PTSD and the Killer Terrier

Mr. Sky 050

The amazing Mr. Sky

“The desire to live life to its fullest, to acquire more knowledge, to abandon the economic treadmill, are all typical reactions to these experiences in altered states of consciousness. The previous fear of death is typically quelled. If the individual generally remains thereafter in the existential state of awareness, the deep internal feeling of eternity is quite profound and unshakable.”  ~  Edgar Mitchell

There is something extraordinary about today’s opening photograph. Reflect for a moment, can you see what it is? The photo depicts a terrier sitting still! I suspect that his sole motive in sitting still had more to do with ego than anything else. Little terriers are quick, and he was always quick to grab a photo opportunity. He was my dog, Mr. Sky. I have written here before about our history as two male mammals with some serious issues to work out between us. At first, Mr. Sky wanted to kill me. He was a rescue. He hated men, he hated boots. You do the math. The nutshell version here is that I had to reach deep and change myself to be in tune enough with him to connect and make a few small repairs. It took me a year. But the conflict turned to play, as his aggressive tendencies were quite natural, a reaction to the trauma of the previous phase of his life. In other words: we worked it out. Never think that dogs, and other animals, don’t have subjective experience, especially if you don’t like being wrong. Sometimes healing means something we may not recognize, at first: the damage has been done, the scar is real; the only way through is not acceptance, rather allowance. This is one of the core lessons of PTSD. I’m pretty good at allowing, but there are times when the trigger just trips, regardless of my practiced recognition of any of the various triggers. Come up behind me unannounced and you will see what I mean. No, I don’t lash out, I’m not a violent person at heart. But don’t expect communications beyond that point. For that, it may take some time. If you protest or get openly angry . . .  that time becomes longer. I just shut down. There is no controlling this. My PTSD was born of a freak bicycle accident (I wrote a book if you’d like to read it. Message me through Facebook and I will send you a PDF copy for free. You can buy it from Amazon if you like hardcopy or Kindle better, but I’m not in it for the money). I long ago processed the fear of getting on a bicycle again. In fact I began working that through as soon as I got out of the hospital, after they had sewn part of my face back on. The front forks of the bicycle were severely bent from their impact with the road, after the wheel took off on its own. I removed the forks off my old bike, which was of the same Raleigh model, and put them on the newer one. I consciously sensed that this was the right thing to do. I should have also shipped my helmet back to the manufacturer for replacement. You’re not supposed to wear a helmet after an impact of that magnitude, regardless of any lack of visual damage. But I was too much of a numbskull during those days – literally. The lingering triggers were born in the days and weeks after the crash, some of them nearly immediately; people who had no idea what PTSD was, of if it even had anything to do with their careless words or actions, even if they were, they thought, being nice and supportive. If it hit me as wrong it got etched into my soul, and my body and mind took it in fast, in both senses of the word. I would be in the store somewhere and somebody would come too close, and these words would slip out of my mouth, uncontrolled: “don’t touch me”. I’d say it out loud, though softly. And I meant it. I’ve through the years been able to moderate that fear to a large degree, but the reaction is still there; muscle memory. Even with eye contact, if you touch me uninvited, I will brace and loose my words. The exception is with people I trust deeply, or those I want to touch mesubconsciously or otherwise. Now, moving forward, the Daily Raven has already squawked outside. He was perched this time, not flying. The coffee is long gone. Eyes packed in cotton. The smoke from the Bonito Fire got seriously thick for a while yesterday afternoon. Thus the puffy and numb eyes. The stench of the smoke was nasty. It is clear so far this morning. That can change, but you can’t stop the smoke, because the wind has other ideas. Hey, I had no intention of writing about PTSD, it kinda sorta just slipped out. Expression promulgates healing. You may quote me on that.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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