Thursday, March 10, 2016

Awakening From PTSD

I have lived an incredibly full life. High school was filled with many friends and great memories. From there I traveled the country as a professional nanny. I attended some college in the middle of that, and lived a fun single adult life. In addition, I lived in Hawaii for a few years before I was married and my life was abundantly full of friends and amazing memories you can only make in the paradise of The Islands. Finally, my most cherished time of my life was the 18 months I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I served in Northern Illinois, primarily on the Great Lakes Navy Base (Boot camp and Training Center.)

For years I carried on with friendships and continued to make memories with them. I eventually met the Love of my life and had my first child. And then my life as I knew it was forever changed. Never to be the same again. In 2006 I was faced with the loss of our twin daughters. The experience traumatized me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And no surprise to us, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder soon after the ordeal.
A few very interesting things happened during my battle with PTSD. One of the first things we noticed was my sudden lack of desire to deal with the telephone. One month before I went in to the hospital with my girls I had just sold a Nanny Agency that my husband and I had built from the ground up. It had gone national and I had spent my days for the last two years constantly on the telephone with perfect strangers. Now I could barely muster the ability to call my family. Another strange thing that happened was that I couldn't sing anymore. I had spent my earlier years in choirs. Now my songs were only in the heart. Albeit it a broken one.
Finally, the most profound, yet not fully noticed change was a lack of memory. The memory of my past life. My friends and our relationships. Our memories and our journeys together. I am very sad to admit, it was as if I was a completely new person. My mind didn't even acknowledge the life before. And gradually time moved on and the connections were dissolved before I could even recognize what had happened. I was in a complete state of rebuilding and survival.
Forward nine years later and I'm noticing something interesting. I'm suddenly remembering names of friends that had become more of a fleeting face in my dreams. My mind is filled with memories long forgotten. Clear and bright. My soul is longing to find some of the pieces of myself that have not yet been put back together. Not to say I want to go back. But I am now able to share them with my children. I am also able to sing again. My heart has unlocked it's voice and I find myself singing out more and more. Now, the telephone? Well, technology enabled me on that front by creating text messaging. Although, if you make the effort to reach out to me there's a greater chance of me calling you back these days.
What is my point in sharing these observations with you? Perhaps I am hoping to share a sense of hope with someone who may need a light at the end of the tunnel. To know that your voice will come back. That your heart can mend as well as your mind. After a serious trauma, we are never the same person. Our story has changed forever. But there can be healing. There is mending that comes along the way. That is my message to those who need it, to Hold On just a little longer. To take it one day, one week, one month, and one year at a time. But one day you will wake up and find that you are more whole then you ever were before.

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