It’s not uncommon to hear people say that there’s no recovery from PTSD.
Well, in my mind, that’s simply not the case.
It’s true that you’ll never go back to being exactly the same person you were before you were injured. But when you think about it, how many of us are ever the same as we used to be? As we learn and grow in life, we can’t help but grow from our experiences. What I’m referring to is post traumatic growth.
Sure, life might have been easier if I hadn’t logged seven years working in one of Canada’s largest penitentiaries. I might not have been injured. But then I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I’m kinda liking her.
Don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want to go back to being my high school self (although the flare jeans with Canada flag inserts were quite fetching).
I definitely do not want to relive the angst of my twenties.
I may have a few more bumps, and scars on me now, but they serve as a testament to the fact that I have truly lived. I have a massive scar across my right knee that I got while building a school in Tanzania. I’m proud of it, and in no way want to erase that experience.
If I work too hard my muscles flare up – reminders of the need to pace myself better. Areas where I have previously been injured will always be vulnerable during times of stress. They serve as my personal barometers for health. I thank these symptoms for gently reminding me when I’m not paying close enough attention to my needs or limits.
I guess I’m saying that I work hard each day to keep the superwoman cape in the closet. It’s not easy because it feels oh so comfortable. I try to simply focus on having a good day, going to bed at night feeling satisfied with whatever small thing I might have been able to accomplish.
So, it’s true, you will never be the same person you were before. It is possible, though, to become someone capable of living a rich and full life, wiser for all the things you have experienced.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong