Healing from Rape
– Q&A with Susun Weed
I am a huge fan of your work and I have been loving all your articles and books. I am healing from complex PTSD, mostly caused by rapes. I am trying to get off the tranquilizers I am dependent on for sleep and to prevent anxiety attacks. When I get anxious which is almost all the time, I get suicidal. I have already attempted suicide once from the hopelessness from being raped and how daunting the work appears to be to heal.
You write such wonderful healing things about women and our sexuality. But I haven't found anything about recovery from sexual trauma. It affects 1 in 3 women (and 1 in 7 men). That's a huge epidemic and we need great leaders like you to help us win back our bodies, our minds, our hearts and our souls from this devestation. Have you written anything about dissociation? Or self harm? Or drug addiction? These things I think would greatly help women.
I just ordered motherwort tincture, valerian tincture, and skullcap tincture to help me sleep and handle panic attacks and terror and all pervasive anxiety as I get off the tranquilizers. I do yoga every day, I exercise, I eat organic, I cut out soy due to what you said about it and anxiety. I meditate daily. I do rituals of gratitude and earth based spirituality. I see shamanic healers. I have a psychiatrist and a therapist - my diagnosis was messed up when I was in my 20s, 15 years ago. I was told I had bipolar disorder so for years I was on huge amount sof antipsychotics that did nothing but make me sleep and get fat and possibly harm my liver. I made dandelion tincture to help heal it. Yet I still am on the verge of a panic attack almost all the time, suffer from insomnia, have dissociation and am very agoriphobic. What is the Wise Woman Way for healing from PTSD? I really need your help - You are one of the few people I trust with my health.
Blessed being, Hopeful
Are you familiar with my Six Steps of Healing? Also known as the Seven Medicines. Here's how you might want to engage the medicines
Step Zero: Do Nothing/ Go with the Flow / Serenity Medicine
Being awakened by having a gun pressed to my head by a nasty cop who was swearing at me left me unable to sleep, In that bed. So I sold my house and my car, packed up everything, including my child and went on the road for two years. Doing nothing asks us to remove ourselves from the scene of the trauma. I slept well because I knew no one knew where I was sleeping! We drove all over North America and I doubt I slept twice in the same place more than a few times in those years.
If you can't get out of the hourse and out of town, at least move your bed to another room.
The place for sleeping should be as safe as you can make it. But it is best if it is completely dark and totally silent. For maximum results, have an electritian put a circuit breaker in the room so you can turn the electricity off before you go to sleep. Be sure there is no electronic equipment, not even a digital clock in your room.
Step One : Collect Information / Experience Wisdom / Story Medicine
I though the sound of the airbag exploding in my face would be the last sound I heard, but I survived the accident. I moved the trauma by telling the story of the accident. I told the story as many times as I could. Every time I told the story, I felt some of my anxiety drain away. Some avoid talking about trauma "down there," believing that speaking about it will make it more vivid, more real. Just the opposite happens. If you don't have a circle of friends that you can tell your story (stories) to, write it/them down. SIng about it/them. Draw it/them. Dance it/them. Communicate!
I am concerned about the shamanic healers. Are they telling you their stories? Or are the encouraging you to create stories of personal empowerment? Any event may be told from the point of view of the victim or from the point of view of the victor. You are the victor if you want to be no matter what has happened to you. The best revenge is a joyous life!
Step Two: Engage the Energy / Use Placebos / MInd Medicine
You are made of atoms. All matter is made of atoms. Atoms are mostly space. If the nucleus of an atom is placed in the middle of a football field, the cloud of electrons would be running around the last row of seats in the highest bleacher. We experience impact when there is trauma. We can choose to experience spaciousness. When a goat snuggled up to a student, she lost her footing and fell off a cliff. I asked her to keep her eyes closed and to continue the sensation of falling. I talked to her as she imagined falling through the rocks, through the roots, through the earth. I talked to her about falling for nearly five minutes, reminding her that she was made of space and that her spaciousness could move through the spaciousness of other so-called solid matter. When she arose, she was thrilled to discover no bruises. She said she felt great. I have used this mind medicine to dispel truama memories as old as fifty years. Repeat this image every time there is anxiety or fear.
Do you know anyone who is solid and sensible and does Reiki or other energy work? I suspect that your energy has fractured into several pieces and you need a "wholing."
Step Three: Nourish and Tonify / Lifestyle Medicine
My primary advice for everybody dealing with anything is DRINK NOURISHING HERBAL INFUSIONS.
Consult my books or my website or my YouTubes for information on making infusions. This seems to me to be entirely missing in the excellent program you have set for yourself. Oatstraw will be an important ally for you, but don't neglect nettle! Linden is so soothing. Red clover loves you and creates safe space. And what praise could match the wonder of comforting comfrey leaf!
I also think it may be critically important for you to drink milk. I see you as having lost the security we are meant to get from the breast. I think drinking milk may trigger a healing anger in you. Let me know.
The first four steps build health. You cannot do them too much. You cannot overdo them.
The last three steps erode health. It is best to do them only as needed. You can easily overdo them.
Step Four: Stimulate and Sedate / Alternative Medicine / Herbal Medicine
This is where most people start their healing journey, alas. These remedies are most effective when used in acute situations.
Yes, motherwort tincture can relieve anxiety and rapid heartneat. But best if you make it yourself from the fresh flowering plant. Tinctures made from dried plant material are not so helpful. Yes, carry it and take a drop or two when you feel anxious. But use oatstraw and your nourishing herbal infusions to change the inner tension.
Yes, skullcap tincture can help you sleep. But this one is really almost useless unless made from the fresh plant. Again, it will be much much much more effective if you make the tincture yourself. Since it is so late in the year, you won't be able to find fresh skullcap, although the motherwort is still blooming in my garden :)
Instead, make a tincture of lemon balm (Melissa) which ought to be green and thriving no matter where you live. Melissa tincture is a wonderful reliever of anxiety and an aid to sleep. Instructions for making tinctures are in my books and on YouTube. Use only 100 proof vodka; not 80 proof, not grain alcohol. Gentle, loving, caring emon balm tea before bed with honey and milk seems so much more what you need that to be bashed on the head with valerian.
No, valerian may not make you sleep. It may even increase the trauma. I think it would distress your spirit. You may have a realtionship with it and tell me I am wrong, but somehow I don't feel it would be helpful to you.
Step Five: Use Drugs / Pharmaceutical Medicine
This includes supplements and essential oils. You don't mention any use of them, but if you do, consider going drug-free for at least a while. The nourishing herbal infusions provide more vitamins and minerals than any pill can and they are in a useable form, unlike what is in the pills. Essential oils damage the immune system and will have a detrimental effect on your nervous system. Treat yourself as though you were environmentally sensitive and do your best to avoid essential oils. (Essential oils are probably in your toothpaste, in your skin cream, in your soap, in your shampoo, and in scented candles)
Step Six: Break and Enter / Hi-Tech Medicine
If none of the previous steps of healing brings you to the place you want to be within a time limit you set for yourself (six weeks? three months? a year?) then you may wish to do the one thing that I know will heal you: take a trip. The wise use of mescaline, psylocibin, or LSD -- with a guide and in a healing setting -- will break you open to a deeper level of understanding and a more expanded knowledge of your journey. You and I borh understand that these substances are currently illegal, but we both know that they are not at all impossible to find.
This is a preliminary outline of the steps you could take. If you wish to engage with me more specifically then I encourage you to take a correspondence course with me: The Spirit and Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition or the Green Witch Course would seem to me to be the best choice for your healing needs. Each course includes three hours of my private time, in writing or by phone. I would like to speak with you about your anger and how to use it to power your healing.
You are the Goddess. You are a magnificent being. You are a survivor. Your laughter castrates all rapists. You are Heather and you are a Treasure.
at home, November 2009