Transformation Tuesday: Why PTSD Was Great for Me

Transformation Tuesday!

Today I wanted to talk with you a little bit about the creativity and the body and how PTSD actually helped me realize my creative self.

[Deep breath. This next paragraph isn’t a fun one to talk about, but it is an important part of the story.]

I was abused as a kid and my trajectory following abuse was pretty typical: I did a lot of self-harm in various forms. I was able to function though, and had a tight lid on my closet life as a cutter/chain smoker/promiscuous addict. But then! I met Mikey and got pregnant with Micah! When I found out I was pregnant, I quit smoking and drinking.

Well, not drinking meant that I was not blacking out every night, and had me clear-headed for the first time in years – and in a good enough space I guess, that my suppressed memories came, along with PTSD.

It was really, really bad.

But the point of this is not to talk about how bad it was to have memories hit me along with PTSD; the point of telling you about this stuff is that it was only then that I realized that my creativity saves me. That is, engaging in whatever that is creative will literally take me from this paralyzing abyss of pain, or panic attacks and lead me out. It’s photography or painting or writing or anything, really. Anything that is about the actual craft of creation.

This whole entire blog is the direct result of PTSD. My being a “prolific blogger” is the direct result of PTSD.

The pain of PTSD is no joke – and the healing and transforming power of what works for me isn’t either. I take it extremely seriously. I wake up as early as I have to in order to engage in it, I write when we drive, I edit photos at any and all odd moments. “I don’t have time” does not apply to my creative engagement because my creative engagement is my ticket to being present right here, right now.

NIchols_Meriah_s-Sr6DMIGHPTSD was good for me

PTSD was good for me because I love creative engagement and I had always wanted to spend more time with it, but I was always one of those people who “doesn’t have time”. Everything took priority over my creative action. I would never seriously think of a job that tapped into the stuff I loved – the writing, painting, photography, dance, drumming, etc.

What PTSD did, was it snapped me right around in a way I could not ignore. It was my soul, bitch-slapping my body to PAY ATTENTION. It woke me up.It made creativity an absolute, un-ignorable priority in my life.

As good as I have woken up to being firm about my creative engagement, I am still sleeping about being firm in the care of my body.

This bothers me, because my body is the tool of my spirit. I mean, it’s my ultimate tool, right? – and I take better care of my camera – something that I can replace – than I do of my body – which is irreplaceable.

That’s the root of this Challenge right now for me. I want to care for my ultimate tool. And I suppose there is an element of nervousness about it. I mean, if it took some pretty horrific PTSD to bitch slap me to really making my creativity a priority, what will it take for me to care for my body better?

Ack.

Moving on.

Accountability This Past Week:

Oh hello there, Doritos!

Yeah. What I learned was this:

  1. When solo parenting (as I am now), I absolutely must have delicious food around me
  2. If there is no delicious food, I will go the junk route
  3. The junk route will make me feel like I’ve failed anyway, so why even bother with the exercising?

BIG PROBLEM. 

So, after straggling through last week, I went to town and bought out Costco and Winco (- remind me to write the post on shopping with all 3 kids while trying to weigh grains at Winco sometime! It’ll be fun!). I then spent FOUR HOURS PREPPING food for the week, so we’ll see next week how that all goes.

The 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD:

I think it’s honestly too much for me. I hurt so much the next day, I don’t want to do it again. I think I have to go back to something that is easier for me – like T25 or the regular 21 Day Fix (not to be confused with “extreme”).

*******************

Handy Links that Friends Shared with Me:

15 Lower Carb Whole Food Swaps (I printed it out and put it on the fridge)

Skinnytaste – I have her cookbook coming through our mobile library (really! the librarian drives the bookmobile all the way out here! God bless her. And libraries. And Skinnytaste)

The Pleasure Principle – I love this. It’s honestly the root of what I’m trying to do here. I’m only use the 21 Day Fix to integrate in these concepts and have a better sense of portions.

If you do want to join the 21 Day Fix with me (or anything BeachBody related):

Just click here, make sure I’m listed as your coach (I’m thehumboldthousewife) . My coach ID is 627640. That’s it. Then I can add you to the fantastic group on Facebook that I’m already a part of.

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
5 Things You Should Know About Saying “Angel” with “Down syndrome” https://t.co/ZWIYFlLxAN https://t.co/elUKKrmVZ9 - 14 hours ago
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6 Comments

  • I have PTSD. It has spooled down a bit as I have gotten older, but it is still there. My grandson doesn’t understand. He is 10 and just wants to joke around. We have talked about it. But, he forgets. Flashbacks are less intense since cancer. What is more scary than cancer (I can think of a few things.)? All the treatments that have saved my life, so far, required lots of touching. Lots if touching my boobs when I still had them. Sometimes recently, I dream I have them back. It is actually much easier without them. But looking for good veins, later locating my port, having biopsies, tests, oh and who can forget the nice heart test in the block room with the lead stuff to protect everyone from the radioactive stuff they put in me? No contact with children for 48 hrs. It is all worth it. I would do it all again if needed. But it is anxiety-producing, flashback inducing, and honestly cancer is just not a great mix with PTSD. But I plowed through it. I am still here, and I am loving my life.

  • Thanks Meriah! Creativity saved me too and photography helps my son who struggles with depression. I, too, can become lost in writing or composing a good frame. I hope you continue to make your photos public. Your photos have such a candid, joyous, whimsical air and I love the light they are bathed in. It’s interesting that one of your readers mentioned touch with respect to PTSD. I had some of that myself, after having had a stress overload the last few years. It is the effect of gentle touch in a therapy called Somatic Experiencing (from the work on trauma of Peter Levine) that is helping me like no counseling alone could. It retrains the nervous system what it feels like to be calm and relaxed. The first time I felt that I wept. I hope you will continue to find joy snapping photos and in writing! A grateful reader.
    Yvonne

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