Updated: Apr 15, 2020
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NOT THE MATH YOU WERE LOOKING FOR.
It was the end of 2013 when I finally decided I was going to acknowledge the PTSD I had developed three and a half years earlier, after Haiti's earthquake in January of 2010.
It took me three and a half years of private suffering to admit that "maybe" something was wrong with me. When I finally did, I naively believed that, as improvements were made, my life would eventually become easier. Sounds reasonable, right?
When I agreed to seek help, that's really what I was signing up for; I wanted my life to be easier.
6 Years Later...
As strange as it is to say it, the most surprising aspect of healing has been that, instead of making my life easier, wellness has actually exposed me to a level of complexity that I would never have anticipated (and was not initially prepared for).
In the beginning, I was suffering because of my trauma, but since I didn’t understand that I had trauma—because I didn't actually understand what trauma even was—I related to my pain in very simple terms. It was like a cumbersome, dense, heavy, glob of viscous goo that I constantly had to carry around, as if the objective was to keep it off the ground at all costs.
I had to sleep with it, shower with it, eat with it, and interact with people while struggling with it. Yes, it was bad, but it was simple. My body had adapted to carry that load, like a writer's-bump carries a pencil on the end of its finger.
Nowadays, my feelings are no longer these big, fat, generic lumps of disconnected, physical/emotional goop. They are precise, focused, plentiful, complex, occasionally elusive, and (sometimes) cumbersome. This has forced me to step up my game significantly when it comes to my relationship with my mind/body and that, in no uncertain terms, has been a new kind of difficulty that requires my regular attention.
In that sense, my life has technically gotten a bit more difficult since healing. I've gone from a simple mess to a complex masterpiece.
So, yes, it's harder...but it's also better.
As you, my friends and readers, commit to your own important healing work, I think it's very important for each of us to be honest with one another about what we are experiencing on our journeys. The good, the bad, and the ugly... each of us deserves to live a life of direct contact with what is real and what is true.
Trauma leaves us stuck in a reality that is no longer helpful, but to tease relief without an honest look at the work that it takes to have and maintain wellness is just cruel. At least, I think so.
Of course, my experience may be nothing like yours, so forget what I think! How do these ideas resonate with you? What is your experience of things? Here are some questions to get you started...