The time comes when practices and tools and new skills aren’t just convenient, or a nice quality of life improvement, or appreciated growth and self-improvement; they aren’t about that, and never were. The time comes, sooner or later, almost inevitably, when practices, tools, and skills are what I am counting on to maintain not just balance, or contentment, or comfort dealing with others – they save me from myself, they put boundaries on a surreal recurring waking nightmare that is the result of my PTSD flaring up. Over time, when the time comes, they become something I can (hopefully) count on to give me a moment to change a reaction to a response, when my PTSD and my disinhibiting brain injury cross paths in a moment of stress.

The time will come…does come…when I will find myself facing me, facing a challenge – that much I know, from a lifetime of experience; “this too shall pass” applies equally to the moments of calm and joy, as it applies to the moments of panic, and terror.

These practices I write so much about, talk so much about, and frankly practice so much for many minutes of this finite mortal life are not just conveniences or cool things to do – they saved my life. This morning they proved their worth, and I proved that I am not wasting my time learning to practice the practices.

There’s not much more to say about this morning, in any specific way. I have PTSD. My symptoms are sometimes triggered by very specific domestic scenarios; one of the lasting effects of domestic violence decades ago (so don’t act violently toward people you say you love, okay?). I also have a brain injury that severely limits the ‘inhibiting’ and regulatory executive functions that most people can count on to avoid saying the wrong thing, or acting on impulse – or releasing the full visceral power of their emotional experience in the moment. This morning I found myself disadvantaged by those characteristics of my experience, and leaning heavily on new practices, new understandings of mind and practical emotional neuroscience, and the love and good-heartedness of my traveling partner, who handled things – and me – so tenderly. This morning, it was enough. (Huge win there, frankly.) The hours of study, meditation, practicing good self-care, more meditation, getting more exercise, taking better care of my physical health, and still more meditation, the hiking, the talk therapy, learning cognitive practices that improve implicit memory, more meditation still…and the miles and miles of walking, and being; every bit of it is worth the effort, the life-force spent, the time taken just to have it pay off this one time, this morning.

You know, it isn’t even about ‘proof of concept’ in any especially grown up way – it’s more like the scene in Harry Potter “Prisoner of Azkaban” when Harry realizes he can cast the Patronus charm – because he already had (nothing like time travel to get a leg up on the future, I guess…). I am hopeful I can go forward more easily able to take advantage of new practices to manage my PTSD and my TBI…because this morning, I did. Oh, wait…That’s exactly what ‘proof of concept’ actually is. LOL Go, Brain. Proof of concept…but ‘in a Harry Potter way’; I may never actually be a proper grown up. 🙂

Sometimes this can feel a very lonely journey; we are not alone. <3 Detail of "Communion" 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic, 2011

Sometimes this can feel a very lonely journey; we are not alone. ❤
Detail of “Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic, 2011

So…it’s another day to treat myself and others well, and a good day to stay aware of how easily a comfortable seeming recovery from a bad moment can go awry without continuing to practice the practices. Today is a good day for self-compassion, and acceptance that these are called ‘invisible injuries’ for a reason. Today is a good day to trust love. Today is a good day to enjoy a better outcome, and to say ‘thank you’ – because better outcomes are rarely a solo endeavor.