We all have something that has happened to darken our world, even those who are just regular folks and have never experienced any form of abuse or violence, still have something that has invaded their life with a cloud of bad memories. It’s really hard to focus on our present life when we have all of these dark thoughts around us; even sharing online with others and staying in the advocacy mission can keep these memories bouncing around and often they will overpower what is good.
It is painful to acknowledge what happened. To accept the pain and anger, the grieving and sadness is important to fully heal and process what has been buried for so long, but at the same time we have to remain conscious of our present day life in order to find the strength to get through this. I really find it is hardest during the beginning process of this because you have to accept the truth and come out of your dissociation and denial mode of living. There is a lot I’ve learned about living in my present life rather than being sucked into the horrible times of my past. There are many times during the days of being home alone with just my thoughts, when I find myself facing these memories. It’s during all these quiet moments of being alone that I have to work hardest at a practice I’ve been doing for about 12 years, DISTRACTING MY BRAIN FROM THE BAD!!!
The truth is WE CANNOT TAKE AWAY WHAT’S HAPPENED and sometimes it is very difficult to accept; even more so when family and loved ones shut us out, blame us, abandon us and turn away from the pain we carry. We feel as if we are in a cyclone of whirling emotions and don’t know how to stay grounded. It is indeed a tragedy of what’s been taken from you, what’s been lost in your world and the good others invaded. However, the hard part is realizing the world keeps spinning and you must find a way to go on with your life.
Finding ways to GO ON with life, doesn’t mean living in denial nor does it mean you are ignoring what’s happened; it means YOU ARE NOW IN CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENS!!! Yes, you have choices and you are in control of how this effects your life.
1) You can whine and wallow in the horrible trauma you’ve suffered and stay in the rut of darkness. However if you choose this place you must realize the world will not stop spinning and others will go on with their life; no one will stay in the dark world and you will find yourself sinking deeper each day.
2) You also may think you have the option to take yourself out of the picture because it is too hard to deal with, but let me assure you; THIS IS NOT AN OPTION!!! If you respond to your pain and allow it to control your world, then you may think the only way to beat this is by harming yourself in some way. YOU MUST NOT ACT ON THESE THOUGHTS!!! Suicide or committing an act of harm in any way is NEVER AN OPTION!!! You leave behind pain for those who love you; your children, their future, your spouse or partner; these are the people who want to be part of your life and want to make fresh happy memories with you, which will ease the pain of your past when you allow them to blossom!!!
Do not allow the abusers of your past to have control over your future. Build something better for yourself. Chase the life you were meant to have and replace those bad thoughts with positive, happy, loving memories of your children or what you want to have in your life. No matter how difficult it may get, and it is very difficult at the different stages of acceptance and healing, but never allow yourself to be over powered by these dark memories. Never give in to the thoughts of being overwhelmed, reach out to connect with anyone when these thoughts begin to take control. You may not believe there are people who depend on you to make them complete and happy, but every soul in this world has at least one person who needs them and loves them unconditionally.
There is a lot we fear; a lot we are angry about; a lot of things can set off a feeling of panic, this is now just a part of who we are. No one can erase or change what has happened. Believe me I wish there was a way to make it all just disappear, but there isn’t. None of us can turn back the clock and what would you do if you could? You would still be that same person faced with the same fear, so why be stuck in that time?
It’s important for anyone who struggles with depression, PTSD, flashbacks, or bad dreams and memories to seek out what is good in their life now. A few important things to focus on, which may help you fight through:
1) Are you in a safe environment? Remembering that you are now safe and no longer have to fear another attack is vital. Although you may be dealing with painful memories or flashbacks of what happened, you can always direct your focus and control your thoughts to feel the area of safety around you now.
2) Who are those you can turn to when things feel overwhelming? Creating this list, complete with phone numbers, will give you a quick go to list of someone who can brighten your moment during your time of need. When you build this list take extra time to think of your partner/spouse; determine if you can talk to them about your darkest thoughts. You want to talk and help them understand why you bounce back and forth between happy and depressed times. It makes it easier for them to stick it out and support you or help you through.
3) What are the positives in your life now? You want to think about your life and where you are now. Not only are you safe and loved, but what about your ability to keep food, clothing, shelter, for you and your family. Our world is in economic crisis right now, so if you can manage those three vital parts of surviving you are doing much better than some others in our country. Many are without housing, hungry, out on the streets or living in their cars. Many do not have jobs of any form to keep a steady flow of income to ensure the necessities are being maintained. This is a HUGE POSITIVE for you and should be your main focus, especially if you have children. Also list any other positives about your life right now, such as; your professional success or the fact you have risen above any other person’s expectations. This meaning, you may have been beaten down to believe you had no value, but if you are in a career or professional status of maintaining your survival; then you have risen above what others may have tried to take away from you.
I realize this time of year is difficult for many of you, but if you are not focused on what is good around you now, then your bad thoughts will win control and the depression will become heavy. You must work at being a thriver in society, but that’s OK because everyone has to work at being a thriver. You are no different than anyone else in our society. Sure you have had bad things happen, or have family who continues to be offensive or battering to you, but if you really take control of your thoughts and where you are right now, then you become stronger with each passing moment and you will build your foundation for the life you want to achieve.
My wish for all of you at this time is that you see how truly strong you are. I wish for you to look in the mirror and see an amazing person standing there. A person who has climbed out of the darkest hole to see the brightness shining around them. A person who is stronger than anyone ever believed possible. A person who has overcome the challenges against them and have pulled themselves from the ashes of destruction and built a magnificent blossoming rose in its place. May you find a breath of strength to seek your own life and see your value, absorb the positive around you, and build fresh happy memories to replace the darkness of your past.
May you break out of your cocoon and spread those beautiful wings to fly upward to your new beginning!!!
Patricia A. McKnight
Author: ‘My Justice’
Founder/President: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
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