Flashbacks, night terrors, anxiety, wanting to run out of a room and not knowing why –PTSD is an extremely debilitating disorder, and the matter of fact is that there are presently no ways to control the obtrusive memories that come up, unannounced, and bring those feelings of sheer terror and panic back to the surface.
Body heat, chills, scratching your arms, hearing your head say, “USE, USE, USE… I NEED DRUGS…” – the intense cravings of drug addiction plague those of us afflicted. Even when walking around on a beautiful day, something subtle—unnamed—makes your head start spinning into the whirlwind of wanting to use drugs.
Obtrusive PTSD memories. Uninvited, rewarding, drug-associated memories. What to do about them, so that we can try to live happy lives – without hiding in our rooms or constantly relapsing?
Well, according to Nicole Lauzon, the stimulation of a sub-type of a dopamine receptor called the “D1” receptor could “completely prevent the recall of both aversive and reward-related memories.”
It sounds great… if you don’t look too close. Suppressing and blocking memories? Choosing what we want to know about our own pasts, when we want to know it? Sure, it would be ideal, but that isn’t life. Life comes as it comes, and we can’t control every aspect of it. Trying to control life and the circumstances around me is what took my addiction to the next level. Trying to forget the traumatic circumstances of my past is what drove me to the edge of no return.
Even if I force myself to consciously forget or control what I remember, my subconscious still knows. I still have body memories, whether it’s from PTSD or addiction. The things that have happened to us have already happened, and we can’t pretend that they haven’t. That’s playing games and hiding from the truth – we have to face it. Of course it will be hard work, but suppressing it deeper will only cause us to numb out and hurt us more. Trying to control the situations around us will only drive us into our own heads and make us crazier.
In a test circumstance, with rats, lab coats, controlled variables, and whitewashed walls, this experiment works perfectly. In the world, where life happens unpredictably and on its own terms, we would be doing ourselves a disservice by trying to control our memories rather than trying to deal with them as they come up.
We can’t control or change our pasts, nor can we control or change what the world throws at us or what situations we will be confronted with. All we can do is choose how we react to those situations. Why take a step back when we can choose to move forward?
University of Western Ontario. “Research Identifies A Way To Block Memories Associated With PTSD Or Drug Addiction.” Medical News Today. MedicLexicon, Intl. 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.