An Unexpected Benefit of PTSD

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.

black motor scooter parked near black vehicle
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

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