I’m sharing different coping tools I added to my toolbox when fighting PTSD. I hope that they help someone else, too. Every once in awhile I need to be reminded as to why I do this. What motivates me to keep working on sharing these ideas? What is the driving force behind hours of reading and studying to share ideas that I used but make them more universal and available to others. Lifebegins45 shared a reminder: https://lifebegins45.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/laugh-and-the-world-laughs-with-you-cry-and-you-cry-alone/
I spent 2 years in bed when I was in my 30’s. Doctors told me there was nothing wrong with me according to the tests they ran. Everything was in ‘normal’ range but I had no energy to do anything. I trembled on the edge of the abyss. My distorted mind was convincing me that I was a horrible burden to my family and they would be better off if I was dead. I prayed for release from the half life I was living. My answer, I would live many more years. I felt sick at the thought of dragging my practically lifeless body through many years of exhaustion. I prayed again, “Lord I can’t live like this.” My answer, “So what are you going to do about it?” I cried alone just as Livebegins45. I felt devastated at the answer. With the advantage of over 20 years later, it was the best answer I ever had. I didn’t know where to start since I already went through a whole battery of medical test. I didn’t believe it was a mental issue. In the 1980’s, no one was talking about PTSD. I started to do research. I went to the library….before internet was popular. Card catalog was my friend. I spent hours reading. I inched forward. My husband changed jobs and was home more. This helped. I inched farther and farther away from the abyss of suicide, giving up, total darkness. I didn’t go charging to healthy, I crawled bit by bit. 15 years passed before I finally sought counseling. Again the abyss beckoned….”What you are doing is too hard”……”You are hurting your family”……”They would be better off without you.” I continued my laborious scratching and clawing away from the abyss. I’m not offering an easy button, a short cut, or any instant secret solution. I’m sharing my journey out of darkness to a better day. Symptoms of PTSD still plague me. But mostly my life is mine to dictate what I will do. I know there are others besides me that have cried, sobbed, grieved at the edge of the abyss. The life line my counselor threw me felt like I was grasping barbed wire to escape from almost certain total destruction. Counseling was painful, acceptance of my past was agonizing, my journey away from the abyss littered with obstacles and setbacks. Lots of setbacks. My counselor asked me what was the advantage of hitting bottom again. I half smiled and joked, “It is familiar territory.” That wasn’t they answer he was looking for, he reminded me I know the steps to start heading up again. I love the quote attributed to many different sources. Success falling down 7 times getting back up 8 times. The reason I am sharing on this PTSD page what I learned in this struggle is I know someone else has sobbed at the edge of the abyss hoping, praying, and despairing that someone will throw them a line. Suicide is epdemic for PTSD survivors. I am pleading that you give yourself a chance to find answers that lead back to a life of thriving. Education is only the beginning. Counselors make a difference. Hard work lays ahead but it is possible.