Even With The Daisy’s and Weeds, It’s Still My Life

I went to the doctor the other day because I was hoping she would tell me I was suffering from some sort of vitamin deficiency or a thyroid problem. I made the appointment after some revelations I had in therapy the past few weeks. Not new memories, just a new awareness of how much I minimized, squashed down and refused to process some pretty epic feelings.  In a vague attempt to sidestep working through this, and to find a comfortable state denial, I went to the doctor wanting to hear I would feel better with a regimen of vitamins.

My doctor is fabulous. I’m extremely lucky to have a medical doctor and a therapist who understand the nuances of PTSD. She listened calmly as I anxiously rattled off all the reasons I thought I was sick. She agreed that it’s better to come in and make sure everything is okay, but she really didn’t think anything was wrong. To be sure, she ran the blood tests anyway. Good news, everything came back normal. All my numbers were nicely in the middle range. That was actually a huge relief, although there was a tiny part of me, that wished that everything I was feeling could be resolved with a boost of vitamins each morning.

There is a common expression that explains what it’s like to live with PTSD.  “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person.”

One of the questions that people often ask is, “Are you sure you want to remember your past?” Or a common statement is, “Just let the past go.” Both of these are said and/or asked without malice.  I understand both the question and the statement. Most trauma survivors understand the intention behind these statements. They are meant to protect the person from suffering and bad memories which can be re-traumatizing. Also to remind survivors that it is okay to live in the present moment.

Going through trauma therapy, we work very hard to understand our symptoms so we can live in the present. We often have safety plans, distress tolerance tools, and grounding techniques that bring us back to the here-and-now. We learn to hear the birds singing, children playing, feel our feet on the ground, and though we may not feel safe, we begin to understand that we are safe, and no one can hurt us (like that) again.

We are empowered by the fact that we are survivors and celebrate resilience. And yet, with all that knowledge, and practice, and bringing ourselves back to the present moment, PTSD has skeleton hands that grab you and pull you into the past. It is the nature of the illness.

When I’m asked, “Are you sure you want to remember your past?” I say to myself, and sometimes to the person (depending on my mood), “How would you feel if you had big swatches of your life missing?” I’m not talking about little memories of places, or people that come and go, I’m talking sometimes years and years, blacked out. Imagine the feeling of knowing that you are alive because you are here, but you have no real congruent memories to make sense of yourself, your wholeness as a person. And, often when you do have flashes of the past, your emotions,  feelings, and a very protective mind stop you from remembering.

My mind wouldn’t let me repress my memories any longer. I knew intuitively that I needed to know my past. I needed a timeline of my life. I didn’t want darkness any longer. I wanted to live, not just survive.  I understood the truth would be painful. Traumatic memories are painful. But for me, in order to get some control over some of my most severe symptoms I needed to uncover my past, my truth.

It was hard, excruciatingly painful at times, but worth it! I still have symptoms, but now I can name them. And it turns out that I also have some feelings that I wasn’t ready to process before now. I understand where they come from, and why they are happening. I feel confident in the tools I’ve acquired and know I will be able to move through the current waves.

But in all honesty,  I took some time after I went to the doctor and asked myself, “Are You sure you want to delve into these feelings and emotions?  To poke around healing the inner child? And I say back, to myself with  love and affection (and a dash of denial), “Yes, I do want to do this work, and remember, because, Whether it Daisy’s or Weeds it’s still my life.”

 

Thank you for reading my books:  If I Could Tell You How It Feels,  and  Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

43 thoughts on “Even With The Daisy’s and Weeds, It’s Still My Life

  1. I’m glad your doc is so good, but I get what you mean about the results; great that the numbers are good, but at the same time you’re still at square one with not knowing what’s causing problems. To look at the underlying turmoil and what’s going on emotionally and mentally is not easy. “I didn’t want darkness any longer. I wanted to live, not just survive” – that is such a huge revelation to have had, and I think you should be incredibly proud for working through so much, for facing those traumatic memories and learning new tools and going through everything that you knew would be damn difficult.  ♥

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  2. I’m so glad to hear that you are finding a way through the PTSD. We cannot change the fact that we’ve lived through trauma, but we can choose how to move forward with it. I love how you described PTSD, because it’s so spot on. Keep on writing—you are such an encouragement!

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  3. 😊 Im up in the middle of the night reading this with a huge smile on my face! Hearing that your seizures and flashbacks stopped, and feeling better makes me smile huge!! Im so happy for you…and yep maybe it is the right combination of everything you are doing for yourself. Happy Dance! 💃🏾

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  4. This is the first doctor who has never made me feel like I was wasting her time. I usually wait until Im beyond sick before going to a doctor, and have done that with this one too. But then something changed and she had me start coming every six months just to check in, and hear about me, my family and whats been going on with therapy. Thats when I knew I could trust her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad you have a good support network, you speak.so highly of your doctors. I love the quote about PTSD I must share it with a friend.
    I think you have been pulling weeds to make room for all the beautiful daisies.

    Right now I really don’t want to remember any more of my past. The flash backs and seizures have stopped.
    So at this time, I just don’t need to know. Is that bad? Am I just repressing it? I don’t know. But I feel better for the moment. Perhaps I’m taking the right combo of vitamins…hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s so wonderful that you have a medical doctor who understands PTSD. I have had a couple of doctors in the past get snotty with me because the symptoms I was having prompted them to order a lot of expensive tests, only to have nearly everything come back normal. They acted like I was lying to get attention. But I did not want or need that kind of attention, I just wanted to feel better.

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  7. “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person.”
    Truth. I wish more people understood that. Thank you for sharing this. It was very helpful to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person” – I hadn’t heard that before, but what a great way of expressing it.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I must say that your past has indeed made you a stronger and a better person than before, and the fact that you are willing to embrace it rather than hiding it away proves it! Best wishes to you from my side, I hope it is filled with lots of love and positivity💕

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Everyone is different, and what helps one person does not help the next. I’m glad you have found the kind of help that you need, and I hope it continues to assist you to have the kind of life you want to live. By the way,definitely daisies, not weeds. J.

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