There are times when I really like to stop and think of where I was and where I am now. It is far too easy to always look at where I am now and how far I still have to go that it is so easy to lose sight of all I have accomplished. I think this is really important for everyone to do on a regular basis.
My husband has been very unhealthy due to his smoking for the past 44 years. Hospitalizations, new medications and a big lifestyle change are all hitting him now. His new reality. That said, he smoked a pack a day (he says – I think it was far more than that) for 44 years and now he is down to 3 a day and has been able to stick with that. He was getting down on himself because he just can’t seem to give up those last 3 even though its been weeks now since he got down to that level. I told him to be proud of himself for the 17 he doesn’t smoke any longer rather than the 3 he still does. He will get to zero but it might take a long time. That is okay though so long as he continues to hold on to the progress he has made.
While supporting him and telling him to look at what he’s done rather than what he still must do, I took that advice to heart and promised myself that I would take some time to look at where I have come rather than where I still need to go.
I went back to where I was in January of 2013. Oh my goodness. I can’t even honestly say I really even remember “that girl”. It feels like it was someone else completely… and not in a DID way. 😉
I was so depressed, anxious, suicidal, self harming, self hating… my head was such a sad place to be. I didn’t know that I had DID yet and that only made my life even more confusing, upsetting and made me think I was truly crazy. I had not yet told anyone about my life and the secrets were killing me. I was shame filled, felt guilty and unworthy, I was positive that if anyone knew what my childhood had been like, they would never speak to me again. My idea of self-care was to eat, sleep and have a shower before the neighbours complained about the smell. I thought I was doing everything possible but none of it was working. Of course this translated in to “I am not doing enough”. I smiled all the time but felt happy none of it. My mask was a constant companion and I wasn’t hiding behind it. I didn’t know who the person behind it even was. I didn’t even have a favourite colour. I was like an empty shell.
Then I went away and got real help for the first time in my life. I learned how to take better care of myself. I learned I was not at fault for things that happened to me as a child. That seems so obvious to me now but it wasn’t back then. I found out that I had DID and suddenly life made so much sense. It was like the best and worst day of my life when I was diagnosed. Looking back it was all good but it was overwhelming back then.
I was shown care like I’d never known care before. My husband and his family tried to show that to me but I couldn’t trust it. I wasn’t ready or able with them and they didn’t know my secrets. I knew that when they found out, they’d run like everyone else always had. Gratefully, I was very wrong about this.
Being surrounded by a large group of people just like me (with Complex PTSD) was a healing agent of its own. I found out that it was not just me that felt this constant fear, this need to wear a mask, this inability to even know who I was or to truly trust a single soul… they all felt it too.
Things didn’t get better quickly. It took me months of really hard work and dedication. I even went back to redo the 8 week hospital program because I wasn’t able to do everything the first time.
I still work at healing every single day. I can guarantee you that I don’t do everything that I should but I do try. I get back up on the horse every single day and try to do better than the day before. When I mess up? So what! It doesn’t matter. I just try again the next day.
Here I am 2 years later. I have a blog that I am very proud of. I feel like everything I was given to teach me how to heal can now be shared with all of you. I know how blessed I was to get that help. Not everyone has a chance like that so sharing everything I learned is my way of passing it along. That makes me feel good so thank you for reading and for learning. You make me feel like I have a real place in this world now. I actually know who I am now.
My life is still not easy. I struggle more in a day than many people do in a month between nightmares, flashbacks, dissociations, memories and heartache. I still grieve for the family and the love that I never had and the loved ones I’ve lost. I grieve for my innocence, my childhood and the life I feel I was meant to have.
This is all okay though. My struggles are what drive me to keep blogging, to keep doing my artwork, to speak out and speak up for those of us that can’t. My struggle is not who I am nor is the abuse I suffered really me. They are great teachers though. I see this world in a unique way as most trauma survivors do. It allows me to relate to people in a way they are not accustomed to and that makes me feel good too.
I know that so many of you still struggle and I know that while some of you are further ahead in your healing, that some are further behind as well. We all improve though. Each and every day that we wake up and choose to try to make our lives better, we accomplish at least a part of that quest to heal.
If you can, take a look at where you were or who you were 2 years ago and forget how far you still have to go even if only for today. Look at how far you have come. Make a list of all that you have accomplished and list everything! Even “I shower more often” or “I joined a support group”. ANYTHING that you have done to help in your healing journey. I dearly hope that when you look back, you will see that you really have come a ways from where you were.
This is not only good for those who are healing. I believe every human is on a journey and I am sure you have all changed over time.
If you do not feel this way? Do me a favour and listen to the words of someone who felt that life would never get better. To the point where death was the only option. I promise you that if you keep trying, keep learning, and keep reaching out, you can feel your healing begin as well. I do not make promises lightly. I truly believe you can do this.
Thank you all for being a part of my journey and I hope you will continue to join me as I move further along that healing pathway. Sharing it will all of you has made my life far richer and more full. I appreciate each and every one of you.
If the staff at Homewood ever reads this and have sound on your computer, I hope you will let the staff listen to this song and tell them that I am here today because of each of you. You cracked my cocoon. Thank you.