I am only recently aware of such a thing as a “gratitude practice”. It can definitely take some practice to be grateful when you have PTSD, but I find it well worth it and helpful to my well-being. Even when you have to look hard, finding something or may things to be grateful for can build into appreciating becoming a different version of yourself. I have become a better person than I was – much more compassionate, much more mature and much, much more deep. I have a much richer life because I notice and reflect on so much more now.
Like driving detours.
I was fairly distraught at the appearance of new problems while driving. I started feeling like I was going to pass out while driving at the end of January this year, and it has been hell to get a handle on it. I’ve gone back to therapy and have driven thousands of miles while terrified and overwhelmed because my brain just would not let me drive in peace. A lot of my driving path for a couple of months was on an interstate, and with the new symptoms, high speeds (over about 50 mph) were very triggering for me, and I tried to find ways to avoid them. I found a way to get where I needed to go on a very long city street that runs parallel to the interstate I was trying to avoid, and funny enough and depending on traffic, my travel time was only about 20-30 minutes longer than the faster route. It was doable, and it got me through.
As I cruised along this alternate route, I found myself in a part of the city that is home to several immigrant communities. The business mix is diverse, the streetscape is varied and things are just VERY INTERESTING. I traveled that route several times, each time seeing another layer of richness to the stretch of communities that bleed into each other as you drive toward the city center. I was fascinated, and I realized that if I didn’t have PTSD, I would never have been able to experience this richness and quirk and interest. Speeding along would never have revealed the details of interesting communities and colors the way a slow cruise between red lights did, and I’m grateful.
It taught me something about noticing and paying attention and appreciating.
And being grateful, even with PTSD. Sometimes because of it.