I quote my son a lot in my writing. He has said some very wise things in moments of upset, fear, or when a “new normal” is emerging for our family. Most of the time, I think it’s designed to calm himself, but when I hear them, the words land deep and continue to inch deeper, spreading into the recesses of my mind.
My husband had a huge health scare in February. He is continuing to recover and though it feels like a long road to him, I expect he will be much healthier in a few months than he has been for many, many years. When the kids and I were experiencing some angst in the early days of my husband’s illness, my son said, “By this time next year we won’t even be thinking about this. Things will be different. A lot can change in a year!”
“A Lot Can Change In A Year”
Last April, I “graduated” from therapy after working with the same therapist for eight years. At the time I was excited, apprehensive, scared of the future without that kind of intensive support, and not convinced I was ready. From the beginning, the goal was to have an end to therapy. To gather enough tools in my toolbox, to have processed the dark truth of my past and then be able to employ what my therapist taught me in my everyday life. Whatever that life looked like.
In the first few months after therapy ended, I found that I didn’t need the same kind of intensive support, but as time wore on, I accepted the reality that I, in fact, did need the support of a trauma therapist. Not to help me process the past, but to help me live in the present.
I still live with the effects of my trauma, I still have unrelenting symptoms, and I know how to deal with them; most of the time. I found I needed someone to teach me some different ways to accept and name my symptoms with a present, non-judgemental presence of mind.
I know why I have symptoms of PTSD, I have done the work around processing my past. But I had a hard time staying in the present while experiencing the triggers. The triggers did not go away, and I was beginning to slide down the shame spiral of judgment and criticism for not beating this illness. I knew intuitively I needed someone to help me accept where I am in the here-and-now.
As I ponder how my needs have changed in the past year, I feel great pride in how far I’ve come in managing my PTSD. Last April, I was full of fear and apprehension, not quite sure how I was going to live with my truth.
But a lot can change in a year. I no longer think about what tools I need to get through the day, I just use what I need and live in the present of the day. Some days (and times of year) are more triggering than others, but I know that’s my life right now and I live it.
I have taken the judgment out of what happened to me, how I feel about my trauma, and what I need to do to live the best life I can lead.
Therapy did not cure me, but it did (and does) give me what I need to cope with my illness. I have come to terms with my PTSD, although in all honesty, I sometimes still get angry and frustrated with my symptoms. I just really want to hop in the car and take a drive, I really want to hang out in a library and not get overwhelmed, and I would like my startle-response to settle down. But, those, and many other symptoms still have a pretty good choke-hold on me and I continue to learn to accept that.
And that’s one of the biggest things that has changed in a year. How I accept those symptoms, and how I accept myself.
The only thing we know for sure is that everything changes. Impermanence is a given. So when I cling to the things in my life, whether good or bad, I try to remind myself, of my son’s wise words…”A Lot Can Change In A Year.”
image source: Pixabay
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