I’ve written this post in November 2015 on one of my old blogs. It shows a shift in my healing journey and I think it is important to share it again.
Thank you ladies and gents out there for your support and understanding. Being able to write about my experience and challenges helps me to process both my past but also what I am going through now. And without you my readers, my family and friends who are close at my side I would be thoroughly lost.
No matter what life throws at me I always try to find a lesson to learn. Somehow changing this drama ensuing me into something positive.
This latest trouble I got myself into lead me to an article by Rachel Griffin a musician from the US where she explains why she is not ashamed of her mental health condition anymore.
That made me think. That made me think a lot and realise that I am terribly ashamed about my condition even though I always tried to be open about it. I do not want to fall prey to another taboo. I had enough shameful secrets to deal with in my life.
Shame is one big problem for adult survivors of sexual abuse because we have been made to believe that it is all our fault because we are bad or that something bad will happen to our loved ones if we speak about it.
This gives us the deep subconscious believe that everything that happens to us and around us is our fault and we have to put it right. That is an awfully big task to accomplish. In fact, it is impossible and mostly plainly wrong.
Until you are made aware of this issue though you just play along with it and it causes an awful lot of extra problems that you really do not need.
Reading Rachel’s article I realised that I cannot expect the people around me to take my condition serious if I don’t take it serious and try to be someone I am not. I am a writer, blogger, poet who went through a lot in her life and my brain reacts in certain normal ways to abnormal situations I had to go through. That often makes me react in strange ways but if you take the time to inform yourself about survivors of abuse then you would realise that these reactions are not so strange at all.
The points she made, that spoke the most to me were:
It’s not her fault that her brain works how it works. She did not ask for a mental health condition and it has nothing to do with not trying hard enough or not having enough willpower. In fact asking for help for mental health problems and sticking with the routine needs an awful lot of willpower.
That is exactly my experience. I constantly have to watch myself to figure out if I got triggered by something and if I need to use any tools learned in therapy to keep myself grounded and in this reality and not in my past. People at work seem to think that I am fine forever when I can cope but that is not the case. Just because I have my condition under control does not mean I can work full power all the time. In fact, to cope I need a lot more energy which explains my constant exhaustion. And when things go wrong it needs all the will I have to go back and make it right again.
Rachel said that she has come to love her brain as her condition has given her the ability of empathy. She is understanding and with this she has helped many others. And she is not alone: many great artists, politicians and other persons of public life have and had to deal with mental health problems and still they did awesome things.
A few blog posts ago Helen commented how one of my posts encouraged her to keep going and that my advice to do at least one thing enjoyable no matter how hard helped her to get through a rough patch in her life. I am proud of that and that would not have happened if I weren’t the person who I am: someone with PTSD.
Rachel reminded me of Stephen Fry British comedian and actor who suffers from depression. Still. he writes books, makes great films and documentaries. He has been a role model to me for quite a while and yes: I am in famous company.
She also wrote how far she has come. That reminded me about my achievements: besides writing a lot, I have managed to emigrate, build a new life in this great country and still being able to have meaningful relationships despite flashbacks and an emotional rollercoaster that sometimes seem to drown me. And no matter how much life has destroyed my ability to trust my fellow humans I am still able to accept help.
Rachel said in the end that recovery is like making a collage constantly looking for new things and adding them. Healing is not a “do this and that will happen” action. It is a process that constantly changes.
You constantly look for what helps, add it to your collage and take away what has lost its purpose. It is an adventure and I am glad life has lead me there.
Thank you, Rachel, for your enlightening article in The Huffington Post and helping me to get a step further on my adventurous journey.
And you out there? How do you deal with the challenges in your life? How do you deal with your mental health condition if you have one and how do you heal if you are a survivor?