Some people have resolutions for the new year or pick one word on which to focus.
My goal for this year is to try to accept that I have PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder and to be kind to myself when I am afraid.
Growing up I was never really safe with my family that is how I developed ptsd.
I would often sit in my closet with a book and a flashlight. My closet was odd shaped and there was a nook just big enough for me and I could sit on a box filled with old clothes and read.
I have mixed feelings about being around people.
The traumatized part of me expects that people will not be pleasant. At best, I expect that they will look for reasons why I don’t measure up. At worst, I expect them to sucker punch me – to unexpectedly be very unkind. (I don’t expect to be physically hurt. Perhaps I should be grateful for that.) There have been far too many experiences in my life that proved that belief. Far too many times when people have been unreasonably hurtful. It has been rare that people have been kind.
Recently I had an experience where I felt sucker punched. I was taking a career exploration course and I felt attacked by the person running the course. My reaction was that I did not want to leave my house. I wanted to “hide in my closet”. I don’t want these feelings to run my life so I go out anyway. I thought I was dealing with the feelings pretty well. I went into work and I had a problem with the copier. A coworker said ,”Are you breaking things already?’. She meant it as a joke. I was startled and jumped.
That is what I am like after I have been sucker punched. I am anxious and hesitant and tentative. I am not as productive at work. I don’t think as well when I am anxious. This happened several weeks ago and I am still feeling hesitant and I don’t really want to leave my house.
My goal for 2016 is to be kind to myself when I feel like this. I beat myself up saying that I shouldn’t let it get to me.
Please know that there is also a part of me that has great empathy. When traumatic situations happened elsewhere (pick any one of the recent shootings), I want to be there; standing by people offering comfort and support if needed. Letting them know they are not alone.
So how do I honor the fear and get that part of me that wants to provide support and comfort and encouragement out the door?