It’s been almost 5 months since I last posted. Many things have happened. Complicated things, stressful things, great things, amazing things. Life continues to pass along and I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all that happens in a day, a week, a month or a year. But I’m also comforted in knowing that despite my stress and striving, each day is lived moment by moment, each moment flowing into the next and I don’t have to have control. In fact, I enjoy life much more when I remember that control is an illusion.
I have finally come to a place of equilibrium with my mental health. There are small adjustments happening but overall I’m in a much better place. I still have triggers and I still live in a state of hyper vigilance but I’m living my life for the first time in a long time instead of feeling like PTSD was living my life. It’s a place of serenity and hope for me. I wasn’t sure how it would feel, being in this place of acceptance and peace, at times it seems very unnatural, to somehow be ok with all that has happened in my life. But most of the time I feel gratitude for the perspective I gain with each day, for the way forgiveness washes over me.
Back in July I was visiting a friend in Calgary and had read through all the books I had brought with me so she loaned me a book called “Sober Mercies” by Heather Kopp. I was taken with the book and read through it in a day. Although I haven’t struggled with alcohol addiction, addiction runs quite rampant in my family so I know I’m not immune and feel the draw and enticement of self-medicating on a daily basis. Often times in PTSD, people end up self-medicating to cover the pain of past trauma. In the book Kopp says:
“She agreed with me that in many situations from childhood, I had no role or choice in what happened. But as I grew into an adult, I became responsible for how I responded to these events. Her point echoed what I had already heard at the meetings: When you’re a child you’re a victim. But a grown-up is a volunteer.”
When I first read it, I wasn’t sure I agreed with the statement. I reflected a lot on the point she was making, I even snapped a picture of this quote. Because something rang true and it continued to nag at me. I soon realized that I don’t need to live the life of a victim anymore. I have the capacity to love, to forgive, to trust, to provide boundaries and to change the narrative of my trauma. It’s in the past and by holding onto it, I give away my power. When I let go and accept (not in the sense that what happened was ok but just that it did happen and I had no control) I don’t live in as much fear and I am empowered to know that I am ok.
While the initial move back to our hometown a year ago was met with increased symptoms in my PTSD and led to a very unstable 6-9months. God knew it was exactly what I needed most, it was time for me to begin to deal with my past, to work through tough things, to walk in my healing. I’m involved in a group that has been life changing and affirming for me. I have met a lot of others with the same diagnosis as me. I know there is hope, I see and feel it rising in me.