Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#PTSD and Feelings of hostility, guilt and fear

I volunteer for a group called Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. (They have a local chapter in Utah.) They recently posted an article about how fishing makes you a better person. I paid special attention to this quote:
"A 2009 study shows that fishing can lower PTSD symptoms and increase the mood of those who suffer from the disorder. After three days of fly fishing, participants reported a 32 percent reduction in guilt and a 43 percent decrease in feelings of hostility. The feeling of fear was also reduced by 30 percent, and sadness dropped by 36 percent. A portion of these positive effects remained even a full month after the fishing retreat."
PTSD that they are talking about is the kind that comes after serving in the military. At first, I was thinking about how their symptoms are different than mine... I kind of chuckled at how fly fishing will help PTSD. ("See. I have to go. For my recovery.")

But then... I felt really REALLY sad. I have no feeling of hostility. I experience deep and debilitating guilt and fear. Occasionally, I still feel really sad for (seemingly) no reason. ZERO feelings of hostility.

I read the article last night, and it's gotten inside my head.
It would make sense if I felt hostility. It would make sense if I wanted to lash out. It would make sense that I would be really angry.

So why don't I?

Why do I freeze up at the thought of asking anything of anyone for any reason?
Why do I believe that it is my responsibility to take care of everyone else? Why would I rather hurt myself than to ask anything? Why do I think that asking anything of anyone will hurt them?
WHY am I so afraid of hurting someone that I ignore the facts and think if I speak, move, breath I am somehow causing someone else pain? (I'm not hurting anyone by asking for love, attention, or anything else.)
Why do I feel paralyzed and anxious? 

And why do I feel so sad today?


  1. I've read a bit about toxic shame lately and recognized a lot in myself, my family and upbringing. Perhaps it might interest you. I think it could be an explanation for not feeling angry even if you're completely justified to be angry. It's a new concept and idea for me, but form what I've learnt so far, I feel that it could relate to some of the questions you pose at the end of this blog entry. Ive found the following blog very helpful as it explains some of the key concepts:

    1. Melody - Thank you! I've read a lot and been in a lot of therapy, but just the first few paragraphs of that blog were so powerful. I don't have time to read through it and digest it all right now, but I will... and I am very grateful you stopped by and shared that with me.