Having PTSD is a lonely experience, but at least you have the community of others who suffer from it. However, finding healing on the other side can be even more isolating; you’re not a victim anymore, but not really a “normal” person either.
Battling through a blinding wall of trauma where your own brain fights against you, losing track of the truth and then finding it again, coming out the other side, there’s nothing else like it. And there’s nobody else who knows exactly what that’s like. Your journey is uniquely yours. And then coming far enough along in that journey where you’re not even sure if you identify with the term PTSD anymore, you’re a misfit, stuck between two worlds.
They say what happens to you creates you. If something monstrous is done to you, you become a monster; and in a sense that’s true, that’s PTSD. Someone does something unspeakable to you and through that, they get to decide who you are and how you interact with the world. You’ve been designed by someone else’s hand, against your will. Every startle response, every tense muscle, every panic attack, implanted in you by someone who took power that you never gave them.
But in finding healing you destroy that which they made you to be. You tear that person down, bit by bit, as you learn which parts of you were created by trauma and which parts are really your own. You recreate yourself. You get to decide who you are.
And through the whole process you have to fight against something that’s nearly impossible to win. You have to fight your own mind. You have to fight deeply embedded lies when you’re not even sure what the truth is anymore and you’ve been made to not trust yourself. You’re grappling for what is real and good when you don’t even know what that looks like anymore. You have to use memories from the foggy distant past of what was good and true then. You learn lessons along the way of what works and what explodes in your face. Trial and error.
Eventually things become a little more clear and a little less foggy. You take the lessons you learn and build upon them and build upon them, over and over, like constructing a tower. That tower becomes your compass rose. And once you break free from what they made you to be, bursting out of the cocoon into who you have chosen to be, on your own, rebirthed. that is complete freedom. That is healing; when you own yourself again.
And then you join the ranks of all the world changers that went through something that almost broke them. You stand with those who were baptized with fire and came out the other side a powerful teacher, healer, shaman, prophet. You are a chosen one. You chose yourself.
I’m not saying I’m “cured”. PTSD is never cured. It’s not a disease. It’s a lens you view the world through; robbed naivety, a bestowment of wisdom, even. No, not cured, but healed. I own myself again. Yes there are bad days, and I’ll write about those days, too. But something is different now. The bad days don’t own me. They are fewer and much farther between. I’m not being swept along in a raging, flooded river anymore. The water is still there, but now I’m building canals and dams. I get to decide what to do with it. Healing is possible. It’s damn hard work but you can get there.