Meandering Michele’s Mind: Have You Congratulated Yourself Today?
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 • Uncategorized •
We can’t help it — at the end of the year it’s a cultural rule that you must look back and assess. Well, OK, it may not be a rule per se, but with the year coming to an end we all do look back and see how it went. This can be a scary thing for someone struggling with PTSD.
First of all, we can’t always remember the whole year. We don’t live in the present so what’s happened short term isn’t quite as fresh as long-term trauma-related info.
Second of all, we lose a lot of time managing symptoms, so there’s not always a lot of energy, focus or commitment for anything else.
Third of all, we don’t look toward the future and see anything, so we often don’t work toward something that we can congratulate ourselves on accomplishing. And even if we do, the accomplishment doesn’t seem like much when you put it up against PTSD, which always looms larger than any achievement.
So, where does this leave us at the end of this year? Time for a new Auld Lang Syne strategy: time to look at PTSD specifically and see how far you’ve come.
Now, before you get distracted by the fact that it doesn’t seem like you’ve come that far, take a real look at this past year. For example, something motivated you to find this site. What was it? Were you seeking education? That’s progress. Were you seeking healing? That’s progress. Were you seeking community? That’s progress, too.
What have you done this year to find relief? Every little thing counts as an accomplishment. There are others who just never got out of bed. YOU took an action. That takes courage. So, you very definitely accomplished something this year.
In PTSD we’re always looking for the quick fix, the big BANG!, the simple cure. The truth is, healing doesn’t happen in those extraordinary ways. It happens over a course of days or weeks or months. It happens in the individual choices you make in every moment of every day. It happens in the cumulative effort you put in.
As this year comes to a close I’m thinking about all the years I struggled and raged and cried that I wasn’t healing and that another year had come and gone. I’m wishing I had been able to tell that struggling self that each year I engaged in battle for my freedom something was being accomplished. Each day and moment I spent seeking relief was an achievement.
I never thought to look at things that way. To me, the struggle was all I saw, not the positive steps I was taking. To me, the end result (or lack thereof) was all I noticed, not the continued effort I put in.
What do you do? Do you appreciate yourself for everything you do to heal?
(Photo acknowledgement on Flickr.)