We NEED to account for time’s multidimensionality in both PTSD and Addiction Treatment!

I think what people either forget or aren’t aware of in the first place is that time is multidimensional. Past, present, and future all combine to form a simultaneous set of shadow relationships at any given discreet moment. The discreet nature of humanity’s perception of time increases the lack of acknowledgement of this multidimensional nature of time. That is, we live moment to moment and forget that each moment is built from the last and the next moment derives from the present moment. However, most people realize that things happen in the future and therefore try to plan for their occurrence. Also, most people also can look back on their past without causing too much pain or discomfort. To me, it’s relatively normal to live within the time multiverse without much thought: We remember events with smells and songs and we plan for upcoming concerts, all while making dinner!

In both trauma and in addiction, there is a breakdown in this time multiverse relationship. Especially in trauma, which is at the core of the premise of my entire presentation, the traumatic event will rear its ugly head, even if ten (10) years has passed since it happened. The past really isn’t all that far behind and the future is almost impossible to conceive because fear can blind people to living towards something. Therefore, a traumatic event becomes heavily weighted, while future events are weighted far less. The present becomes almost impossible to fully experience and is therefore weighted less than the past as well. The daunting question, “What if it happens again?” makes life difficult, especially if someone becomes trapped in a trauma-cycle. But really, to someone who has been significantly traumatized enough to carry a PTSD Dx, the traumatic event sits on their shoulders and whispers things into the afflicted’s ears that make moving forward very difficult.

But as I play with the idea of time’s dimensionality, I somehow lost track of the treatment and cure. Since, in my opinion, PTSD and Addiction are both rooted in anxiety, then CBT programs that focus on anxiety should help both. What’s been worse for me as I’ve been researching how history here in Northern New Mexico has created a culture of trauma and opiate addiction, I seem to have forgotten Paulo Freire, which is just unacceptable. Things usually come around – maybe down deep I adopted my idea of the multidimensional nature of time from Freire, but when I accidentally found this statement in his book, Education for Critical Consciousness, I actually got chills, “In illiterate cultures, the weight of apparently limitless time hindered people from reaching that consciousness of temporality, and thereby achieving a sense of their historical nature. A cat has no historicity his inability to emerge from time submerges him in a totally one dimensional today of which he has no consciousness” (p. 3). He goes on to say, “As men emerge from time, discover temporality, and free themselves from today, their relations with the world become impregnated with consequence” (p. 4). In his words, I hear truth ringing. I’m reminded of those unfortunate souls who are trapped in the limitless “moment” of a traumatic event and/or of a life spent in a constant “here and now” cycle of addiction…


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