I have PTSD. Yes it sucks, and yes, I hate talking about it.
Admitting I have this condition makes me feel weak and incapable. I don’t want to believe something is “wrong” with me or that I can’t just move on from a traumatic relationship.
My inner critic says, “you should be strong enough to get over this.” But what does my inner critic know?
Healing is Not Linear
Some days I take a step forward on this healing path and some days it’s more like two steps backwards.
Lately it has felt like 10 steps back every single day!
But this is not an easy process. I have to trust that healing will happen on the right timeline for me. It won’t necessarily move in a straight line from point A (damaged) to point B (totally healed).
Healing doesn’t work that way.
Focusing on What I CAN Do—One Step at a Time
For now, I am focused on taking small steps forward, steps that will lead to no longer being triggered by PTSD symptoms so debilitating I can barely function.
I am signing up for a gym membership to get more modes of exercising because that is one of the ways I’m able to move anxiety and fear through my body.
I am signing up for EMDR therapy and continuing regular sessions with my counselor.
I am writing everything down in order to help process, whether in a journal or in a song or a poem—writing gets it out of me and onto a page.
I am pausing to breathe, meditate, do yoga or go on a walk whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed.
These are the things I CAN do.
Setting Realistic Goals
Someday I would like to stop rushing to lock my doors whenever a perceived threat is outside. I would love to feel empowered within myself and stop having these constant anxiety and panic attacks. Someday I hope to not react to triggering situations, instead simply breath and move on.
I can’t wait to feel “normal” again.
Until then, some of my goals include:
1) Getting through each day while maintaining regular, healthy eating, drinking, and sleeping habits.
2) Taking extra special care of myself without judgement when those reactions do come.
3) Educating myself on my condition and ways to heal from it.
4) Taking comfort and wisdom from others who’ve had the same experiences.
5) Focusing on creating the positive life that I do want rather than letting the negativity of the past control me.
What can you add to this list?
A Path Forward
No matter how long it takes, I am taking my life back. I am snatching it from the jaws of my past traumas and regrets.
No one needs to save me. I will save myself.
Someday I will not just survive but thrive and live a joyful, fulfilling life.
This is my promise to myself.
by Sarah Caton