PTSD can be such an overwhelming barrier to living.
I now have to weigh my actions carefully, consider whether I have the energy or capacity to do whatever it is I want to or need to do, have an exit strategy if I get overwhelmed and can’t handle the situation I’m in, build in rest days so I don’t overextend my already-overextended self and – as of 6 weeks ago – whether I can even drive.
And I need to just go for it.
The fear, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, panic, loss of cognitive function, maxed out stress tolerance and physical issues have been winning for five and a half years, and as a result I don’t have the life I would find fulfilling. I have glimpses of it, and experience moments of fulfillment, but they are far from the norm.
PTSD is disruptive to sleep, relationships, finances, work, plans, goals and ambition. In a lot of ways it feels like the things I want and have worked so hard for – including what I think looks like success with my just-turned-3 company – are on the other side of a very tall and insurmountable wall.
But hope drives me forward, and keeps me pushing to get back to living.
I made it about two years after the car wreck before I broke down, got help, got diagnosed and started to heal. It will likely be a life-long process, and things happen when they can happen and when we’re ready for them, not before. I feel that I’m now ready to go for it, to take those big risks and put myself out there. It doesn’t make it any less hard, or less of a wall to scale, but feeling ready (which is a rare occurrence for me) to release my futile attempts at control and put myself back into life rather than staying as far out of sight as possible.
I wasn’t sure I had the courage to start taking risks again, but I find that being honest and kind with myself goes a long way toward building up the courage and determination to do what it will take for me to take those steps. And that has been the most powerful part of my healing process, learning to be honest and kind with myself.