Wednesday, December 24, 2008

PTSD Healing, Part 3: Healing Comes After SPLAT!

Tomorrow I’ll add to my list of PTSD and holiday stress tips with some fresh ideas, but today I want to wrap up this whole concept of the ebb and flow of healing….

First, let’s just admit we all have days we feel done in and want to give up. Over 25 years of my own PTSD struggle there were certainly days I wanted to end it all – days I couldn’t imagine healing or being well, days I couldn’t imagine having the strength to beat this thing; days I didn’t even want to try to beat it; days it would have been so much easier to give in. But we make the choice to go on. We make the choice to struggle one more day because we do not know when that breakthrough will come.

From the other side I can tell you, it will come, but not necessarily when you expect it. There were many days after my EMDR, TFT, EFT and TAT treatments when I thought for sure things were turning around – and then they got worse just when I expected things to get better. So, we can’t predict the path, we only can commit to staying on it.

My mother has always counseled me that courage is a choice. There were times I didn’t think I was strong enough to make that choice – but making the choice to choose is also a choice. If we are always choosing to be proactive we will eventually find relief. Healing PTSD is a battle won in inches. Sometimes the steps are small, but even the smallest step leads to healing. If we have the strength to wake up in the morning, then we have the strength to choose to choose; we have the strength to choose how this day will go. We have the strength to choose, Will today beat us, or will we beat it? Will we summon up some courage, or admit defeat?

I refuse to believe you cannot find the strength to choose, or change your perspective, or participate in your own healing. It isn’t possible. You’re here, aren’t you, looking for answers and seeking support? There is a strong part of you trying to find its way out of the dark. That is the part that should be listened to, that is the voice that should be fed and inspired and nurtured; that is the self that is choosing – every day – to make its way toward wellness. It is this striving self that rises up from our hearts and asks to be heard; this voice that struggles to drown out the other that only imagines we will fail.

Traditionally, this is the time of year people have hope and believe in the possibility of great things. It is the time of year for miracles. Make this holiday season work for you. Make it be the beginning of your own PTSD healing miracle. Next week I’m going to put up a list of PTSD new year resolutions. Start thinking about what yours will be.... Use the spirit of the holidays to infuse your own mind with the possibilities for the upcoming year. You never know when success is about to come, as this fun parable proves:

Award winning cartoonist, Jules Feiffer, once presented a sketch that captures well the spirit of people striving for success. The cartoon begins with a man encountering a guru sitting at a fork in the road:
“Which way is success?” the man asks. The stoic sage points down the path to his left.

The man, thrilled at the prospect of easy success, rushes off in the appropriate direction. From the distance comes a loud SPLAT!

The man reappears. He is bruised and tattered. Again he asks the guru, “Which way is success?”

Once again the wise man says nothing. He simply points down the path to his left.

The man quickly races down the path a second time. From the distance comes a much louder SPLAT!

The man returns crawling on his hands and knees. He is bloody and beaten.

He yells at the guru, “Twice I have asked you about the path to success. Both times I followed your directions and both times all I have gotten is splatted!”

He screams at the top of his lungs, “No more pointing, talk to me!”

The wise man calmly replies, “Success is that way. It is just a little past SPLAT.”
(photo: setch)

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