If you are someone who has PTSD, you know that the word "changed" is often used as a derogatory term. I have yet to meet someone suffering with PTSD, who has not faced that part of it. It is frustrating for the people that know you to truly comprehend what is taking place for you. The frustration of wanting things to remain the same as they were prior to your trauma, is a battle they wage with themselves, not you. We are all responsible for how we feel, but sometimes we get confused by that on both sides of PTSD.
In my eyes, how can you not be "changed" when you've experienced something that has rocked you at your core? It is impossible to think that someone cannot be changed by their experiences. Let's take a closer look at this.
- To put this in perspective, when a baby is born into your life....Are you not changed by this experience?
- When you get married, are you not also changed by this experience?
- When you face a serious illness, are you changed by it? Motivated by it? Empowered by it?
- When you see your children graduate, is your life changed by it?
- When you see your grandchildren for the first time, does this change you on the inside?
If the answer is yes to all of these questions, which I suspect it is, then why is it that we cannot or should not be also changed by the presence of trauma? I recommend pondering that for a bit, because it is easy to say, "Well, that's different."
Is it different? I'm not sure it is different.
Challenges are not present in our lives to break us down. They are there to help us dig deep into the core of who we are and figure out where it is we are be requested to grow.
Are we in need of growth in the area of compassion for ourselves?
Are we in need of growth in the area of compassion for humanity?
Are we in need of growth in the area of self-reliance and faith in ourselves?
Are we in need of exercising forgiveness?
I have come to embrace the hundreds of questions that arise from my experiences with PTSD and I encourage the same of others. It's best not to be afraid of the answers you have or don't have. Just be brave enough to ask the question and the answer will arise when it is supposed to.