This quote spoke to me. Choosing and making choices does not come easily to me as these were taken away from me as a child. I was taught that what I wanted or needed did not matter. So, making choices is a skill that I have to work at. And coping with Complex PTSD, this feels like it takes away my choices as it has a will of it’s own and decides daily what I will have to struggle with each day. But, amid these two challenges, the thought of having a choice about who I will be caused me to hope. That I am more and can be more than just a walking, talking response to severe abuse. Looking back, I remember reading Leo Buscaglia’s book Love as a teenager, and deciding that I wanted to be like him — loving, warm, friendly and having a positive effect on those around me. This was a challenge since I had a great deal of social anxiety. But, focusing on how others felt rather than my fears allowed me to put forth a friendly face and have positive interactions with people.
Another choice I made was to not be like my mother. Aside from being abusive, she was a bitter, hate-filled, controlling shrew of a woman who spoke to me endlessly and daily about how others had wronged her. I remember praying passionately for God to help me not be like her almost daily for years as a teenager. Thankfully, I am nothing like her. Other dreams I have dreamt have come to fruition too. To realize. after reading this quote, that I have successfully made choices in the past gives me hope that I can make choices today about the person that I want to be. It just takes a lot more courage now and a willingness to see past my perceived limitations. I have been feeling less than thrilled at the possibility of another possible thirty years on this planet since my fifty-eighth birthday because my future looked solely full of endless coping with PTSD. But, maybe, it could be much more. So, this week I will dream about what else I would like to accomplish in this life and dust off some ancient dreams that I had given up on. If I can imagine it, it well may be that I can do it.
(I borrowed the header quote from the blog Grace to Survive, which I try to never miss a post of. All others are from Bing.)
I made a promise to myself many years ago to pursue reality. I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage at the time. Denial had been my coping mechanism; that and pretending that he was an alien from another planet to explain his cold-heartedness and lack of empathy. It’s taken years to see the full arsenal of weapons he used. Also, to fully appreciate that it was a deliberate choice on his part and not something he couldn’t help. At times, I have felt stupid for having been fooled. But these realizations were nothing compared to recovering the memories of rape and incest I experienced as a child and teenager. Despite the heartbreak of finding out that my father was not the good and loving man that I loved, I still would choose reality. Those that have been abused live in a different reality though. The world does not make sense. Life does not make sense. Parents and people are not to be trusted.
Family is often not a good word but a term that is filled with pain. But, with good therapy and good friends, (and kind pets – I must add) small steps can be taken to start to engage with your fellow humans and stop expecting the worse. Still I feel, at times, that I have come from a different planet than many of the people I know. And I wonder sometimes if others can sense that I am different. Sure, I try to fit in and laugh along at the jokes. So often though, it is a huge act. There’s a feeling of isolation that crops up suddenly sometimes. Because I don’t talk about my past to the majority of the populace. Its a secret that I carry around. A secret that has been kept so long, since childhood. This disconnection from other people is part of my reality.
But, reality is the price that I paid for not going mad. As I slowly wake in the mornings after a night of strange dreams, I check in to see if I am still sane. I usually am not sure I am till after two cups of coffee and reading through my fellow bloggers latest blogs. I then start to notice the world around me. I hear planes overhead, bird calls and see whether the sun is out or hiding. Its another day. Another day for learning new ways to live and accepting the reality of now with both it’s blessings and challenges. Reality can be both bad and good; there is darkness and light. And just for today, I will try to embrace the goodness in this world.
Important thoughts that I needed to be reminded of and perhaps you do too. I know I needed to hear that mental illness is not a character flaw.
Click on “View Original Post” to enlarge this chart. It has many helpful suggestions for when one is under mental and emotional duress.