Hi, I am the author of my new baby born book titled « PTSD Beautiful Trauma », a memoir of my journey coping with PTSD, after Paris attacks (2015-2016).
My workplace was involved in both attacks, January and November. After Charlie Hebdo’s board office’s attack and the printing house’s owner held hostage my hotel was the theater of a “fake alert” which I lived as a real terrorist attack. The place was assaulted by GIGN commando, police and firefighters units. We followed evacuation procedure, in panic, and of course, we weren’t informed about what was going on, because French police adopt « freeze » strategy and worse, after the alert was over, we were sent back to our desk, like everything has never happened. Any psychological support was provided and talking about it was taboo. The Direction told us to minimize with guests and did their close door press event. That was in January, the horror movie of November 13th(Friday) was yet to come. Well, I had my first panic attack in July.
People were still shocked by the senseless tragedy. It’s been a tough time for France and Paris. After seeing the pictures of people who died, in Bataclan and terrace cafés, your mind wouldn’t settle for a while. But it’s united people big time. Like in the aftermath of any disaster, tribes reconnect to each other, because otherwise, we wouldn’t survive, individually, as mentioned in last Sebastian Junger’s book, « Tribe ».
Sure, I won’t ever forget that look of the policeman entering the hall, while we were getting out, holding visitors kids hands, and pretending that everything was fine, and under control, when actually, it wasn’t.
Since 2015 I live in a high tense environment with strict Security procedures, and I had to change service, and quiet contact with the public, which I love, since I can’t deal with any conflict or guest complaints anymore. My Self defense nervous system cried the word « enough » out loud. And, since I finally listened, and committed to Self Care, I am a lot better. There is no other way.
By the way, I developed sleep burn out, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and anxiety, memory loss, migraine, tachycardia, muscle tremors, hypervigilance, and other symptoms like anger outbursts, addictions, which were not defined as post-traumatic.
Actually, the main struggle with PTSD is that they are hardly detected and treated separately.
In fact, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorders might combine both physical, psychic exhaustion and emotional overreaction which is most often cured with pills. My choice to take a rest and follow my gut feeling led me to a holistic way to heal and develop my Self emotionally, spiritually, socially and mentally. My doctor played a role of mentor and life coach. He invited me to look at the clouds and finding my purpose.
When I finally caught the power of transforming my life, like do caterpillars with their chrysalis, I also got the meaning of Resilience, the capacity to adapt and respond positively to stress and catastrophe, rebuild your life and move forward. You can fail, or fall, and still rise from your ashes, and soldier on.
8 Keys to Cultivate your Superpower Called Resilience
- « Know Yourself and you will win all battles » as it is said in The art of war of Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist. That means to set boundaries and touch your limits. Don’t let stigma define you, understand that stress/trauma is a part of the story, not your identity. Realize that you are highly Sensitive and maybe, empathic. Strong means to accept to be vulnerable. Fight for Yourself. Learn how to protect you. Be your Hero, and feed your dragons. They will be your first warden.
- « Be like bamboo ». Stay in adversity, bend like bamboo in the hurricane and never break. Self-awareness means that you know your psychological and physiological needs, and recognize when it’s time to get some extra help. Listen to your body and emotional up and downs. Once the worse is over, take the time to celebrate and congratulate yourself, too. You have been brave enough to survive. There is no luck, but Amor Fati, love for fate. Accept the situation, including suffering and loss, as good or at least as necessary for your Growth.
- « Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain? » « Don’t know! » « It lets you know you’re not dead yet! » (Master Chief John Urgayle to Lt. Jordan O’Neil in movie GI Jane). Acceptance is not about giving up and letting the stress take over, but leaning in to experience the full range of emotions, and boost your Self-confidence, trusting that you will bounce back. Pain struggle won’t disappear if you deny it or ignore it. It will keep knocking on your door until you don’t face it.
- « Now is the right moment. » Take a time for sitting in silence. Meditation, like mindfulness, brings you back to the Present Moment, just observing your breathing, and enhances stillness and peaceful mind in everyday life. As well as joy, compassion, gratitude. We are masters of distractions. TV watching, video games, smartphones, and any addictions, can get you through a bad day, but it won’t be the best strategy for a long-term run. Life is a marathon. Save your energy. Ten minutes in the morning is a good starting block to strengthen your mind.
- « Change your story » It’s not what happened to you, but what you do with it, that makes a difference. Sometimes, you just need to keep a distance, and change perspective. Stop acting and feeling like a victim. It’s not your mother, your priest or your team leader. Take Responsibility. Check all options. You might wake up tomorrow, feel better and see things differently. Repeat to your Self, « it’s not your fault ». Give a happy end to your story.
- « What would you do if your friend would be in trouble? » Personally, when it was my turn, a friend, I felt Powerless and Useless. In fact, we don’t talk anymore. Nope, I wouldn’t turn to a friend, if I felt in despair. But, I would go for a pro. Not judgemental. Except if you have a good brother – you know the one who looks perfect to your eyes – who is wiser, good listener, and knows how to kick your ass when you most need it.
- « Rise up as a team » Skipping your peers it doesn’t mean you have to close and be alone. Enlist the people who are a good company for you. From your Hairdresser to Landlord, or the Neighbour (that nice lady who brought you a lemon cake when sick). If you can, avoid toxic relationships. Or carry a stone with you. I mean, a powerful labradorite, for empaths, to keep negative energies away and learn Visualization techniques to clean up.
- « Practice Self Care » Make a list of what empowers you and put words on your feelings. It’s ok not to have it all fixed right now. Get out of your head, keep a journal to report your depressive symptoms. You will notice, later in time, that it is only temporary. No matter how deep is the wound, in time, it leaves you with a scar. Make a cool tattoo. Writing helps you building your thoughts. Rumination and overthinking are overloading your brain system. Take a break. Easy up upon your expectations. Create a Resiliency form group. Listen to uplifting music. Do Yoga poses, get a class or subscribe to an inspiring channel to do it regularly at home. Find your Core Strenght and Balance. Stretch your sense of being Here and Now. Draw a Mandala and center Yourself. Realize Yourself. Become the Master of your Destiny.
If Achille had PTSD anybody can do. What if you knew that there is a Power in Dark times, that you can use to improve your life for the better? All you need is to believe in Yourself and perhaps, something larger than Yourself.