I have found myself deep inside that thinking place of mine. I don’t hang out here very often. I believe it’s because for the past nine years I have been in an almost constant goal-setting mode while learning to live with PTSD, and experiencing great growth and change. I haven’t really allowed myself to just sit and think for a while.
Resting in my thinking place I have been pondering change. Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Our circumstances change, the weather changes and so do the seasons. We change our minds, our clothes and our cell phones. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can be frightening. The fear of the unknown, and the anticipation of what could be can often be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.
But change is inevitable. There are unforeseen events that occur daily. Some may feel insignificant or be a nuisance such as a flat tire. Some are life-altering such as the diagnosis of a terminal illness or a disability that has progressed to the point of impacting income streams. Even then, we have the ability to choose how we handle the challenges in our lives. We can use the momentum of change to keep growing as a person.
Since I was diagnosed with PTSD, I have had to change almost everything about my life. I had to learn how to cope with sometimes debilitating symptoms, adjust to the dramatic change in my financial situation, understand the continued lasting effects of my trauma, and accept that my ability to be self-sufficient is now somewhat limited.
I realize that nothing stays constant and there is always change. In the context of what I am writing about, I believe there are two kinds of change. One is the day-to-day events that happen all around us, and the second kind of change is mindful and purposeful. It takes courage to work through both. It is a courageous person who is willing to purposefully seek change and personal growth.
Right now, we have some incredible life changes to navigate in my family. My husband has had to face his continued decline in his abilities due to a neurological disorder, called Essential Tremor. As a commercial cabinet maker, the fact that he is no longer able to use his hands to successfully do his job has been devastating for him. Yes, he knew this day would come, but I’m not sure you can ever be prepared to hear, this day is here.
The change in my family has brought to the surface an immense amount of fear and anxiety for all of us. Fear for the future, fear of declining health, and fear of the unknown. It also brought out anger, disbelief, confusion, and definitely grief.
In my thinking place, I smile at the knowledge that change also can bring compassion. It has been amazing in my life the amount of compassion and support I receive. I have seen the same compassion, support, and offers to step in and help from people, who are the voices of reason and action when emotions run high, and decisions seem impossible as my husband deals with new challenges.
We also must have self-compassion. To be as kind to ourselves as others are to us. To stop the negative self-talk, and shame spiral that often brings us down to a level where we begin to shut-down and push away. Taking responsibility for our lives and having self-compassion brings a sense of freedom and empowerment. With that freedom, a calmness and understanding create the peace of mind, the knowledge that things change, it’s inevitable and that is part of living a very lived life.
As I think about all the change I have experienced in the past nine years, and now what my husband must face, I acknowledge how huge this undertaking has been. Allowing myself to feel tired, introspective, and content, I can rest in my thinking place. I’m not sure what happens next…Maybe I’ll have to think about that.
image source: pixabay
Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph