Saturday, September 17, 2022

Second Life my healing tool.

I know many of you may get tired of hearing people talk about PTSD because the term is so overused, but let me tell you from my own experience it is very real. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is unique to the individual but the stages are similar. It is commonly associated with veterans who have served on active duty and those who have lived through natural disasters or massive violent events; however, it can also develop after the death of a loved one or even after a traumatic hospital stay or vehicle accident. I so can identify with this and go through it and I still get triggered.

It sometimes feels like a bunch of sheep running all over not knowing where to go.

Stage 1: The Emergency Stage is when you feel you have been hit by a freight train and you do not understand where it came from. I would often ask why is this happening and I had no label for it, I just thought it is me. This made my anxiety super high and I basically was hiding away from people. Some may run to people and want to tell everybody that some trauma happened. I used Second Life to get away and feel secure and deal with my anxiety in a calm relaxing way.

Stage 2: The Numbing Stage made me deny my many traumatic experiences from childhood to the moment I was diagnosed with PTSD after a violent attack. There was no way that my childhood was bad, but in therapy, it all came out. I am not saying that therapy is bad, but it made the severity of my condition a much bigger deal. Oh yes and I denied it, there was nothing wrong with me.

Stage 3: The Intrusive/Repetitive Stage can happen fairly quickly after the trauma or years later depending on the denial and discovery of what happened. I had flashbacks daily. Every man, every word, sometimes the music would bring it on. Second Life includes many jerks that are narcissistic and can break a person. Not all of course. To be honest I stay away from any of them now because Second Life is for me, my time, my healing and I do what makes me feel good.

Stage 4: The Transition Stage is when you finally accept that you have PTSD and it is going to be ok. Life can be normal again. There is no time when this particular stage occurs, it is different for each person. It can be weeks, months, and even years, but it will get here eventually. If I can do it, so can you.

Stage 5: In the Integration Stage when you successfully worked through your recovery program and now have tools to fight the triggers, you may be able to deal with your anxiety better. There are times when you fall back and life looks all crazy again, but these days are shorter and what you have learned along the way is much more helpful. My therapist would often tell me to find real friends and not rely on make-believe friends from Second Life. I told her those are not make-believe they are real people with real problems behind the screens. Therapists do not know everything.

Second Life has helped me many times to fight the triggers to feel the self-worth I was missing and most of all to be appreciated as a creative person. I am thankful for this. Come visit me anytime at the Retreat that was created for all people in Second Life who may have struggles, and who may need to escape until they get to Stage 5. I am here for you.

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