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Peace Induced PTSD

Trauma is not the only trigger of PTSD like symptoms.

Peace (or joy or love or happiness) can also be a trigger for PTSD like symptoms.

I’ve experienced subtle versions of the this over the last few years:

  • When I speak my truth to another and it disappoints or angers them, even if my intention is love, I feel fear and anxiety.

  • When I sit down to write my book, even though I’m passionate about the idea, I feel lonely and bored.

  • When I honor the needs of my body but disappoint my kids or partner, I feel guilty.

  • When I receive something that I have been calling in, rather than rejoicing in gratitude, I feel shameful and unworthy.

In all of these situations, even though the initial input or intention is peace, the resulting experience or output is a negative feeling or state of being. How does that happen?

I was working with a client a few weeks ago who described a new onset of unusual symptoms which she had labeled “cortisol surges.” Somewhere between 1 -4 times per day whether she was active or inactive, asleep or awake, working or resting she would begin feeling very drained and weak like she had overexerted herself.

Until our call she had been unable to identify the source of these unusual symptoms but she identified with it as how she had felt many times in the past when her body was handling a great deal of stress which is why she had labeled them her “cortisol surges.”

As I dialogued with her body, I was prompted to ask about her experience as a toddler. What did she remember about that time period in her life?

“I was a source of stress for my mother,” she informed me.

As we explored that statement together more closely, she began to see that she wasn’t actually the source of stress for her mother. The source of stress was her mother’s “idea” of what should bring her peace (marriage and motherhood), despite the lived experience of rarely actually feeling at peace.

What was happening for her mother and now my client is that they had learned to search for peace where they had been conditioned to believe that it “should” exist, but never actually in the places their soul was guiding them to find it.

Essentially, we learn to override the impulses and guidance of our Inner Wisdom in order to satiate our mind’s preference to avoid fear at all cost.

The result is that we spend a lifetime avoiding fear in an attempt to find peace, but never actually arrive at the destination of true inner peace.

My client’s “cortisol surges” were actually stress responses to experiences of peace that she was beginning to allow into her life. She was essentially experiencing peace induced PTSD.

Here is where modern medicine has it all wrong and it starts with you and I recognizing what our symptoms are really showing us.

Her symptoms weren’t a problem, there were actually an indication that she was opening and allowing greater and greater levels of Inner Peace into her life. How wonderful! Her “symptoms” were actually a cause for celebration.

Where we go wrong is that we interpret the symptom as a problem which loops us deeper and deeper into the fear/PTSD circuitry that we are actually trying to get out of.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we stopped cursing our bodies every time it didn’t function the way we wanted it to? If we actually rejoiced and appreciated and trusted that our body was a self correcting mechanism designed to lead us directly toward the peace, joy, love, and satisfaction that we desire?

Although the intention is good, the majority of prescribed methods of treatment at least in America are actually designed to keep the fear/stress circuit activated, which keeps the actual experience of peace (and thus healing) farther and farther out of our reach.

This is actually what procrastination is all about. It’s why we have such a hard time sticking with diet and exercise programs and it’s why we don’t take action to fulfill on the visions we have for our life.

Because we don’t actually want to experience Inner Peace. It feels too scary to go there.

The good news is that we can totally rewire this circuitry (click here if you want to join my Aligned workshop to learn more), we can call fear’s bluff, and we can create the vibrant life we truly desire to be experiencing.

During that same call my client discovered that the main reason peace felt so elusive to her is that peace doesn’t actually FEEL safe in her body. It feels scary and wrong and threatening to her nervous system.

As we were wrapping up her call, she told me that she was having a hard time deciding when she should take her social security. Should she take it early even though it meant less money or wait a few more years to cushion her income more?

I asked her to tell me how each option felt in her body. She was clear, one felt safe and the other felt scary. Based on this observation she felt like she should go with the option that felt safe until I reminded her that PEACE doesn’t feel safe in her body, it feels scary!

Do you see why we constantly make choices for ourselves that continuously lead us away from the experience of Inner Peace?

Realizing this is what fuels our ability to re-wire the circuitry. We call fear’s bluff and go with the option that feels scary as hell.

It feels like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, but THAT’S HOW WE HEAL.

Because then we realize we had a parachute all along and all of a sudden we are soaring and appreciating the beauty all around us. And there is a moment when we realize we did that hard thing we didn’t think we could do or didn’t believe we were worthy of.

And here we are standing back on the solid earth on the other side of our fear and everything is calm. Peace is flowing graciously through our body and we realize that we are far more powerful than our fear ever could be.

Gratitude flows, trust forms, we open our hearts to surrender, and we heal.

Oh yes, we heal, and it feels so so good.

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