The metamorphosis of your personal legend

The topic of transformation, metamorphosis, growth, change, (insert whatever word works for your personal journey) has been front and center for me lately. I like to bring up the things that are hard to talk about. Most of us want to grow and change.  It’s hard, no one said it was going to be easy. But rarely do people talk about the absolute pain one feels when emotional wounds get ripped open in order to process, heal and grow. It’s a lonely journey because no one else can go inside of you and heal those wounds or take away the rawness. You have to be the one to do it. However, it certainly doesn’t have to be an “alone” journey. We can find therapists, support groups, friends, family, books, even blogs so we are surrounded by the support we need. In fact, I think it’s imperative to find people who absolutely “get it” and can relate with empathy when we are in the process of transforming, and becoming the person we want to be.

And really, it doesn’t have to be a shattered past that motivates a person to grow and change. Growth and change are important to do for the rest of our lives. Some people may find themselves in a spiritual crossroads, some people may find themselves feeling empty after years dedicated to a career, and some people are simply unable to feel content, knowing that there is some road not yet taken that is calling for them to explore. Whatever the motivation, the transformation to a new way of being from the inside out is painful and sometimes scary.

I have said to a few people, that I believe if we could interview a caterpillar as they transform into a butterfly and ask them, how it feels, they would tell us it is excruciatingly painful. They are completely changing from the inside out. The end result is beautiful….Butterflies are beautiful!

I know what I had to do in order to heal the wounds of my past. I knew what I wanted my internal life to look like, and I made a commitment to myself that I was going to do it. I wasn’t prepared for the loneliness of the journey.  But that’s okay with me. I understand it, and I want to talk about it. No one can fix it, it’s part of the deal.

When I feel that pain of loneliness, I remember why I chose to dig up the past, process what happened, understand my PTSD, find others who are also on a healing journey, and remind myself, the metamorphosis of a personal legend begins when you accept who you were, who you are now, and who you will be.

alexis-rose-1

©Alexis Rose, photo: Shelley Bauer

 

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

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The Setting of the Sun

The setting of the sun

orange and round in the sky

is witness to the compassion 

of those who reach out and

provide strength.copy-of-0001f7

©Alexis Rose, Photo: Shelley Bauer

subscribe to Shelley’s blog: http://www.touchingbutterflies.com/

 

Featured Image -- 1269

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

My (ever-changing) New Normal

Yesterday, I had to ask my son for help. I was getting ready to go to a radio/video interview and became extremely overwhelmed. Not just public speaking jitters, but that terrible, debilitating overwhelmed that comes with having PTSD. He responded perfectly. His text said, “yep, I’ll be there at 4:20 to pick you up and be your therapy dog.” (you have to have a sense of humor when dealing with a mental health issue…or at least I do!) When we got to the studio, and I was about to go inside, the host came out and introduced herself to my son. He told her his name and said, I’m mom’s therapy dog today. The host loved it, laughed and asked him to come inside and hang out by the cameras and producers. It was so calming to have him right there with a big thumbs up, and at the same time, it was hard to ask for help from my son.

My symptoms have definitely affected my family the last eight years. I went from the grounded beacon of the family to initially becoming totally dependent on them. After I learned some coping and distress tolerance skills, I was again able to maintain a “mom role.” My children are in their twenty’s now and even though my kids have taken on different roles in helping me manage my illness, they still expect me to be mom when they need me. It’s become an awkward/brilliant line that we’ve all learned to walk. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to know that my daughter is not only my daughter but one of my caregivers. She is the one who can tell immediately if I am having a “bad day.” Among many other things, she knows how to help with a menu in a restaurant so I don’t get overwhelmed by choices. She can tell if I am in over my head and overwhelmed and can tell if I’m triggered. 

My son, who had the biggest problem adjusting because mom wasn’t the mom he expected anymore, has grown into taking the responsibility of managing anything that is concrete and sequential. He’s a teacher by profession and he feels best when he can problem solve an issue for me. He helps me with the things that can be extremely overwhelming, like making a power point for a presentation, or having to make calls that require going through multiple layers of people before getting the right one on the phone. 

My husband has been wonderful and supportive and picked up the slack when I couldn’t. He works hard, comes home from long physical days at work and still is attentive to his wife who has a chronic illness. He appreciates the help the kids provide as he has a lot on his plate. But our dynamic has changed too. He sleeps in another room during the week because of my screaming nightmares that wake him up. He has to get up at 4:30 am for work, so it’s imperative that he gets his sleep. We have been married for 33 years, so we adjusted and maintain the attitude that this is a temporary arrangement in response to my illness. 

It’s all okay, and sometimes it feels not okay. My family dynamic has changed, and that happens in life. All things change. When you are the reason for the change it’s a slippery slope from feeling like a burden to feeling like this is what happens in life and we adjust. Like any disease, PTSD doesn’t just affect one person, it affects all those in your life who care about and love you. 

My son calls our life the New Normal. He said, “at first, it was awful, terrible and scary. Now we know what to expect and we adjust. We all know how to work around and with your symptoms. It’s okay, it’s our life and we are lucky.”  As I continue to heal, and our family grows and changes our “normal” will become different all the time. I continue to stay hopeful and I’m extremely grateful that we found a way to stay together as a family,  knowing that things will never be the same. The lesson of the impermanence of life.

me-chels

image: Alexis Rose

 

 

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

 

 

How would you respond?

Tomorrow I’m being interviewed with another survivor on a radio show/podcast. The first part of the interview the host would like us to tell our story and how we recovered. The women who I’m being interviewed with is a powerful advocate who brings awareness to sexual assault and trafficking. She speaks to first responders, and police officers coaching them on how to talk with someone who has just been sexually assaulted. I’m going to be talking about surviving trauma and living with PTSD. We both get to promote our books, which is always a bonus!

When I tell my story, I don’t go into detail, I don’t want to trigger myself or anyone else who may be listening to me speak. I have done enough talks to be able to read the audience and have learned what to say and not say. In a nutshell, I tell people I survived unimaginable abuse for the first 20 years of my life, with continued threats to stay silent. I worked hard to repress my past until a family tragedy jarred my memories and I couldn’t keep them under lock and key any longer. Despite living with PTSD, I’ve worked hard the past eight years to learn the truth of my past. I’m determined to help destigmatize mental illness, particularly PTSD, by speaking and writing openly about living with this disorder.

The second part of the segment, we will be interviewed by a local high student. This is the main reason I said yes to the interview. How cool is it to be interviewed by teenagers? She is going to ask the following 3 questions:

  • What should you do if you’re being abused?
  • What should you do if you know of a friend who is being abused?
  • What could people have done to better help you?

I’m so grateful for how interactive the blogging community is when it comes to comments. I would love to know how you would answer these questions. Any of the questions? Parents, what would you like your children to know? Younger people, what would you have liked or want to know? Survivors, how would you answer any of these questions?

Your input is greatly appreciated!

 

Two Roses

Two roses stand strong

within their protective thorns.

Entwined by years of friendship 

they share secrets, thoughts, laughter and tears.

They sway with the whispering breeze

as they bloom and grow.

Mesmerizing all with the wisdom of their ageless beauty. 

2-roses

©Alexis Rose; image: pexels.com

 

Featured Image -- 1269

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856