29 March 2009

Improving the signal to noise ratio in my head

Another hopefully quick note, I have a lot to do today but need to say something... I'm trying to reduce the amount of noise, activity, and just plain stress in my life. I have too much, and I've reached the point where I have to turn down the volume.

There's a certain point where you realize that you need to be around other people who are safe for you; they aren't going to hurt you, take advantage of you, or subjugate you. Those people are good to be around. They're hard to find sometimes, but they're worth looking for and being with. Being that lonely guy that's always sitting at the end of the bar with a double in one hand isn't much fun-- you have to get out and do things with other people.

Then there are people who aren't necessarily going to hurt you, but they are going to make your life more exciting, in a bad MTV sitcom drama kind of way. Those folks aren't relaxing to be around, because there are always issues to deal with and something that you have to overcome or let slide. Chances are you have to be one of the peacemakers, smoother overs, or people who figures out how to make shit work.

With recovering from PTSD, you're trying to turn the volume down, make the voices quieter, spend more and more of your life in a non-triggered mode-- but when you're around people who create a lot of chemistry, drama, excitement, issues-- your overall vigilance level rises to meet the environment you're in. This chemistry can be good or bad-- might be loving sexual or might be imminent death-- but the feeling, your reaction, is biologically the same. If your body, mind, and nervous system are feeling like there's a lot in the environment to deal with, it's going to deal with it all, and once you're triggered, you lose your conscious ability to stop it. Some environments are not safe. Fortunately, this isn't the Desert, and if I'm careful I can avoid some if not all of those types of environments. (Or so I hope.)

So I'm examining my connections to the rest of the world. Relationships, friends, activities, organizations I belong to, evaluating what's really doing me some good, and what's doing nothing but keeping the noise level (and reaction posture) higher than it needs to be. I'm discovering that there is a lot of stuff that I need to do for other people that is exactly what's keeping me distracted and triggered. So I'm withdrawing from certain things, and putting my energy towards things that matter-- things that will return energy back to me instead of just soaking it up and asking for more.

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