Avoiding Pain Trapped Me in a Prison of My Own Creation

My journey to the key that freed me.

Leon Macfayden
Speaking Bipolar

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This symbolic image portrays a person inside a transparent, crystal-like prison, representing the invisible barriers created by their own fears and avoidance of pain, set against a backdrop of an unreachable serene landscape.
Image by the author using ChatGPT

My partner and I were on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, one of the most beautiful locations in the world. Yet all I could do was cry.

My PTSD was the worst it had ever been. A key symptom of this treacherous illness is avoidance. The pain of certain stimuli was so great that I took drastic steps to stay safe.

Although I was on the Amalfi Coast, I wanted to be home in bed.

How my world shrunk.

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.” ― Danielle Bernock, Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals

I developed PTSD from the traumas I experienced as a police officer. The avoidance started straightforward enough. I avoided the town where I used to police before I was medically retired.

It made sense. I knew the town’s dirty secrets. Most people saw shops, houses, and streets.

I saw the building two girls jumped from to their deaths.

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Leon Macfayden
Speaking Bipolar

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