Windows and Doors, Part 1

Overcoming symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder takes a lot of dedication and creativity. Michele Talerico-Renaud has tons of both and today is sharing them with us…

On Woman’s Plight to HealPTSD, Survivors Speak, Trauma

Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be a frightening, debilitating and very draining experience. Its elusive course from initial impact often creeps up on me when least expected, leaving me feeling hopeless while working towards recovery. Whatever wars I have been through either physically or emotionally, are that which is remembered and reacted to. Just recognizing the facts of what caused the suffering in the first place isn’t enough to foster the counter attack that will diminish the embedded scars. Just because the past enters the present, and the present thus effects my future it no longer means that I have to let it. This is my plight with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which I consider to be Post Trauma Survival Determination.

Deep seated wounds of the past that need to be repeatedly dealt with must be excavated in order to heal and more often than not, PTSD can become complicated by more stress that come in ways that vary with intensity day by day. Where the old wounds are revisited and then re-ignited, the reaction of triggers is introspectively different for each situation. Although perception plays a huge role on the journey to wellness, and being able to understand ourselves takes consistent work on self awareness, what I’ve found are ways to reprogram the way I think. This entails mastering the internal emotions of which visually cannot be seen by those around us, and learning how to quiet my negative self dialogue. Depending on our own individual ability to change our suffering into what we can overcome, takes time but can be achieved.

Where every life circumstance that re-traumatized my senses came a myriad of PTSD challenges. I consciously took a positive measure of figuring things out along the way. A certain dependency on seeking therapy to assist me covered a 27 year time frame yet it helped me to pick up fragmented pieces of myself and re-frame them into who I was underneath. My individual ability to not only change my responses to what elicited the negative behavior was, and still is, without a doubt hard. By using techniques that work for me in positive ways, personal reflection, and insight into what hindered me from reaching deeper within myself to better manage what comes to the surface of my being. What has helped in obtaining inner peace towards complete health is a life long goal and to share my story of how I’ve manage to get closer to that, hopefully will inspire others to continue reaching their potential of healing.

The willingness to see things clearly and work from the “inside out” while proceeding to stand on the “outside looking in”, leads the way for opening many “windows and doors” to the core of the self. Before letting you in on the methods I have utilized in healing myself, here are just two examples that will clarify the concepts:

1) Dirty Windows with the shades pulled down and the Door closed…

* Negative Self Dialogue and Skewed Perceptions only magnify the past and fuel triggered memories of any painful experiences. These learned and repeated thoughts keep us shut tightly within our minds and emotions, and we then not only close the door on ourselves but remain stuck behind it. Hence, the windows are clouded, shades pulled down on our potential, and we are unable to see that PTSD is a symptom and does not define us nor should we let the triggers overcome us.

2) Clean the Windows and Leave the Doors opened!

* Imagine a kaleidoscope, one that you must hold up to the light to behold the designs that are created. Using a clean open window or a door that reveals the light from outside would be a good way to embrace the beauty that is the tapestry of our lives as PTSD sufferers. For every moment that our kaleidoscope gets stuck, our progress to re-create who we truly are is set back and our healing is thwarted. By being able to see ourselves from either side of the window inside or out, and finding ourselves either behind the door in darkness or standing in the opened frame ready for positive experiences, the journey of survival becomes a reality in healing.

Okay, so now that we have been able to look out the window, the next step is to be able to open that door on PTSD unsticking it from our foundational core. Stay tuned for the next post where I will share what has worked for me, and might work for you!

Michele Talerico-Renaud’s personal domain and blog  is or
She started it when she became a NYS Action Leader with MADE (moms and dads for the education of dating abuse) who is sponsored by Liz Claiborne in conjunction with Love is not abuse curriculum and lobbying for laws in the educational arena. At the same time she had bowed out of a local grassroots organization who could not support her efforts. Immediately in that very same course of time,  due to her son’s health problems that hindered his education, she had to re prioritize her activism and advocacy with the focus on her child while in her own recovery. In order to deal with extreme life situations, it actually pushed her over onto the Healing side of things where self focus and PTSD triggers came in floods that just made her stronger! Yay!

She is a partner and contributor to The Courage Network where her story and a couple of poems are on.

Part 2 next week.

The ideas contained in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to the Survivor Speaks series, contact Michele.


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