“The plays of natural lively children are the infancy of art. Children live in a world of imagination and feeling. They invert the most insignificant object with any form they please, and see in it whatever they wish to see.” Adam Gottlob OchleuschlEiger
Start Writing: You don’t have to share it with anyone. But it will help.
Start Talking: Find someone you can trust and talk about it. They have to be able to hear the same story over and over and be able to listen and not judge or interrupt. Sometimes only a good therapist can do that. Anyone can interrupt me (they often do!), it is a gift to be able to listen attentively.
Seek God: If you have a faith community, start attending. You can write and talk to God. This can be done formally (church service) or informally by taking a walk and telling God what is on your mind, or writing about an important issue in your journal.
Get Creative: Find, or start fresh, some creative outlet. Creation is life and it helps heal PTSD. Drawing, singing, painting, writing, etc. Some folks say they don’t know how so they never start to be creative. Then it is a great opportunity to discover where talents lie that are now very rough but that can be nurtured. Art is life.
Compassion: While this is a hard one it is necessary: Try to understand people the way you would like to be understood. Tolerate as you would like to be tolerated. This often takes a lifetime, but we can choose to become more compassionate.
Forgiveness: If you cannot forgive, ask God that you will one day have the grace to forgive. PTSD thrives on hate and will try to keep us from forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean we suddenly trust someone, it means we will no longer be controlled by hatred. Forgiveness does not means we say it is okay that these bad things have occurred. It means we want to heal from their effects.
I, myself, still need to improve in many of these areas.
(I am including part of her list but be sure to check the whole post for the rest of the list.)
“I have witnessed healing both in my own family and with thousands of clients over a long career as a therapist. Those who are able to heal share some common experiences, traits, and outcomes. The following list does not reflect everyone’s experience but includes many of the things that have proved helpful in recovering from the unthinkable events in our lives.”
“(1). Love. Being surrounded with family, friends and even strangers who deeply care creates an energy field around the grieving and traumatized that seems to shelter them from a frightening world. This is most important in the beginning but is needed long term from at least a few close supporters and also some new ones along the way.”
“(2). Spending time with peers who can provide whatever you need. Sometimes you need distraction, comfort, and the ability to listen to the same stories over and over. At times they may simply be in the room with you doing nothing. There is no time limit on this.”
“(3). Sustained support from outsiders less impacted by the tragedy. One of the challenges as time goes on for the traumatized members in a family is that their very presence reminds them of the loss. When a husband and wife, a child and a parent look at one another they see the pain. They suffer both for themselves and each other. Reaching out to those who love you but don’t mirror your pain allows a moment of self-indulgence in one’s grief – a necessary part of healing.”
”We were driving home on our way back from Washington, DC, when the accident occurred. Like I said in a post two days ago–we were run off the road suddenly after a young man hit our vehicle. We’d participated in a 5 K earlier that day in the Race For Hope, a fund raising event to raise money for brain tumor research. My best friend, Dylan, lost her husband not quite a year before the race after a valiant 3 year struggle with brain cancer. We were there to rally around her, and her daughters and those we did not know but stood shoulder to shoulder with in the hopes of doing something good.”
“I have not always held onto this monumentally moving moment during this past year. But today I know I am standing on the other side of a miracle even though I battle the effects of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, daily. I know how blessed I am that this is all I have to deal with. I am alive. Thank God, I am alive.”
“There is one moment I will never forget during the accident. It was the moment I was the most awake/alive I have ever been in my life. It was the moment I believed I was going to die. It’s the moment that inspired me to write this blog. I’d like to share this moment with you.
I never screamed once during the accident–not when I saw the kid about to hit us and knowing there was nothing I could do to stop it… not at the time of the impact traveling at 65-70 MPH when we hit the guard rail, nor when we flipped, not after we landed hard on a pile of rocks–not even when I looked out my side window and thought we were about to go off yet another mountain. No, not once.”
“In those moments I did not see my life pass before my eyes as they say you do. I felt a sadness that I would not be able to do all the things I still wanted to. I didn’t have regrets about not living my life as I should. For the most part I knew I’d already lived many of my dreams–at least far more than most people ever do. But I knew there was so much more I wanted to do. And even though I felt this sadness, I was filled with an extreme peace inside. I resigned, and surrendered peacefully, that my time had come to die.”
“Our vehicle teetered on the edge of a mountain in reality–and forever in an abyss in my mind, and in my heart. A place of no return. I never want to forget that moment. In the last 12 months I have had a tremendous amount of healing to do physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m still not there yet. But just like the goslings in the picture under my blog title, This Time Tomorrow, I am ready to jump into my life with everything I have inside me and am willing to muster up the courage to at least try. One day at a time, one mile at a time behind the steering wheel, one hug at a time to get me there in one piece safely–physically and mentally.”
“This time tomorrow will always find me on that mountain side standing with my arms outstretched to the beautiful gift of life. I’m embracing that exact point in time as my mantra for living my best life forward. I see myself in each one of the goslings from right to left…various stages of beginning to live again this past year. I don’t want to get stuck somewhere in life like the gosling on the right side of the picture watching everyone else leap toward living, and being afraid to make a move. I want to be the gosling on the left, wings held out like airplane wings ready to soar, and take flight.”