I thought for a minute I screwed up a while back. I did not.
A few years ago, at this point, I made very small decisions that have had consequences that are being realized today. I don’t use “consequence” as an inherent negative, consequences can be both good and bad. Some of the decisions have had wonderful consequences. Graduate school, pursuing work I enjoy, finding and walking a path to healing after my car wreck – those have all been small initial decisions that have changed the course of my life for the better.
I was watching tutorial videos this weekend for a work project, because I needed more information about how to use a particular software that I am familiar with, but not an expert in. The videos were helpful, not only for the tips and tricks and methods, but also because they pulled some past abilities out of my memory.
With PTSD, memory can be a challenge for me, and it’s often just not there. I went from having an excellent memory to a poor memory, not only since the car wreck, but from well before that. I don’t even remember who I used to be or how I used to be before the wreck, and that has a lot of challenges.
The memories that came up while I was trying to learn something I thought were that I’ve actually done this before, and not only that, but I have this talent. It’s been undeveloped and unused for several years, but it’s there. I had forgotten how much I like this kind of work. I had forgotten I used to be good at it. I had forgotten that I changed my career trajectory the first time, not because I didn’t love what I did or because I wasn’t very good at it, but because I was doing it for people who didn’t value what I offered, and who devalued not only my work, but me as a person.
I left, transitioned careers, pursued more formal education, made a lot of changes in life (and life made its changes to me) and left behind, to some extent, the things associated with being devalued, not just the people. I thought for a couple of days that maybe I had screwed up, that maybe I should have stayed with what I was doing that I enjoyed and was good at. Maybe I should go back to it. Maybe this has all just been one big post-trauma detour.
I’ve mentioned I don’t sit well with uncertainty. I am still in a lot of uncertainty, and the pressure on me of nearly two months of not knowing what’s happening next has worn me out, on top of already being worn out. When you live with PTSD, you start your day worn out, and you don’t really get to catch up. Every time I do, I get knocked down or knocked out again.
I made the right decision to leave. I made the right decision to change my life, to move, to put myself in a stronger career position, to explore other options and things that interested me. Even if that did not go as planned.
I don’t need to go back to the work I was doing, and right now that would just be chasing a distraction. The memories are nice, the bit of confidence boost is nice, the recognition is nice, but veering off right now is not going to pull me out of uncertainty, and is more likely to prolong it since I’ll be distracted by the new, shiny thing and not addressing the unpleasant thing in front of me.
Sound a bit like relationships?
Because it’s hard to sit with uncertainty and discomfort and address the unpleasant thing in front of you. I get it. I live there. But healing is so much better, and worth it.