The Other Side of Reason – The touch of wintertime

Involved in a bus accident that took the lives of six people, David Gibson has been battling through PTSD for over three years. In an effort to better understand himself and to communicate with others, he turned to writing. His first book was The Other Side of Reason: A Journal on PTSD. This column continues that text.


As the moon and dawn mingle, there is a silence to wintertime’s slumber
The snow, like white pieces of delicate confetti, floats to the frozen ground.
It doesn’t matter if the light is getting cold
For the dawn of a new day is revered by the morning sunlight.
Specks of glass mirrors my face like pieces off an ice-covered mask.
Hidden scars beneath translucent skin…muted to hear screams within.
I pretend to be brave, but what is bravery?
I am hostage of time, and a relentless past.
For nothing is all and everything is seen,
But there’s that silence – that space between the chilling exhales,
When your mind so easily turns within.
|Where time waits patiently just around the corner….


It is soon time to bid farewell to autumn and accept the arrival of the winter solstice signaling the long slow climb back to daylight. A recent December sunset was a startling send-off for fall, with shades of red, pink and orange beckoning the new season’s arrival.

This time of year can also bring forth the possibility of a spiritual awakening – a time of reflection and of hope in the New Year to come.

In his book Out of the Darkness, Steve Taylor explains that there are three core types of “spiritual transformation”— that one experiences as a result of intense turmoil and trauma: 1) temporary awakening experiences; 2) gradual but permanent awakenings; and 3) sudden and dramatic awakenings.

I knew after reading his book that my own process fit the “gradual but permanent awakening”. It answered my questions of why I would slip back and forth between states of mind and why I felt that my own feelings of becoming were way beyond my normal sense of who I was.  This gradual awakening would not only never go away, but had become permanent states that were being uncovered in gradual but sometimes intense breakthrough moments over time.

The spiritual awakening from trauma and PTSD will almost always take you straight into your pain. There's no detour around it. You have to go through it to heal from it. This is a scary thing for just about everyone. In a society bent on hiding from difficulty and discomfort, the very idea of sitting in the darkness of your pain to heal and convert it sounds like an insane thing to do. This pain sits and rots us out. It dictates what we do as we avoid anything that seems like it'll ignite this pain. It controls us and rules us. To heal means we have to face it. In facing it, we can become free.

Freeing yourself from pain and trauma is a key step to starting down the spiritual path and during the awakening process. You are lightening the load. You don't need to carry all the burdens that you've been carrying. Now at this point, you may begin to find a little bit of peace. It's like the bug juice being cleared away from the windshield of your car. You can start to see what this path is about and why it has been worth all the tears. You may start to see where you are going again.

From my own experience I have found that the healing process has its own time frame. You cannot measure it in time or tears. It will run its course. It is often important to connect with specialized support. Trauma and PTSD can hold you through the darkness with a relentless hold.

Your support network in many ways may also help you find additional tools (psychological counseling, yoga therapy, etc.) depending on what you need to release the pain. It is important that you don't focus on how bad you feel but simply allow what's moving through you.  In a way to feel rather than run from the pain any which way you can.

It is possible even with trauma and PTSD to emerge with new insights, to develop new meanings, a renewed sense of purpose. But, it is necessary for there to be a journey, a journey in togetherness, where you can feel safe and supported in conquering fears or pain, to be able to face the intrusive thoughts and feelings of dread that haunt you.

In this journey of spiritual awakening is the process of being able to shed the incorrect self, to actually be able to be a human being with another human being. To be able to no longer feel that you must repress your feelings or must ‘play the games’ or wear the masks that society or we impose upon ourselves. To be able to come to a fundamental authenticity, a mastery of past traumas where we make the choice to live and be, rather than merely react.

What I have discovered through my spiritual awakening is that you may have to journey through dark imagery and confront many obstacles, but with support and the proper conditions to facilitate the journey, it can lead to an awakening, it can become a breakthrough rather than a stagnant breakdown.

Until next time.