What If This Is As Good As Life's Going To Get?

Mentors - Bennie Harris

Now, while it may be true that stressful, terrifying situations like war affect soldiers and throw their self-preservation urges into hyper-drive, it is completely false to think that we must simply live with the stunting effects of PTSD.

Each of us has an ideal for living, an image of ourselves leading a happy, healthy, prosperous, meaningful life. As a soldier, you may have imagined your ideal life as one that included leadership, achievement, and service. After time spent fighting on the front lines, however, you may have come home shaken and a bit lost. PTSD may have you feeling anxious or depressed, even isolated, worried, or fearful. You may be wondering, "After years of service to others, this is what I get? And are things 'stuck' like this? Will I ever be able to feel the joy and confidence I once felt? Is this as good as life's going to get?"

Now, let's examine this issue logically. Ask yourself, have you ever known of something that never changes? Nature's one constant is change. We see it in the birth-life-death cycle of living things, in the seasons, and in the movements of the celestial objects of our universe. If you look out your window at the landscape outside you'll see that it has changed over time. Even before or excluding human intervention, the forces of Nature have shaped the landscape—even the climate—many times over.

"But I have PTSD," you may be thinking. "It's something that happened to me." Now, while it may be true that stressful, terrifying situations like war affect soldiers and throw their self-preservation urges into hyper-drive, it is completely false to think that we must simply live with the stunting effects of PTSD.

Consider this: When no one is playing the guitar, that is, when the strings aren't vibrating, there is no sound coming from the instrument. When someone begins plucking the strings the strings then vibrate, and that vibration makes sound. If we were to pluck a string only once, we would hear a note that would eventually fade away. With continued plucking, of course, we would hear continued sound.

Now consider that thoughts are comprised of energy which itself vibrates. In a way, the vibration of your thoughts operates in much the same way as the vibration of those guitar strings. With continued thought about your past experiences, your horrific memories, your lost comrades, you keep plucking the strings of old injuries—physical and psychological—thereby keeping the energy that flows through and from you negative in nature and keeping your past very much alive.1 The metaphorical plucking of a number of painful strings—memories from the front line, loss, wounds, guilt, fear, exhaustion, worry—causes a psychological disturbance akin to the sound of, well, bad noise. But the same energy of thought that goes into creating disturbance of the mind, body, and soul can also be used to overcome challenges and find a measure of peace.

It is imperative to hold close those people and things that are important to you, revel in them, and nurture your relationships. Find new things that give you pleasure like hobbies, new pursuits, travel, educational opportunities...anything. SET YOUR ENTIRE MIND TO FEELING well, happy, peaceful, safe, and bar from your mind any thoughts that would run contrary to your obtaining these things.

No, it's not necessarily easy changing thinking patterns, especially those so deeply ingrained by the force of violence and fear, it won't happen overnight, and it may not be the only method you choose to use. (In other words, if you've been prescribed a treatment plan of some sort, it's best to just add this element to it. Don't stop following your plan.) But just like learning to play that guitar, with continued practice it will get much easier, and soon, the energy from the strings you are plucking—the energy of love, hope, contentment, aspiration, joy—will make beautiful, harmonious music in your life.

It's high time you started living that life that you've always imagined. PTSD won't stop you. This isn't as good as it gets...it will get as good as you make it. As the National Guard motto reminds us, You can.

1Incidentally, contemporary psychology has shown that the brain doesn't distinguish between a real event and a memory. Imagine what that means for your physical health and healing process if you've been reliving an injury-causing incident you've experienced. How is your body supposed to heal if the energy of your thoughts keeps replaying the memory of the injury?

Katherine Mohr

November 2014



B. Katherine Mohr

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Postgraduate Diploma, Philosophy
Tutor, Writer, Concept-Therapy Teacher

Specializing in teaching adults--especially those who are marginalized or have been socially excluded--literacy, numeracy, ICT, personal development, and living skills.

I am a person who is passionate about learning and helping others learn. It is my opinion that there is nothing more important than education, formal or informal, to help one achieve one's goals, whether that involves writing a grocery list, filling out a rental contract, learning to use computers, or evolving spiritually.



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