Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trauma - on the journey towards recovery

Leaving Pittsford, NY on the Colonial Belle

Looking back at Pittsford, NY
as we cruise down the
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal
Pittsford, NY
Recovery is hard work.  At times, brutal in its intensity.  At times, especially at the beginning when the foundational blocks are being laid in the underground of the survivor of trauma, unseen.  Unheralded.  Not realized.

For me, recovery has not been a straight line on one path but rather unscheduled sidetrips or forays from one area to another crisscrossing randomly back and forth.  Up.  Down.  Sideways. Diagonal.  With no apparent rhyme or reason.

Ahoy, Mates!
Here comes the Colonial Belle
At one point, I was accused of being "all over the map" in a dialogue - which the person then terminated.  This accusation forced me to really look at my recovery - with the help of my therapist.

My recovery has indeed been all over the map.  There's not been any rhyme or reason to it.  Definitely not straight forward.  Yet all the components have blended together to form a whole.  Interrelated blocks bound together in a common them.  Recovery.

First - and foremost - came the changing relationship with myself.  From a person who would stand in front of the mirror and call herself stupid to a person who can now stand in front of the mirror and say good things about herself.  Make wry or comic faces.  Tell herself that God indeed loves her.

At some point, realizing who was significant in my life.  And who was not.
Low Bridge
Everybody Down

Realizing what my strengths - and weaknesses - were.

Realizing what Papa Bear's strengths - and weaknesses - were.

Beginning to accept me for who I am and like me anyway.

Accepting Papa Bear for who he is.

Re-inventing relationships - one at a time.  Slowly.  Painfully.

Re-entering my relationship with God.  Learning who He is.  Learning to thank Him.  Re-learning how to talk to him.  Learning to trust Him.  All these steps were individual processes on the continuum.  Together, they've taken years - and are still on-going.

Forgiving.  What is it?  How do I forgive those who have hurt me so badly?  What comes first?  Forgiving or healing?  Can the person I need to forgive demand it?  Is that what forgiveness is all about?  A carte blanche, absolution for the perpetrator?  Or is it something more?  Something deeper?  Something healing?  What is forgiveness really?

PTSD?  Trauma?  What are they?  How do they affect me?  Am I really dealing with PTSD?

Recognizing major traumas in my life.

Learning that trust was destroyed big-time.  Re-building trust.

Researching all these various issues at one time or another.  In one form or another.

Building the blocks.  The foundation.  Always the foundation.

Skyline of Rochester, NY
These and more, I struggled with on an alternating basis.  Each one dominated my thoughts while I was processing them.  I would work through one area only to be presented with another area to work through.

Juggling all these balls at the same time.

No wonder I got tired.  Bone tired sometimes.

No wonder as I continue on, I still get bone tired, and even weak, sometimes.

Yet, the process, the hard work, the energy expended has been, and continues to be, well worth the outcome.

Even though I am still in recovery, I have reached a point where life is generally good.

Where I discover joy in the journey.  Where I anticipate new vistas opening up just around the corner.

In the lock
Looking up
Going up
I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.

 Remember:  Life.Is.Good.

And don't you forget it!

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