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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Snow leopard? Dalmatian? Spotted giraffe? Lady bugs? Appaloosa?

What sort of spots should I get for my brain?

The next time you see me I will have a spotted brain!

It is hard, though, to decide what sort of spots to get. There are more spotted animals than you would imagine. Pigs, sheep, frogs, owls, horses, even giraffes. Cats and my new favorite, moiled cows.

I do believe I've written a bit about this before. It involves a wand, remember? Actually, it's just a long pointer and my therapist will not be wearing a pointy hat.

This is an ongoing aspect of my therapy for PTSD, a new means of neutralising the impact of traumatics incidents. I will visualize the event or experience, allow myself to feel its awfulness for a brief moment or two. And then we will look for a spot in my range of vision where the impact of the traumatic event is not so intense.

Like so much of the treatment for PTSD, nobody is exactly certain how, or why, it works but it beats the heck out of walking around the planet in a state of shell shock as the WWI veterans did for decades.

I really hope these new modalities of treatment (see, I can use big words, just not emotionally stand to be near anyone at the time) are helpful not so much for me but especially for all of the Iraqi and Afghani war veterans returning home. And I hope it is helpful for the victims of rape and abuse and other kinds of domestic violence.

We have to take these afflictions more seriously. Mental health issues must come out of the closet and be treated with the same respect we give to diabetes, leukemia, heart attacks. They are just that deadly.

Life is hard. And we make it harder on others when we're just shitty people and treat others like crap. It is normal to respond the way many of us do. The brain is resilient and clever but it wants to work. It doesn't want to be screwed up and blown up and completely mixed up.

I am so grateful for the patience and creativity of medical folks who are trying new means of helping to get our neural pathways moving along their natural courses again. If you know someone who is struggling, don't judge. Encourage. Be kind. Be gracious, generous, compassionate. Not patronizing. But friendly. And try, if you can, to encourage them to find help.

Help helps. It really does.

I'm partial to spotted snow leopards, so that is what I'm going for. But a spotted giraffe? That sounds way cool. I guess we'll find out which it is around this time tomorrow.

Next time I'm asking for some neon.

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