“Choose to live your life”, that is what I have been hearing again and again. Choose to live rather than just survive. I am here to tell you that choosing to live doesn’t just happen over night.
The effects of trauma rears its ugly head in ripple effects. Every aspect of a person’s life gets hit, warped, and dented. Complex-PTSD takes years to acquire and it takes years to learn how to cope.
Choosing to live is a process and it looks different for each person. The path to living might be easy for some. They have been spared the anguish of grief and loss and betrayal. Their path is sunshine and rainbows with an occasional storm.
Others may find their path blocked from time to time. Life has a way of doing that to people. Throwing huge boulders and crevasses along the way. Not to mention massive hailstones and tidal waves that send a person scurrying to safety.
It can be very hard to leave that safe spot. Some never do leave. This can result in repetitive behavior patterns that aren’t necessarily healthy, but the safe spot is what they know, so they stay.
Those who choose to leave that safe spot may have a tough journey ahead. Their path might be damaged. There might be several dead ends along the way. The important part is that the person keeps looking for the path that will keep them moving forward in life.
Along the way, a person might encounter moments where they feel stuck or moments where they feel they have lost traction. Some might even feel trapped in their circumstances. Panic might arise. Anger and frustration as well. Acknowledge these feelings. Sit with these feelings without judgement. This is not an easy task. It takes practice and guidance from a trained professional. There is no shame in asking for help.
Find a healthy way to center yourself and try again by taking one step at a time and dealing with one thing at a time. Keep moving forward.
If you bury emotions, avoid dealing with the hard stuff, it becomes a weight that you carry with you. This weight can fester and begin to rot you from the inside out. This can cause resentment to build and anger to grow. Hatred thrives under these conditions.
I have hated in the past and it scared me. The hatred stemmed from a deep emotional injury a person caused. The power behind feeling hatred towards someone is an illusion. If left uncheck, that hatred will eventually destroy you and your loved ones.
I did not want to hate the person who caused so much pain for my children and myself. That hatred was only draining me of life energy. There was nothing good to come out of it, so I fought it. I learned to direct that hatred in a different direction. I wrote and wrote some more. As I processed the hatred, it turned to grief and fear and pain.
It has taken me years to realize that I had been only surviving my life, not living it. I wanted to live my life, but I didn’t know how. My adaptive skills were developed to survive, not live. That meant I had to unlearn old ways first before I could learn how to actually live my life. I am getting closer. I can feel it!
My counselor tells me to listen to my gut. What are my thoughts before my brain jumps in and second guesses me? What are my instincts telling me?
My gut is telling me that it is time for the next chapter in my life. I have written before about holding on, that I have to keep trying, that some day I will get there. Well, I feel time has come. I feel ready to take that next big step. I choose to live my life and I am ready to fly!!