Thursday, May 23, 2013

Psychological Recovery Mirrors Physical

On my journey, I've often tried to get people to understand what is happening within me and the challenges I face by drawing parallels between physical injuries/illnesses and then comparing them with the emotional/psychological situation/injuries that I face.  Sometimes it seems to work.  Then there are the other times....

Today's blog is going to feature such a journey; a traumatic journey in the physical realm.  A journey widely followed by people in our area.  One which anyone can understand.  A traumatic event which has changed not only a young girl's life but her family's as well.

Their journey began one bright sunshiny May day.  A normal day. Filled with normal things.

Until ....

A garbage disposal truck driver got distracted for just a minute - and found a stopped school bus, lights flashing in front of him.  He tried to avoid a sure collision by attempting to pass on the right.  A young girl was getting off the bus.  His truck hit her slender body, throwing her 30 feet down the road.

Lydia Herrle is a survivor.  Her story is well-known in our area.  The community came together.  People prayed.  They tied green ribbons around trees, poles, fence posts, you name it to show their prayer support for this family.  Her family set up a blog to keep the community informed of her condition during the tense first days after the accident and continued making progress reports daily for months.

A year after the accident, Lydia is a miracle in progress.  Still recovering.  Still with no certainty that she will recover fully, her family is grateful for the Lydia they now have.  The Lydia that lay motionless in a coma for months.  The Lydia they thought they would never see again.

A huge part of Lydia's remarkable recovery is her own drive and stamina.  Her desire to get well.  To work hard.  To set goals and work to achieve them.

Lydia had to start at the beginning.  She had to relearn how to eat.  How to walk.  How to brush her teeth and her hair.

Those who us who suffer from psychological trauma are also on a journey of recovery.  Our journey is less understood.  Certainly there are no headlines.  In  many cases, people are not even rallying around us to support us through prayer.  No green ribbons lining the roadways.  We are invisible to those outside the situation just as our plight was invisible to those who worked with us.  The bystanders.  The onlookers.  HR.  Management.  The Union.

Our injuries are not as cut and dried as broken bones and brain injury.  Nor are there therapies to help us advance, to regain what we've lost in many cases.  We're on our own to figure things out as best we can usually with no to limited support.

We are actively discouraged from telling our stories.  From becoming visible.  Sometimes this discouragement comes from well-meaning people who just don't understand.  People who think we're whiny.  Or that we just won't let go.  Other times this discouragement comes from those who caused the damage in the first place.  It also comes internally from fear of what these people might do if we come out of the closet of workplace abuse.

We are perceived in a negative way as though we were somehow the cause of the trauma that happened in the workplace and has affected us and our families.

Yet, I see so many parallels in Lydia's journey back from physical trauma and my own from complex PTSD.  Recovery is a long process.  For her, it involves different forms of therapy.  Her recovery is a 24/7 situation as she is continually working on going forward.  Challenging herself.  Resting.  It involves her entire family.

My recovery is also a 24/7 situation since I began the first phase in 2006 with an amazing therapist.  A journey of continually attempting to move forward.  Challenging myself.  Resting.  Learning to involve my family and lean on them for support.

This blog is taking a turn at the moment as I re-align it to move forward and invite others into not only my journey, but the journeys of those around them who are recovering from an abusive workplace.  Those who have been made to feel that it was something they did wrong.  To bring workplace abuse and recovery from workplace abuse out of the closet and into the open.

I hope you will continue with me on this amazing journey.


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