My trauma was horrific. I know yours was too. Afterward, the adults around me encouraged me to see the luckiness in my survival, to appreciate the gift of living I had received, and to focus on enjoying each day. I never did get good at that. Instead, I descended down the PTSD staircase. And you know what I found there? It was a damn long staircase and one that caused me to fight for my life, over and over again, day after day!
Surviving survival was, to me, even more difficult than surviving my trauma. During my trauma itself I was in survival mode and that was appropriate. I understood that was my role and I tried very hard to do the best I could in the moment; even those moments when I felt that I failed. Everyone expected me to do my best to survive, so I did.
After trauma, however, everyone expected me to bounce back, to be resilient and carry on and just count myself lucky. You know what I mean when I say, I can’t just get over it! Facing others’ expectations while struggling with PTSD symptoms made trying to live a normal life virtually impossible. Knowing that I was different, changed and altered in ways it seemed no one would understand added another edge to the knife of PTSD living.
Faced with having to move forward, reclaim ourselves, our lives, and our identities while maintaining relationships, ‘normalcy’ and a sense of order – all while coping with symptoms of posttraumatic stress – is enough to make you feel completely insane. How do we survive survival? That’s the question survivor Angela Schaefers and I will talk about on Wednesday, November 21, 2pm EST, YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA , plus what we’ve learned about what it takes to access resilience and carry on.