FireCat! The Legend of Amazon Sage©

Sage is a quirky girl who always loved wild animals, funny people, adventure and indigenous music. She still does.

What no one knows is that every night in her dreams, Sage

transforms into a woman of power and wisdom, called

Amazon Sage.

Unlimited by the confines of newtonian physics, she is fierce and full of compassion, traveling where ever she is needed to help relieve suffering in the world.

Only problem is,

Amazon Sage© only lives while Sage is dreaming.

Once Sage awakens, Amazon Sage © disappears. These blogs are written by Sage, telling what happens in this most secret life...

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Flooded by Fear”

Good morning, friends.
In light of all of the increased natural disasters, I asked Amazon Sage “What makes one person develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), while another who has experienced the same event, does not?” As I asked, I was thinking of people who experienced devastating earthquakes, fires, and tsunami in Japan and massive tornadoes and flooding in the Mississippi Delta, here in the USA. Will one group of people fare better than the other, even though both may have lost homes, livelihoods, and lives?
Amazon Sage travelled to the home of one lonely survivor in Japan to see how he fared. In his entire close-knit community, he was the only one whose house was spared. Yet, like every other survivor, he too had to sleep outside to improve his chances of awakening unscathed. In the destruction, he too was faced with the sounds, sights, and smells of death, not knowing from one moment to the next if his life would be taken next.
To speak with him, a person with an untrained ear might not pick up the profound sense of loss and fear that permeated his every fibre, since he courageously spoke of the importance of continuing to work and the need to help his neighbors. Does this man have PTSD?  To answer that question it is important to know that PTSD is not simply a strong fear, such as the fears and phobias that make our lives more restricted but do not necessarily continue to  traumatize us on a continuing basis. It is a complex of conditions and circumstances that coincide to cause chronic and severe stress.
For instance, PTSD requires that a person experience a direct threat of death or great bodily harm, to self or to someone close to her or him. Clearly, that occurs in wars. As a result we have large numbers of our military returning from prolonged war experiences suffering from PTSD. It is also a frequent experience in cases of rape or other personal assault and accounts for significant changes in the survivor’s life and livelihood.
Another element of PTSD is the feeling of utter helplessness in the face of the traumatic event or extreme loss. This may be the most important indicator of whether similarly “attacked” people get through the experience  intact or whether they develop PTSD. A person who has developed PTSD may begin to experience recurring nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event, sometimes “triggered” by unknown events.  To try to prevent this, in boot camp, what appears to be dehumanizing training is actually aimed at desensitizing the soldier so that he or she will act automatically and not be taken by surprise (and feel that sense of  helplessness) in the face of almost certain trauma. In the 1950s, the “duck and cover” practices of school children were aimed at the same as a nuclear attack loomed.
Another potential reaction to extreme trauma is avoidance. In an avoidance reaction, the person will do almost anything to avoid talking about, revisiting, or re-experiencing the devastating feelings once again. For these people, attempts to control their environments (and the people in them) becomes a stress management tool. Unfortunately, these same controlling behaviors invariably result in broken marriages and a host of other mental and physical problems. Without strong family or therapeutic support (and I don’t mean medication!), people with PTSD continue to suffer, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Think about the number of Vietnam Vets who still nightly wrestle with demons, alone in the woods or on the streets of our cities.
So, who is most likely to develop PTSD from the floods, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, personal assaults and wars? Those people who believed that they or someone close to them would be imminently killed or suffer great bodily harm; AND who felt helpless to do anything about it in that moment; AND who have little or no community and family support; AND who have no access to (or  refuse) psychotherapeutic assistance. As a person who has experienced, up close and personal, assault, killings, and loss of almost everything important in her life, Amazon Sage has also known PTSD. That is why she encourages each person who recognizes themselves here, to get help from someone specifically trained to treat PTSD. For those of you who haven’t developed it, now is the time to prepare yourself, psychologically and emotionally for whatever is next. For all our sakes, we must stop abusing our mother earth; reduce greenhouse gasses, stop our obsessive purchasing, ride a bike. Our planet is angry and will not stop spewing wind, fire, and water until we stop hurting her.... Aho, my friends, thank you.