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Hello Alexander,

 Your article, “A Different Way to Tell What PTSD Is Like”, has been accepted and published on EzineArticles.com: http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Different-Way-to-Tell-What-PTSD-Is-Like&id=7005713

 You’ve also earned Expert Author status: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alexander_Nestoiter


A Different Way to Tell What PTSD is Like

            The strength of your emotions during the event determine how long and how vivid you will remember things. Sharp pain, as a physical representation of negative emotions is stronger than intense pleasure, a representation of positive emotions. What I write below is irrelevant about its content, but is very relevant about the longevity and the vividness of details preserved by memory over time. Again, and again, I am not comparing this situation to PTSD. Instead, I use this example to illustrate that if positive emotions could capture the degree of vividness and preserve it over time, negative emotions are by their nature are more potent than pleasant ones. If I remember my pleasant experiences this well, a soldier or a rape victim remembers details of his or her nasty events much more lucid and much more longer.

I could, of course, write about different nasty experiences, about things that will make your hair stand, and will keep you awake at night, for many nights. Instead, I chose to share with you only pleasant memories because they will not be disturbing, intrusive, and unmanageable.

After reading my notes, I want you to understand with your brain, gut, and soul, that PTSD is polar opposite of this and many times stronger. The point is for you to, at least, somehow, experience what PTSD is like without putting you through the real, the nasty, the worst of what a man is capable of doing.

Our memories shape our lives, our actions, and our reactions to the conditions that resemble what we experienced some time in the past. From the moment of inception, we remember, consciously or subconsciously, everything we hear, smell, taste, touch, feel, and think about; we remember ideas and emotions, we remember it all, from inception to death. The reason some memories stay fresh for a month, a year, or for life, is because they were written using stronger and stronger emotions. In a way, emotions assign the tools with which the memories are recorded.


Special Memories Come with Keys, Like Charms on a Necklace

In my early twenties, I fell in love. I was young and inexperienced in handling emotions. Although many years went by filling my memory banks with other experiences, I can still recall the sensations, the emotions, and the feelings I had back then. That relationship did not work out. And even though I have not seen her for decades, I still remember. The stronger the feelings, the longer the memory will last.

I used to enjoy playing music, including five years of music school with classes at least three times a week, and tons of practice. After my graduation, I put the instrument in the closet, and when found it a year later, I could not play a single tune, even with the music sheets. So how is it that maybe 50 aggregate hours of sex during several months of relationship linger in my memory for several decades, while what I learned in over 1,500 hours of lessons over five years, vanished from the memory in less than a year?

Why is it that every time I see a redhead, I remember the redheaded girl, my childhood friend? Actually, playing with her was more trouble than fun. To this day, I have no redheaded friends.

Fear is another key—more powerful emotion than love, in terms of memorability. Although I’ve had my share of gruesome frightening memories, I would rather talk about the brain and memory by using pleasant experiences.

Her skin was soft and velvety. Her scent, lightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla, reminded me of the scent of the hair of a toddler. Her eyes were dark, big, and deep as an ocean. We were kissing, cuddling and kissing some more. Our hands caressed each other’s skin, and it felt as though we didn’t have enough hands and enough fingers to touch and caress the entire body, all at the same time. Her lips kissed every spot on my body. Hot, moist and insatiable, they wanted more, and more, and more. At times, when I had my eyes closed, it felt as though I was in her lips, between them, as though I was within them, inside and out. We had to take short breaks from giving each other pleasure. When she kissed my hand, or arm, or leg, or stomach, that part would experience such intensity of sensation, it felt as though my heart moved in there. Sometimes it felt as though my heart was in my stomach or in my throat, or in my calf. She would start kissing and caressing that part, and after some time, that part of my body would get hot. I would start feeling my heartbeat in there. Then it would start throbbing with pleasurable sensations. The pleasure would increase to the point of becoming mixed with discomfort, to dull pain, to intense pain mixed with intense pleasure. When we stopped, it was only to catch some breath. Between the periods of cuddling, caressing and kissing, we would interlock our genitals for the dance of life, with the rhythm of the blinking star. Going inside her was not a treat, it was an ever-evolving journey, sometimes boisterous, rough, relentless, merciless, like the heavy storm waves pounding the rocky cliff; every time exploding, roaring with the raucous unbridled spirit. Sometimes it was a calm voyage with slow, warm, long waves running up the fine sand of a tropical beach, breaking up in tiny white bubbles, absorbed by the thirsty sand without a whisper. Oozing from the inside out, spouting from the outside in was the nectar of love, saturating, insisting, permeating, invading, remarkable, unstoppable. We relished in its tangy presence and let our bodies drink up the elixir of life.

Sex, love making, it was not. It was beyond sexual gratification, beyond physical pleasures, beyond intimate closeness, beyond emotional fulfillment. They were voyages, not intercourse, not oral sex, not kissing. They were voyages; voyages into a different realm of existence, out of our bodies and into the unity, the boundless unity with everything. Not daily, not with any schedule, not with any kind of arrangements, these expeditions would start with a barely perceptible look in each other’s eyes, an unspoken understanding that it was time for another journey, a trip into the abyss of pleasure and mystery. Each trip had a life of its own. It would start seemingly on its own, and last for four, six, twelve hours, and one time, close to three full nights and three full days. It was only upon our arrival, that we could somehow get a grip on reality and time. During these trips, however, the notion of time seemed to disappear, and neither of us was even vaguely aware of the existence of time or the word “time” itself.

My body would feel as though it was spreading into hers, as though I was dissolving in her, and she was dissolving into me. Our spirits and our bodies would become one, like water blends with milk. I knew every sensation she had, and she knew every sensation I had. We knew each other’s thoughts and feelings. When we looked into each other’s eyes, we were able to talk to each other without uttering a single word. This way, we talked about clouds, rain, water, jumping in the puddles, how we first rode a tricycle. She would tell me about flowers and dresses, and music and fire, and I would tell her about bridges and energy, and war and the planet. We were not talking per se, but communicating without words, without gestures, without signals. Wide varieties of new knowledge would just appear before us, within our reach, not requiring any effort to understand or share. We even played with each other by trading where we were. With just a momentary look into each other’s eyes, we could swap places; I would go into her world and into her body, and she into mine. Momentarily I would feel as though I was her, feeling the weight of my body pressing on her, the fullness of her breasts, her finger nails, her long and curly hair under my back, I felt my penis in her, the way it was pushing up and up and up, with every stroke rubbing by her heart reaching her throat.

While being her, I saw bright and colorful fields of flowers; I was hopping on a cloud, and bathing nude in a pond, under the waterfall. I felt how the flow of water agreed with the curves of her body, and how her nipples hardened against the flow. While being me, she said that she was uncomfortable with my wider shoulders; that she felt like flexing the stronger arm muscles. She didn’t feel feminine with the larger feet, and my penis was sticking out and was getting in the way; she said it pulled her pubic skin and felt heavy and demanding.

We both enjoyed playing this fun game, and we laughed and laughed. We could start it in a moment, and go back to our own selves just as fast.

Sometimes we would venture out into the world of trees and rivers. We would be holding hands as we approached a big old tree, and then we’d hug it, pressing our chests and chins into the bark. A moment later we would become that tree, see its life, see how it goes to sleep in the winter, and how it wakes up in the spring. We felt the heat from forest fires, the tree’s thirst during droughts. Tapping the wisdom of the tree was unparalleled. To stand in one place, stand there no matter what, experiencing the world day after day, year after year for hundreds of years is an experience wide as the horizon, and as profound as the night sky. Nothing was puzzling; nothing was difficult. Everything had its place, except for time. We only thought about time upon our arrival to our ordinary selves. While we were traveling, the present was in the past, and the past was in the present, and the future was there, too. The present, past and future were one. It was confusing, and amusing, but only afterwards. While in there, it was pure bliss.

I remember that her breath smelled like the breath of a baby after nursing: warm, sweet and contented. My hands remember the feel of her silky hair curls.

Why several decades later, do I still remember that?

And why don’t I remember what I had for lunch yesterday?


The brain has its own rules for remembering. It puts most of life experiences on the back burner, while keeping selective few perpetually hot. The more emotionally charged an experience, the longer we will remember it. Emotions accompany all of our experiences. The deeper our emotions during an event, the deeper it gets carved into the memory.

The longevity of the message depends on how that message was recorded. A sand castle will stand until the next tide. “Wash me” on the hood of a dusty car will last until the first rain, or car wash. But deeply engraved in stone, “Bob was here” will last an eternity. Emotions assign value to every signal, every bit of information entering our consciousness. In a way, emotions assign the tools with which the memories are recorded.

Low emotional value, and the message will dissipate like smoke in the air. Sitting in the company kitchen yesterday, eating something homemade, is what happens when the emotionally assigned value to my lunch was low. I remember only that I ate—and ate “something” I brought from home. What I brought from home I can’t remember. Why? Because my lunch was uneventful.

Four days ago, on the weekend, I went with my son to get a burger and a cup of coffee. I like Starbucks regular coffee. A Starbucks was next to the burger place. Since I was inside the burger place, I thought, coffee is coffee is coffee, what’s the difference? After drinking the coffee I bought from that burger place, I had a headache until I went to bed. That’s the difference. I don’t remember anything about the burgers, but four days later, I remember the coffee because it was accompanied by physical discomfort, a headache.

My emotions—being upset and disappointed—were involved. Will I remember this story a year from now? I doubt it for my emotions wrote the message by using a finger on the dust.

However, that young love affair will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. At the time, the emotions were so strong the memories were recorded by chiseling them in stone.

What I wanted to convey with the above story is that we all share the same PROCESS of remembering. Rape victims, abused children, and soldiers, all suffer from PTSD. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is based on our memories. If we could find a way to select certain memories and make them less intrusive, less painful, less persistent, then people who survived the worst of what humans are capable of, then we can go on with our lives. Instead, people with PTSD are stuck, they are nailed to their memories.

As they re-tell these stories, they relive, they re-experience the emotions, the sensations, the pain again, and again, and again. Soldiers do not like to talk about their nasty memories. Do you know why? Because it is unspeakably painful to re-live through that pain again.

Read my article “Defang PTSD with Overabundance of Neutrality.” I hope, by trying different things, we can find a way to help those affected with PTSD to live a more normal life.

Thank you for your participation in reading this article. If you find it worthy, please spread the word.

Stay strong and stubborn,

Alexander Nestoiter, author of

Incredible Ah-ha Moments: Ideas you won’t stop talking about


Posted by Incredible Ah-Ha Moments at 3/15/2012 8:00 AM
Categories: Defang PTSD
Tags: PTSD Rape Abuse Memories Persis Overabundance of Neutrality Violence