The Silver Lining of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
by Josee St-Onge
There were many things in my life that were not planned nor desired. Developing PTSD certainly was not one of them. Nor was the assault that lead to it.
For me, it was like waking up in a foreign country.
An outsider, within my own life.
Even the simplest of tasks required a revision of each step in order to be able to accomplish it. At times, I did not feel much. At other times, I felt too much. Caught between two elusive worlds, I clung to anything that would help me to stay present.
The laughter of my children was the first thing to seep in.
Sleep was my enemy. But being awake was not my ally.
Every cell in my body felt like it was irritated and angry. Utilizing every ounce of my energy. There were no reserves to access. No clear healing path to follow.
And then a thought occurred to me.
I had survived the worst. It was time to just be.
Be who I need to be at the moment in order to move forward. Letting go is far less painful but rather a scary thing to do. Allowing myself to feel, transformed me into something unexpected. Showing me that there is no shame in taking a step back in order to reconnect with our innate self.
Over time, we seem to lose this connection and define ourselves through our career, family status, age or religion. But these are not who we are as spiritual beings. But merely the costumes we wear as we progress through the various stages of life.
I assure you that as a nurse, care giver and mother of three. I had lost that connection long ago. Sacrificing, giving, guiding, teaching and loving. All wonderful, in their own ways. But all draining of fuel that if not re-filled, may lead us to feel empty and resentful.
The world will take as much as you are willing to give. Giving is needed. However, giving without accepting is maladaptive, counterproductive and draining. I found myself, completely depleted. I needed to be refueled.
ENTER SOAP MAKING
Through old-fashioned hand crafted soap making, each of my senses began to awaken one at a time.
Creativity started to bubble up from deep within my soul.
I let it.
Slowly, inspiration took over.
It was like welcoming home an old friend. One that had been lost, yet returned like not a day had gone by without. Creativity was the friend that showed up and carried me when I could no longer carry myself.
On the days when I am feeling overwhelmed, I take out my supplies. First choosing my scents, then my oils. My tolerance for being in the here and now, grew from there.
It seems odd to say that soap saved me.
But it truly has.
Along with the help of a qualified therapists and the support of family and friends! It would have been way too easy to numb my pain with drugs or alcohol.
I can understand why one would want to.
Trusting that we somehow have the internal resources to deal with the unimaginable is perhaps the most difficult part of the healing process.
Creativity Is Your Friend
Creativity is an old friend. This old friend and I, have a long healing journey ahead.
But once past it, I will surely keep it around.
I could never undo the amount of internal growth that it has helped me to achieve.
I do not see myself as broken. But rather, broken open.
It is this unfortunate event that jolted me out of my robotic way of living.
I was so focused on what needed to be accomplished in my day, that I was no longer just being.
On those challenging days, finding even the smallest of joys may help ground us.
It can be as simple as enjoying our favorite tea.
Or applying a scented hand cream.
A few minutes of taking in the life around us can make the world of difference.
I am excited about today.
I am excited about the future.
But most of all, I am excited about the deepened person I have become.
There is not one thing or a person that can define us.
We are the only ones with the power to do so.
We must remember to just be!
Soon, I will be revealing the final product of my inspirations. Feel free to reach out and share what is keeping you grounded. Let’s continue to inspire and uplift one another!