RE: Are You Looking to Spiritual Practice When You Should Be Seeking Therapy?
I actually have what is known as treatment-resistant C-PTSD. My flashbacks and body memories are a result of trauma and they are painful but they are not suffering. Pain is - I have a painful flashback experience and perhaps it causes me to act out in a non-healthy way and repeat patterns and I would be largely unaware that I am in a pattern. Until the episode is over I literally have no control (until further healing of the PTSD).
Suffering would be after the episode I become very upset with myself rather than having compassion for myself because I have PTSD. (See my blog this just happened in the last 2 weeks and I blogged about it). Suffering would be creating all kinds of stories ON TOP of periodic episodes. It would be forming delusions like "I will never get better" "What's the use" and that can spiral into more serious delusions. But they are stoppable through spiritual practice. PTSD is not stoppable through spiritual practice. Suffering is not pain. It's what's on top of it. I hope that makes sense.
I see here you said "post traumatic world view" that sounds like suffering. PTSD is the actual traumatic pain itself. That might be splitting hairs.
BTW, this is not my opinion. It is literally the Buddhist definition of suffering.
By "post-traumatic world view," I didn't mean to imply the suffering that comes from beating yourself up over having PTSD or thinking that you won't ever feel any different. I meant the view that we are in constant danger, that others are undeserving of our trust, and that we must remain hypervigilant at all times to ensure our safety.
In what ways have you found therapy helpful to you in working on C-PTSD?
Hyper vigilance - that is PTSD. Suffering would be adding stuff on top of hyper vigilance.
Therapy and medication. I don't take anti-depressants. I take Prazosin, which is a high blood pressure medication, that is for nightmares, Gabapentin for sleep along with a antihistamine - cyproheptadine - for sleep. Therapy really helps have someone to talk to because my trauma is not over. The perpetrator is still in my family's life. Buddhism helps me to drop it after I'm done talking about it rather than ruminating about it.
I don't have hyper vigilance anymore and I attribute that to sticking with therapy for 30 years. It takes long time.
Through spending time practicing you learn how to make the distinction. It is very confusing if you aren't practicing because everything seems like it falls under the same category and it doesn't. Which is why I wrote this. It can work the other way around as well. Depends on what side of the coin you realize it first.