How To Handle Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Jan 13, 2018

This post was inspired by the song Waterfalls from the band TLC. Here’s everything I know on post-traumatic stress disorder. TLC would say CrazySexyCool!

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious issue. From war children to millennials disgusted by the open space, everybody will find clues about PTSD in this post. And believe me, I’ve done a lot of research.

The band R E M used to sing that the hit of the century can bring you to your knees; then I wonder what else can do. I’m not talking about love. But the hit of the century is debatable. I know a lot of rappers who enjoy success at the moment. I’m not a big fan but they know cool music to sample like Eminem.

I have found several angles on post-traumatic stress disorder (aka burnout, cancer…). Here are the different angles one by one and a solution proposed. After all, if music is about problem-solving, maybe everything is.

Even a song can bring you to your knees. Then the first angle on PTSD we will talk about is the one from the song.

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Why Don’t You Reduce The Difficulty?

This is breaking news: sharks don’t have cancer. For them, it’s very clear: the love of God is here to stay. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs. A specie that got extinct without knowing why except maybe the fact that it could get boring in the long run.

The song I chose for this post is called “Waterfalls”. It was a song I liked on the album from TLC called “CrazySexyCool”. Try to summarise your brand in 3 words; that was marketing advice I got while writing this blog.

Anyway, if sharks don’t have serious issues, then maybe this could inspire you a bit. If you have a serious issue, then the solution would be to play at a level where you could feel at ease or gain confidence. Indeed, playing at a high level can be no ordinary menu.

“Do not to go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” Or maybe do like I do playing a game called Diablo 3 who has like 15 levels of difficulty. Start normal, and, in the long run, try to increase the difficulty. You can also watch other experienced players’ strategies and tactics. Andre Agassi used to play small tournaments to regain his confidence before playing in Grand Slams.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex topic but here you have clues about it. As an experienced human being, I will think of another blogger: it’s nice to have a solution but it’s better to practice them! The song reminds me of poker: at bigger limits, there are a lot of sharks.

Start easy and increase difficulty is a nice angle. The next angle about PTSD is about preparation, power, and anticipation.

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It’s About Control And Relaxation.

The first angle I want to talk about is what I call “Uhu Yeah”. What I mean is that people suffering from heavy stress might think about the following:

  • they were unprepared,
  • they felt helpless,
  • it was unexpected.

One solution to PTSD is related to control. It’s about control (and relaxation). The next stop is finding partners. When facing a challenge, you have to have skills and it depends on the difficulty. Based on your skill level, you will experience relaxation, control or flow (I like to call that a partner you can trust or an association that is worth the time).

Freud said that young children were proud to control their sphincter! And when you think about it, he might be right. Think about the activities that give you pleasure. The one thing they have in common might be control. When looking for antonyms of control, you can stumble upon the words “freedom” or “chaos” and “neglect”.

Now we know control and relaxation is an interesting angle on PTSD. The next angle is about the importance of context when you talk about details.

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Why Did Method Man Sang About Context?

I read a science magazine a few months ago. That magazine had his point of view on the subject. People suffering from that illness tend to recall a detail of the experience and forget about the context. Method Man sings that context is critical.

The solution they propose is to avoid rumination and intensity of feelings. They also pointed out the role of new neurons or new experiences.

Words are not trivial. It’s the basis of emotions. Of course, instrumental music might be helpful when you’re lost for words. I like the idea but sometimes you don’t feel right. The challenge would be to keep emotions in a habitable zone. For example, if the Earth’s distance to the Sun was not the right one, life would never have been possible.

A habitable zone is the range of orbits around a star within which a planetary surface can support liquid water given sufficient atmospheric pressure. If I try to translate, I would come up with that definition. A bad emotion would be one that leaves you thirsty. Remember the doctor advised to drink 2 liters of water every day.

Context is critical and details make up a good story. The next angle is about intense efforts and their return on investment.

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What Does The Brain Monitor?

Another angle is the following: a part of the brain monitors intense efforts. Their cost and their benefits (call it return on investment). From a business perspective, most companies aim for a 5 to 1 ratio (they spend 100 and get 500).

It’s kind of a spy inside your heart. And rest assured spying requires 2 spies: the one monitoring your brain and the one monitoring the one who monitors. 2 riders approaching because you have to make sure treachery and treason can’t happen. If you like the spying business or espionage, you must be careful, because, when you find the reason, you will have trouble getting used to it.

The solution would be to know when to make a pause and manage the effort. This is because you want to avoid a serious injury. Your coach can push you to the limit but be careful. Life can be a marathon or a sprint but when you think about children, it might be a marathon. Let’s not forget that there is a situation where it’s improbable to find a ROI (according to statistician Nicholas Nassim Taleb).

Every day you can try to evaluate costs and benefits from a situation. The next angle is about emotional intelligence and fear/desire.

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Four Types Of Emotions To Remember.

Yet another angle is what a lot of people call burnout. It happens a lot in the corporate world. You might call that the Tokyo blues: “when the music hits you, as hard as a case of influenza”, what are you going to do? Feel all flushed with fever and embarrassment?

But what’s important is that you’re afraid to feel. You will end up calling your lawyer. By the way, you will miss opportunities. When you’re afraid to feel, you might wonder what’s this new emotion. In fact, it might be an old one that your memory is rearranging. Here are the 4 types of emotions one should know about (for humans only): simple emotions, mixed emotions, repelled emotions, and pseudo-emotions. This will be the subject of a post in the near future.

By the way, alienation is defined by medicine as “a state in which a person’s feelings are inhibited so that eventually both the self and the external world seem unreal”. And psychologists have come up with a cycle called “Do – Feel – Think”.

The solution then would be to develop your emotional intelligence. One hint about it: you might just be jealous, meaning it’s a combination of sadness, anger, frustration, and disgust.

Let’s not be afraid to feel those 4 types of emotions. The next angle is about unconscious ways of dealing with injuries.

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What Compensation For Scarred For Life?

Do you know the Phoenix Suns? It’s an NBA basketball team who allowed some old players to regain form when they were seriously injured previously. In sports, you have to pass a physical to verify you’re able to play.

The Suns’ medical staff explained that, in a nutshell, when you hurt somewhere, you tend to compensate. For example, at the moment, I’m having a hard time digesting an experience (the role of the liver). Thus, I’m putting a lot of pressure on the heart (associated to summer) and a dominant idea that will help me like “I will authorize myself to go partying from time to time”.

Minutes change like seasons, don’t they? Are you rearranging hell at the moment? Treachery and treason, there’s always an excuse for it. The solution then would be to remain balanced. Music and sounds could be key to stay out of the precipice because it’s the fundamental role of the ear.

If you feel scarred for life, what kind of compensation can you have? The next angle is about solid foundations, muscles, and bones.

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Back To Basics And See The Difference.

When muscles can’t handle the load anymore, it is transferred to bones. Bones are where the secret alchemy of mankind takes place. Fatigue fractures are commonplace everywhere you go. But scientists have found some in a dinosaur called Allosaurus Fragilis. They say fatigue only happens in healthy persons.

The heart is an involuntary muscle and it’s the most vital organ among the vital organs (liver, pancreas, lungs, brain, and kidneys). You need to practice if you want muscles like a sign or symptom of good health (demonstration of fitness).

Of course, if you become intolerant to exercise (which will happen as you get older, whether or not you worked in a high-pressure environment), the solution would be to consider you suffer from decompression sickness and go back to basics.

Radiohead made an album on that subject called “The Bends”. You tend to scratch your eternal itch. Some will say it’s a 20th-century bitch. In my case, it would be lamenting over my level in mathematics preventing me to be skilled in signal processing. In the field of signal processing, sounds have a fundamental (for example the A 440 Hz note) and harmonics which are multiples of this frequency.

With solid foundations and knowing the basics, you will get wonderful harmonics. At the moment, my fundamental is investigating why I’m smoking and I’m exhausted.

When muscles fail you, bones will take over. The next angle is about excess and lack that oriental medicine deems responsible for our condition.

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Where Did We Go Wrong?

Another angle I could think of is sobriety. Freddie Mercury and Queen used to sing: “too much will kill you, as sure as none at all”. And then he started wondering where did he go wrong. I was high on sobriety, but I realise the important word is wisdom.

The solution that a famous French and Lebanese writer evoked was defining wisdom as finding a compromise between two extremes. The solution would then be in 2 steps:

  1. the first step would be to define correctly two extremes. I’m not talking about 2 Extreme’s song (the first one I could think of was “More Than Words”),
  2. the second step would be to find a point where you would be comfortable or feel in control. I often repeat myself (“I’m a talented musician”).

Amin Maalouf defined wisdom that way but it seems a philosopher can talk with everybody. With a cab driver, a nurse or a king. Or even a newbie blogger like myself so feel free to leave a comment below.

Lack and excess leave you vulnerable and you’re shaking. I’d like to finish this post with the last angle: COURAGE and levels of consciousness.

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One Challenge That Will Make You Easy.

There is a level of consciousness called courage. The first level of true force. Courage happens when you see life as a challenge, and not a burden. We might wonder how life can become a burden.

The first thing that comes to mind is the “burden of proof”. Someone lost with narcissistic perverts or allusive junkies might experience that. The problem with proof is the following: you can become suspicious and finally be confirmed in your misjudgment.

Einstein used to say that “no problem can be solved without identifying the level of consciousness that created it”. In my case, maybe it was patience. I was patient because I wanted to be sure and verify that this problem was a serious one (depending on your horizon).

That’s all I know on PTSD. Information that looks serious and reliable. As a musician, I could write a lot about that. For example, what about the last time you were sober? What about that case of influenza because of music? What if all you see turns to brown?

Here is a quick recap of all angles I could think of. I will try to update that list as time goes by. I already have one or two things in mind like Buddhism and maybe Christianism. These are the solutions proposed to PTSD:

  • reduce the difficulty of a challenge,
  • find a way to relax, have control and/or find partners,
  • avoid rumination and intensity,
  • don’t make an unconscious financial statement,
  • develop your emotional intelligence,
  • keep your balance,
  • go back to basics,
  • find a compromise between two extremes,
  • identify your level of consciousness,
  • and test your solution.

Post-traumatic stress is a complex topic but here you have clues about it. As an experienced human being, I will think of another blogger: it’s nice to have solution, but it’s better to practice them! The song reminds me of poker: at bigger limits, there are a lot of sharks. And sharks don’t have serious problems.


Nicolas Sursock

Nicolas is a musician. His work now focuses on digesting 10000 songs of jazz, blues, soul, rock, funk and electronic. He plays the guitar if he's not blogging!