I had a realization and its been kind at the forefront of my mind lately. There is a lot of talk about letting go and moving on. As I sit here I realize that with complex PTSD I may never get to that “end point” in healing. That is not very realistic. This isn’t a stubbed toe and one day I will wake up all better and symptom free. I don’t heal as much as I learn. I mean that many people, including myself, think of healing as though one day there won’t be a need for more healing. There may not be an endpoint to healing. With complex PTSD, it is a livelong journey. Healing from abuse, especially developmental abuse is not going to happen quickly. In fact, attempting the rush the healing process has not served me well. It just pushed back my progress. I can see that now because I have much more self awareness about myself.
So, I don’t heal as much as I learn to live with and sit with the pain, memories, and other symptoms. I learn to carry this burden but also sit beside it as I sit beside myself and offer myself that compassion I needed for so long. That was a missing piece in my life. I was not practicing self compassion. I was hard on myself. My expectations that I was going to snap out of it, demanding a perfect healing, and berating myself for not healing correctly was not helping me. I don’t need tough love especially for myself. I’ve been belittled, minimized, mocked, hurt, ect and all those things did not make me want to do better. They just pissed me off or made me feel sad and worthless. Love is what I need.
I also had the realization that the burden of the abuse does not prevent me from being loved, having relationships, romance, or anything else in this world. The abuse doesn’t prevent me from being a loving, caring, compassionate human being. My lack of loving myself was leaving me open to more abuse because I desperately searched and yearned for love that I needed to be giving to myself. I am a highly ambitious person. I strive to always do better and be better but I didn’t allow myself to make mistakes without horrible self abuse as the consequence. I have come this far by beating myself up for every error and perceived slight, always blaming myself. Imagine what I can accomplish with love and positive reinforcement. That’s how humans work. We get more with honey than with vinegar. I am still learning this and relearning this day by day.
It is ok to heal the way I am healing. It is ok that it is a slow process. It takes as long as it takes. It will take the duration of my life and that is OK. Life is a journey and even though I carry this heavy burden, I am strong. I can carry it as far as I need too because I am not going anywhere. Thoughts are just thoughts so if the suicide thoughts come back, I know what they are. It is a sign that I need to be taking better care of myself, maybe not push so damn hard. The destructive thoughts have a purpose too and I will do better to explore what my needs are when they come up rather than being upset with myself that they have returned. They will return. My needs, priorities, and well being are important and I can bet a million dollars that I don’t have that when the destructive thoughts return it is because my needs are not being met.
I will have good days, bad days, and every other kind of day in between. Hopefully, more and more good days with a few fan-fucking-tastic days would be sprinkled in. A few, I’m not greedy. Ok, hell, who am I kidding, I am greedy and I want as many good days as possible! Healing is a life long journey and I will stay the course to a better life day after day. One foot in front of the other even if it is a minute to minute count of I AM STILL HERE MOTHERFUCKER all through the painful days. Healing is not the absence of symptoms but the self compassion and radical self acceptance to get me through it all. Through learning to accept myself I find love for myself. By giving myself the compassion and love that I craved from others, I am finding peace.