Yes, this is me.
This is me sitting outside of my psychologist office waiting for my appointment.
This is me riddled with anxiety as I know that this session is going to be difficult.
This is me wanting to leave to avoid what I know is coming up.
This is me knowing that as much as I want to have an easy session I know that is not in the cards.
This is me getting ready to rip yet another PTSD scar open so that it can heal.
This is me dealing with a bout of Depression.
This is me being grateful for what MY PTSD has made me learn about myself.
This is me, living with PTSD.
It has been a bit of time since I last wrote a blog post and to be honest, it was before this little thing called COVID happened that I posted last. With all that stay at home, self isolation / quarantine time I went through the past months I should have been posting up a storm but I wasn’t. Hopefully, this post will explain why.
As you can tell from the intro, even after two plus years of therapy, I am still hammering away. PTSD therapy is not a walk in the park in any way shape or form. It is not something that you get into and after a few sessions you start coming out of it. There is no magic pill and no instructional manual to get you through either. It takes time and hard work. That’s it. As of late, the work has gotten a little harder but it is welcomed as I see where it is leading and I have seen the benefits of all the hard work I have already put in. And, as hard as it is to understand, I am grateful for all that has happened and what I have learned during my PTSD journey.
It has been over the past few months in which the world slowed down that I really began to notice what has been happening with me and to me over the last few years and more specifically, months. In many ways, I knew that things were changing but I really didn’t grasp the depth of those changes, until more recently and it also explains why I haven’t been able to put my thoughts down on the blog. PTSD is not the sole cause of these changes but it sure as hell has been the catalyst that brought about the start of these changes. In fact, I would say that these changes are also in part brough on by COVID and the life changes that resulted as well as my return to university to get my Master of Social Work degree.
The result has been that this unnatural trinity (PTSD, COVID and University) sparked a fire that I had long ago extinguished or thought that I had. Maybe it is better to say that this trinity began to stoke the embers that were sitting, waiting for the right time to erupt back into a roaring fire. Regardless, things are burning again and there has been a reconciling of sorts that has encompassed all aspects of my life including my policing career, my PTSD, education, family and my past. It has actually been something that I was not expecting in any way shape or form but now that I am an active participant in the process, I am enthralled by what I am learning. I suppose you can say that I have slid fully into what many professionals refer to as Post Traumatic Growth.
One seemingly innocuous incident occurred that brought this to the forefront and has been the impetus for this little detour. One night, I was watching a documentary about a Canadian program that attempted to educate people about the issues faced by indigenous people. The program was so hard hitting that as they were showing a Northern First Nation, I was thrusted into a full blown flashback of my time spent policing on First Nations in Northern and Central Manitoba. And, for clarity, when I say flashbacks, I mean an aggressive and in your face rolling slide show of images. It really is fun (insert sarcastic chuckle here…..).
So what does all this have to do with me? Well, I have been FORCED and THRUSTED into a self-examination of who I am, including taking stock in what I believe to be true, what is important to me and what my worldview is. I have dived deep to what I considered was the foundation of all that I am, only to find a void of sorts. What I found was that the foundation that I previous thought was secure was in actuality, put together by a mosaic piecemeal of disjointed values and belief skewed by my PTSD. In fact, the more I began to dig, the more I began to learn about who I truly am and what I truly believe about myself and the world around me.
So, this post is more of an awareness for others, as well as a reminder for myself. PTSD has caused changes in the way I view, think and do things in my life. COVID and a return to academia has propelled those changes to the forefront. So, in other words, I’m not the person I was before PTSD. I have changed on many levels, so it is now up to others to learn, understand and accept that This is Me.