Like clock work my anxiety rises and falls with certain seasons. I finally figured out that the anxiety starts mid October…..my mother’s birthday….until end of school when she would finally relax. My life still seems to revolve around my mother that explained to me she hated me in our last conversation. So how do I extricate myself from this? How do I take back my power? How do I become myself? How do I even know who myself is?
Warrior’s Landing is a nonprofit organization that works to help soldiers with PTSD. Overtime they are recognizing others that also experience PTSD/CPTSD. Their perspective is we each need to tell our story then to change the pattern we change our behaviors.
This is a facebook link to their perspective: https://www.facebook.com/notes/warriors-landing/a-warriors-survival-guide/1292292454122439/
It is an intense read because it acknowledges how difficult this journey is. No one asked to have PTSD/CPTSD. No one woke up one day and said I want to get attention so I am going to have these inexplicable lows and sadness and nightmares and flashbacks to get attention. The symptoms and feelings are real and difficult. Doubting yourself is common. Doubting your reality is part of the challenge.
(Side note: I did meet someone that pretended these things and actually read other people’s blogs to write it and share it as there own. Why do I know this? Because I was following the original person and saw the copying happening.)
If you don’t want to read their perspective of this journey skip down to the lower portion with numbered ideas on how to plan, cope and improve how you feel during tough dates and anniversaries. Keep in mind that the holidays and dates that bug one person will have no effect on someone else.
How do I work through and change my pattern of behavior?
I needed a counselor to help teach me what I was missing from a life time of living in a toxic and hostile environment. Description that I couldn’t see the forest through the trees is apt. I was immersed in survival living so I didn’t know what was actually happening. Counseling helped me to step back and review my life damage. Yup, took a lot of counseling sessions to access how damaged my life was. What is important is that you can’t fix something if you don’t know it is broken.
After acknowledging where my life was, surveying damage, I needed to decide where did I want to be. I was spending a lot of time and energy on trying to get somewhere when I didn’t know where I wanted to be. The Cheshire cat points out,
“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
I really did need to decide what do I want to become. Now this is power. The moment you accept that you decide where you are going is the moment you take back your power. Do I always remember this? NO. I am a work in progress but every time I fall flat on my face again, I remind myself, am I where I want to be? If not, how do I get there?
Once I know where I am and I know where I want to go, the next step is to make a plan from where I am to get where I want to go. Here is the cool thing, I don’t have to know the whole plan before I get going. Sometimes the gap between where I am and where I want to be is monstrous. However, the next step is right in front of me. I am here right now, what is a step in the direction that leads to where I want to be?
If I’ve taken a bunch of steps maybe the next thing is a resting time. Resting is not quitting or giving up. It is a time to regroup, rethink, and recommit where I want to go.
Along the way and from Froglogic I learned to build a team. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWp_FEVEeE8 We don’t come with a team….some people will spout your family is your team….hog wash, sometimes your family is your enemy. Team building as the word implies is a deliberate choosing of people to have in your life who help you get where you want to be. Yes, I have family members that are on my team but it doesn’t mean every family member is cheering for me. That is ok. That is on them and not me. Their life experience is different than mine even raised in the same house. I chose Christ to be on my team. Yup. I believe in that kind of planning for team building. I can choose authors of books or groups of people or any person that helps me get to where I want to be in my life.
In the team building process, I made some poor choices. After experiences that showed me the person was actually sabotaging my progress, I cut that person from my team. I felt terribly hurt, frustrated that I didn’t see what was happening earlier, but the bottom line is when I saw what was happening, I let that relationship go. Whoa. This is tough stuff. I want to be liked by everyone….I know totally impossible….yea I felt hurt by their behavior…. but I realized this person had no real like for me; I let the relationship go.
If I encounter a new obstacle I do the same process, my counselor taught me the process. He informed me that I was so messed up, there was no way he could stay with me the whole journey so he taught me the process. By the way, he is still cheering for me, which I appreciate.
Identify the problem/issue/challenge. As I mentioned earlier, you can’t fix it if you don’t know it is broken.
Decides who problem is it. This is a powerful piece, I ran around trying to solve other people’s problems to avoid facing my own. It is also very freeing. I could do nothing to stop my mother hating me. It was her problem not mine. I could not solve her problem. So I walked a way. I felt free to walk away from that problem, because it wasn’t mine to fix. It impacted me but it still wasn’t my problem. I dare you to write down your 3 biggest problems then decide if those problems are actually yours to fix…Think about how many problems can be removed by recognizing how much time is spent trying to fix someone else’s problem. Now sometimes you are paid to fix their problem. When I worked with computers, my job was to fix someone else’s computer problem. In life, sometimes the problem is not yours to fix. I am not including service in this. Service is a deliberate choice to help someone else. However, if they don’t want to be helped you can walk away. You can’t walk away from your own problems. You can’t run away from your own problems; those darn things just follow you where ever you go. Stand your ground and face your problems and let other people take care of their own problems.
Make a plan. Live life by a plan. Humans can do that you know. I get frustrated with people that say they want to go with the flow like they are a piece of drift wood bobbing along with no rudder or plan. Do you know where they will go? Where ever someone else tells them they are going. Ugh, I’ve done that enough. I am taking back my power and I am deciding where I am going. Sometimes a life changing experience will happen and I will change my direction. That is what a life changing experience is supposed to do. I believe it is kind of creepy when someone says they want to be like they were before. In essence, they want to have a proverbial edit undo on life. Doesn’t work that way.
I make a plan then I implement that plan. I put action to my planning.
Then I review how my plan is working…..if it is working? Keep going. If it is not working? Make adjustments to my plan. Occasionally, I scrapped my entire plan and started over, that is OK. I’m allowed to do that.
Broken down to the minimum words
Identify the problem
Decide who problem is it.
Make a plan.
Action – put the plan into action
Review the plan – make needed adjustments.
I can do this. I do this, over and over and over. My counselor was right, sometimes annoyingly so, my life is mine to live. If I see a problem with it, it is mine to fix. No one in the World is more concerned about fixing my life than me. I am thankful to my counselor that taught me I have the power to do this. True, the power lay with in me the whole time but I didn’t recognize it or know how to use it. I am a work in progress and I am learning.