Battle Fatigue, Shellshock, and Other Clever Ways of Saying PTSD

I have a problem.

I don't trust the world.

The theological upshots of this for a person dealing with a non-transcendental religious system are not minor.  (If I were looking to get out of my body and get to heaven, not trusting the world would probably be some kind of bloody bonus.  Of course it is a vale of tears and a source of trauma, right?  Pfeh.)

All those immanent, pan(en)theistic, naturally manifesting gods and spirits, they're part of the world, right?  And the world ...

The world has a lot of things in it.  And a lot of my experiences with those things have been unsettling.  (And I'm explicitly being personal here, not geopolitical.) I'm not just talking about sexual violence or harassment here, though that's the obvious thing that people leap to and something that's on the mind lately.  There's bullying, there's emotional abuse, there's lack of privacy, there's disrespect for boundaries of all kinds, there's a lack of awareness of the potential for differences among people leading to the erasure of some experiences, there's the full panoply of -isms and -phobias, there's ....

A long time ago I happened to look up the symptom-set for PTSD and I had all of them but one.  My liege, training to be an acupuncturist, says that the defensive layer of my energetic bodies is hair-trigger and twitchy, which he suggests may be part and parcel of the same sort of thing.  And, in all things, my response to the world's minor inconveniences and issues is to ... go away.

Dissociation is a skill, actually, and it's one that I'm pretty damn good at.  Reflexively good at.  It's not just the year or more of my teenage years where I have no memories written to disk, though that's a pretty primo example of not being in the world or of it.

And being reflexively good at absence is a bit of a problem when cultivating presence.  When the work has to do with being embodied, with engaging with the world, the fact that there's a soul-presence that responds to the concept of the world by whining like a tortured puppy and retreating into a corner to minimise potential avenues of attack is ... a problem.

It's not a problem I know entirely how to address, though I've been talking with my inner puppy a lot and asking about what could help....

(I think "railway spine" is actually "whiplash" but you know that works as a metaphor too.)

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