Let me start off this post by saying: For a long time I couldn’t and didn’t see PTSD at all. I saw only a fog, and shapes that sometimes moved through it.
I felt the presence of PTSD but it wasn’t something I could put my finger on, or reach out and touch or define.
I lived with a phantom I believed I couldn’t control, was powerless in the presence of, and would always be victimized by.
Starting on my healing journey taught me those beliefs were wrong. Reaching out for help, developing my resources and then putting a plan into action showed me a picture of myself I’d never seen or suspected. I was, in at least the smallest sense, a little bit heroic. I was not yet down for the count.
Taking an action also illuminated a vision of PTSD, one that never would have occurred to me. One that, once I saw it entirely changed the landscape of my healing.
The pictures I’m thinking of I found alone. I bent my head into the wind of the past and went in search of what I could find that would set me free. Here’s what I stumbled upon:
With every step I took toward healing the picture cleared itself. Whereas before there had been a fog with each proactive step I took toward healing the fog shifted, lightened, thinned and evaporated a little.
With every defiant I act I made against the past the picture got brighter, more detailed and more focused.
I hacked away at healing like a woman making her way through the jungle with a machete. And suddenly, I came to a clearing and I saw it all:
PTSD, a wild animal lurking, tracking, circling around me. And my job: to overpower it and put it into a cage.
Of course, this is an activity that got me bruised and scraped and scratched. Of course, this is a fight that required an enormous amount of energy. Of course, it’s a fight that took a while as I sized up the animal, took stock of my resources, strategized my attack, planned my actions, danced around the space and figured out how to imprison this beast while it tried to kill me.
Nonetheless, I got the job done. So can you.
Being able to see PTSD changed everything for me. The clarity of the picture allowed me to have more clarity about my quest, my goals, what I could expect and what might happen along my healing journey.
It also helped me imagine and conceptualize my success. I’m a human, I have resources and skills at my disposal. PTSD is just an animal. Sure, it can try to hurt me, but I’m smarter, more knowledgable, more skilled and methodical and in the end, more resourceful.
I am human and that’s why I made mistakes along the way to healing but also why I emerged victorious. I wrestled and wrangled and shocked and stunned the animal until it wound up in the cage, and I on the other side of the bars.
What did I do then? I chained and padlocked that sucker and started a new adventure into the future.
How do you see PTSD? Leave a comment so other survivors looking for an image might find something that helps.