I was reading something this morning by someone with PTSD. She was discussing the limitations she has gotten as a result of the awful disorder. I found one thing especially interesting about what she said. She said rather than getting depressed about these changes, she has chosen to celebrate them, to look at them as a gift.
While this sounds good in theory, I was thinking about it. I’ve had C-PTSD since 2012 (well, that’s when all the symptoms started- I had many of them all my life), then in February, 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning & passed out from it resulting in a concussion which has caused still more damage to my brain. There is a lot I can’t do like I once did. I can’t read books without getting a headache & anxiety. I can’t write easily- it takes much longer to write anything, even a short email, let alone a book. My short term memory is awful, & learning new things is extremely difficult. Loud noises are a problem too, including music, which means I can no longer drive around with my radio blaring- one of my favorite activities. I now have mild dyslexia & chemical sensitivities. I also get tired very quickly & my personality is quite different.
I’m not really feeling like these things are a gift. I’m going to go out on a limb here & guess that others with PTSD, C-PTSD or other problems with similar symptoms like mild traumatic brain injuries don’t feel it either.
While I’m not saying you should wallow in misery for what you have lost, I think it is a good idea to be realistic. In my experience, I have learned to grieve, then accept the changes. It’s painful losing so much of yourself, how can you not grieve that?! Grieving also clears the way for acceptance, in time, as it is the final stage of grief.
Allow yourself to feel sad that you have new limitations. You have lost a part of what makes you, you. You are allowed to feel sad for that! Angry too! In time, you will feel less & less sad & angry. Then you will be more ready to accept these limitations & get to know the new you.
As you’re getting to know the new you, remember to treat yourself gently. There may be times you feel strong & brave- push yourself as best you can during those times. Other times, you feel weakened for various reasons, & need to relax. Just do what you can do & don’t worry about the rest! I know, easier said than done, but try it anyway. Pushing too hard does you no justice. It can make you sick. When I have pushed myself too hard, there have been times I’ve needed to rest in bed for a day or two to recover.
Also, I am still trying to look at getting to know the new me as something enjoyable. Like, getting to know a new friend. That perspective helps some too.
Dear Reader, be gentle with yourself. If you have C-PTSD, PTSD or a TBI, you obviously have been through some bad, bad things! Although you are obviously stronger than what tried to hurt or even kill you, you aren’t quite as strong as you once were. It’s ok! It’s normal, considering the circumstances. Just remember that you aren’t quite as able to handle things like you once could, & adapt to that. And, don’t forget- with God, all things are possible. And, He loves you & wants you healed. Don’t forget to pray for healing too!