How do we reach a part of ourselves that we aren't sure exists? Do we have to have solid proof that who we are is good enough or worthy enough to move forward through our trauma?
Those of you who have been following for many months on here know that I find questions intriguing, endearing, and rather maddening. They are, for the better part of eternity, a very live and valid part of the path of PTSD for me. Questions are what helped me through it all, even when I wasn't open to allowing others to ask them. I hear a faint "hmm" coming from you as you read that.
As someone who comes from a military family, I learned very early on, never to ask questions of a service member who has been to war. You know where they went. You will not know what they did there. End of story. However, I have learned the hard way that PTSD isn't just about war and the troops aren't the only ones who don't entertain questions from curious folks.
PTSD is one of those invisible wounds that most feel they can handle on their own. They'll tough it out. I tried to tough it out too, until I learned I couldn't. This was mainly because it wouldn't let me do it on my own. It proved to me that it wasn't meant to be fought alone. An army isn't made up of one person. It takes a unit, a team, a platoon, a squad, enlisted troops, NCO's, Officers, support organizations,and well, I think you know there are higher ranks beyond that too that govern what an Army does. So, why then was I to believe that one girl could fight that battle alone? What makes one soldier think he should have to fight that battle alone?
Now the types of questions are certainly key. I allow many more questions of myself and of others than I ever used to, but I think the important part of that is knowing that the questions must be asked inside of myself first before I could allow them to come from outside of me.
So back to my question at the top....How do we reach a part of ourselves that we aren't sure exists? Do we have to have solid proof that who we are is good enough or worthy enough to move forward through our trauma?
Our experiences and our trauma are often the proof we lean on to make ourselves believe we've done something wrong. We made a mis-step. There's something we should have done better or different. We lean on that proof to punish ourselves and create beliefs that we simply just aren't worthy.
This brings me to yet another question...."Where's the proof that I am worthy?" If I can't produce the evidence, then who's to say the contrary? If I can't prove there is worthiness inside of me, whose going to give me a mission to go in search of something I'm not sure I can find.
You've been on missions to find things you didn't question whether you could find or not. You just accepted the mission and did the job. This isn't much different. The inner parts of yourself that you think don't exist anymore, are still there. They are still part of you. Laughter, joy, purpose, compassion, wisdom, and love don't stop being a part of us, even though it sometimes feels that way. What makes us think that we need evidence to know they exist inside of us? Is it because we can't "feel" them or "see them"? Or maybe it is just because we are having a little trouble "connecting" with them? The power to see those parts of yourself again comes "in tools" and not necessarily, "in time."
Signing onto a mission to "connect" with yourself isn't about one avenue. I've mentioned times before that it is truly about developing a personal "arsenal" of mental, emotional, and physical recovery tools, as well as, a network of professionals, friends, family members, and alternative care providers to help recognize and reach these parts of ourselves. As we each find the mental, emotional, and physical tools that work for us, it becomes less about the evidence that you are worthy and more about connecting with what it feels like to be worthy of the mission.