The Fluidity of Acceptance

It seems I have a pattern. I’m continued to be shocked that I have PTSD! I’m not sure if it’s mental gymnastics that I perform with gold medal perfection or it’s normal when living with a chronic illness to have a fluidity of acceptance.

The past year has been a whirlwind of powerful and positive changes in my life. I just came back from a wonderful remote camping/canoeing trip where I experienced a total reset.  I have come to a place where I have processed and accepted my past (most of the time). I have a huge toolbox of distress tolerance tools and have gotten the answers to the big questions that were tamped down in a dark repressed past. I graduated from therapy and have been able to incorporate the tools my therapist helped me accumulate with pretty good success. My children are in places in their lives where they content, and I’m very fortunate to work for two wonderful small business owners who understand my limitations, knowing that sometimes I can only work a couple hours per week. I have taken wonderful, exciting, sometimes painful strides, that have propelled my trajectory of healing.

So, why do I still have symptoms of PTSD? Why do I still have flashbacks, why am I still triggered by certain sounds, why can’t I make my brain concentrate for more than two hours at a time, without it shutting down and becoming so overwhelmed that I begin to decompensate? And, why am I still shocked that I experience these symptoms?

Driving home from the Boundary Waters, I thought, wow, I am so relaxed, I bet after 4 days in the wilderness, I’m cured.  As I was performing my mental gymnastics routine, I thought; I was sick, I worked hard in therapy, I incorporated all the tools, I just spent four days in relative silence, (except for nature sounds and my camping companions) I bet I’m fine. I’ll wake up tomorrow, find a full-time job, and re-enter the life I knew before I was disabled by my illness.

I have some long-lasting effects from the trauma I endured. From the reading that I’ve done, and the understanding I have about the extent of my trauma, I’m still going to have PTSD. I’m not intimating that this is a forever illness, I don’t know what the future will hold. Most days, I’ve accepted that even though therapy ended, I’m still going to suffer from symptoms. When I was talking to my son about this yesterday, he looked at me and said, “you wouldn’t expect someone in a wheelchair to stand up and walk just because they are done with physical therapy, would you?” I replied, “of course not!” I wonder, is it the invisibility of my illness that makes me so uncomfortable, or is it that I have an illness that makes feel me so uncomfortable and disappointed. Maybe both.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m working hard to heal and it’s not anything I did or am doing to cause these symptoms. I’m not perpetuating them, I am living with them.

When I lose sight of this I find myself getting very angry at my PTSD.  When the anger and frustration well up, and starts to boil over, I make myself stop, sit down, reflect, rest, and try to focus on the goal of what I want for my life. I can acknowledge my progress, watch my children fly from the nest and make adult lives for themselves, and feel good about my ability to contribute to a life I want to have, and still, understand that I have this invisible illness of PTSD. The fluidity of my acceptance has me revisiting, once again that some wounds are extremely slow to heal, but they will heal.

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

 

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46 thoughts on “The Fluidity of Acceptance

  1. Thank You for sharing your struggle with this too. Self-compassion is so important and hard to remember to do sometimes for sure! Be gentle with you and I’ll be gentle with me. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this tears stream down my face. “The invisibility of it..”
    Beating myself up because I’m so different from everybody s a daily occurrence.

    Keep up, you’re lazy, your weird, you’re so this or that, all negative loud things pop in my head about myself because of how the environment and people affect. I tend to become overly agitated outside of routine and a slow pace which makes bodily systems go out of whack; any peace fought for gone.

    Why can’t I be like others who ease through each day with such calm fluidity?
    I easily forget the challenges which translates into self-flagellation, and of course failure. Despondency and self-hate become companions.

    Thank you for this reminder to work at gentleness towards self. Thank you so much for that wisdom, though I am sorry you face similar challenges.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alexis. I have this same battle myself within my head. I rebel against my ptsd and get annoyed with it and think if I ignore it it will go away. It’s so disappointing when it doesn’t! I try and do all the right self care strategies too and still feel pants a lot of the time. It’s a tough life and a frustrating one. I’m glad we’re in this together xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank You, Anne. I love the insight about nature being a medicine and that communication is critical to understanding our fellow humans. Its all so true! 🌹😊

    Like

  5. I think it is difficult to have internal struggles others can’t see. It isn’t apparent when the body is struggling in the same way it is with outer limitations. That is why writing and communication are so critical to understanding our fellow humans. So glad your nature excursion was reviving and enjoyable! Nature is a medicine that is like no other. 🌻~Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brooklyn's Corner

    I also was diagnosed with PTSD. My issues would start at night. In my sleep. I had to find peace in what happened and I had to forgive. I am not having any episodes. Therapy didn’t help and I went for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Zen Doe

    It’s one of the most baffling, depressing, and shocking things about this, is that it keeps returning. No, lol, it’s not just you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Zen Doe

    Isn’t is amazing how we keep thinking we’ve finally healed and that ptsd won’t roll through like a tsunami, again…. and again…. I’m always shocked when it knocks me flat. Thank you for the excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the rouge wave analogy. Just so perfect, that is exactly how they feel. Holding on to the notion, that the symptoms pass and we can live in the present (until that wave hits again) is, I think one of the biggest lessons I learned and keep reminding myself. The present can be pretty awesome. Thank you so much doe your insight, E. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for this piece. Where does the notion of being cured from? I expect of myself too. It’s more humane and reassuring to picture healing as you’ve described it, something that will ebb and flow throughout our lives. Not a fan of those side swiping, out of the blue panic attacks (like a rogue wave) but they pass and life goes on 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank You Brigid. Hug 🤗 accepted and hugging you right back. I have been submitting articles to themighty.com and huff post. Its been fun to see them published. Be well my friend. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Larissa Hammond

    Triggered by the moon! I’m glad it doesn’t do that anymore. It’s sad when beautiful things cause us harm. Definitely worth reframing those narratives for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank You! I read your post this morning. It was really interesting. (Hmmmm, now I’m wondering if I clicked like, I’ll go back and check)! Turning our triggers into non triggers is hugely empowering. I used to be really triggered by the full moon. Now I can look at it and say, “its just a moon and its beautiful,” Thank You so much for sharing your insights, Larissa. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love to live not far from a beach and then when I am not working, thats where you would find me with nature. You have a very supportive son. I can understand with regards to feeling cured with PTSD, as it has took me a while to accept my depression and anxiety will always be there, it’s just managing rather than curing it. x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Larissa Hammond

    It’s amazing how we kick ourselves for having these illnesses. Something I recently did was rewrite a trauma trigger into something empowering, I know that sounds weird… but I also did it in nature and like you mention, being in the forest can cause a total reset. I wrote about it if you are interested. I don’t know if it might help.

    Don’t be hard on yourself tho. Processing trauma takes time. And while I’m currently not doing it, EMDR therapy also really helped with flashbacks.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Let’s hope so because since I run around putting out fires I’m physically exhausted. No sleep and dealing with whatever issues at my brother’s Residence. I’m constantly praying to God for relief and deliverance. Right now I’m on autopilot. And Always Overwhelmed. But some things in life we have no control over so I will continue to push myself hard until my prayers are answered. I enjoy reading about your journey. I’m glad to know that you are moving forward in life.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank You! I know your dreams of getting away on the beach will happen for you. Retirement or before. You work so hard and care for your brother in the best possible way. I know you’ll be hitting that reset button. 🙏🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I think you have made lots of progress. You are doing well. I wish I could get away for a week and actually go somewhere into nature. Either the woods or by the beach. I had thought I was pressing the Reset button last week but my responsibilities came back to overwhelm me. I guess it will be a few years before I can actually concentrate on myself and my needs.

    Liked by 2 people

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