Living With Complex PTSD: A Day In My Life

Living with complex PTSD means some days will be better than others. No matter how much I have overcome, there are days in which my PTSD levels will be quite high; today was one of those days.  Believer it or not I have come to accept and to embrace days like this; this may seem odd to some, after all why should I embrace the feelings of fear, despair, pain, confusion, among others?…because by accepting and embracing such feelings I do not get stuck in an old traumatic moment nor do I hold onto old patterns of beliefs and fears.  On the contrary, by allowing myself to feel the discomfort, anger, pain and all that comes with it, I allow myself to little by little release the emotions which eventually will lead to my getting rid of them or to transmute them; allowing myself to feel them, makes room for me to breathe again…to heal.

When one simply denies the body’s way of talking, one is simply putting off feelings which will come back intensified. Your body/your soul knows better than anyone how to heal itself. People go through life afraid of feeling pain, seeing pain as something which is to be feared, hated, avoided. Pain is not the problem, the problem is our misconception of what it is and what it does.

Pain is your body’s way of making you are aware that something inside needs your attention, needs your love. It helps you to look in and helps you resolve that which you don’t want to face.
Pain helps you vomit all the trauma, the misguided ideas or ways of looking at things. Until one is willing to vomit all the trauma out of one’s system, avoiding is simply giving it a place in your life, allowing room for trauma to grow and to cripple you.

Tantra explains beautifully how one should not deny the body but rather work with it; to become fluid with all its emotions so one may open all chakras and allow energy to flow freely, miraculously, creatively.

Pain is not the enemy yet to feel pain is not something anyone looks forward to; I certainly don’t; but I have come to see the gift which arises from embracing it.  At first it may bring you down to your knees; on my bad days, it can get to the point where I can feel very cold and can’t stop shaking, I easily cry and it becomes hard to identify why I feel the way I do. Talking helps, although the shock can be so much that words feel as if they escape me and I feel as if someone simply has taken my vocal chords away; still I stay with the feeling.

Today I held on and held on; feeling not fighting it.  I kept reminding myself that I needed to be gentle with me.  Reminding myself that treating myself gently has to be my priority; although hard at times, it is slowly but surely becoming my mantra.  I know at a cognitive level that in accepting who I am and all my history; by embracing my old hurts, my shadow; I allow myself to feel loved– a deep genuine love from me for me.  Only by feeling love can I offer it to anyone else.

The old demons remind me of how much the hurts imposed have stayed with me at a cellular level.  Whenever they return I know they are trying to show me something, to let out a bit of the trapped hurt. There are times I will “win” and walk myself through the process quite easily.  Other times it takes me a while to get back on my feet and feel alive again; at those times I forget these so called demons are but my inner child, parts of my cellular memory pushing forward asking/demanding to be healed, to be heard, to be loved.  When I do recognize the emotions for what they are and what they are trying to show me, is when I make peace with my demons and see that darkness is not something to be afraid of; instead, it should be embraced and loved.  Only in doing so can it be transmuted, only in doing so can I retrain my brain and allow new connections; healthier neurological connections.

The deeper the trauma, the harder it is to see clearly. There are times when I choose to just succumb and weep without knowing exactly what triggered me and why; at those times I have to trust that after the storm I will be able to understand why. 

Physical, mental abuse and traumatic events, aren’t something to simply be dismissed, neither can you allow them to become the reason or excuse to stop you from living.

I choose to look at  my past and walk through it.  I choose to recognize the strength in me that was required to survive some of those events.  I choose to also look at my own mistakes and see them as lessons, that way I prevent myself from creating  a pattern; instead it becomes wisdom.  I do not let others make me feel ashamed of who I am; I didn’t ask for the abuse.  Neither will I live my life with my head held down for being human, which means I made mistakes.  I am learning to little by little embrace all of me, and the more I do that, the healthier and happier I feel.  I remind myself that I would not be who I am today if my life had been different; I can’t change the past but I can change my present and by doing so impact my future.

Embracing the pain has made me stronger but also less rigid. I stand for what I believe; I don’t preach vindictiveness, I preach the ability to walk away from those who seek to put you down and to set boundaries.  I don’t pretend to be okay, for at times I am not; I can feel intense anger, pain, frustration which are all natural human emotions, specially if you live with PTSD–I am healing.

I may not always feel capable of dealing with those around me but when the wave is gone I always make sure to talk to those who surround me and to give them choice. I know how hard it may feel to watch someone you love go through a rollercoaster of emotions and how all that can impact the life of those closest to the person who is recovering.  The most important thing is to give choice.  Once the pain and anger are gone and you are thinking clearly,  love those close to you enough as to give them choice.  If they stay be thankful and use that as your fuel for next time; use their love as fuel, as a reminder that you are worth loving.  If they can’t stay don’t blame them, respect the fact that it may be too much for them and allow them to exit your life if that is what they need, otherwise without choice one can become a trigger for someone else and none of us have the right to impose nor cause wounds in others.

Please don’t feel ashamed of your scars, scars are a testament to your life. They have contributed to you becoming someone whose soul and mind can see deeper than the average person.  You can look at places within your subconscious where most people don’t like to look in.

Don’t choose to be a victim and don’t fake the healing process.  Survive if you have to right now (survivor) but aimed to live (warrior).  Choose to take control and make pain your ally.  Let it teach you and guide you towards your own betterment, instead of feeling punished by it (which is usually the result of running away from pain). 

This afternoon I feel very differently than I did this morning; that is because I allowed pain to flow with me.  I was gentle with me and I allowed my higher self to guide me.

In Tantra we say your soul is always speaking to you, your higher self talks directly to the Universe. This may seem wacky to anyone with less knowledge of Tantra or metaphysics, but the truth is even basic physics agrees that our human bodies emit electromagnetic frequencies. Einstein studied it intensively, I invite you to research it.
Our bodies, our minds are like a radio antenna, and if we allow ourselves to feel, it clears the channels for open communication with the universe; the universe is made up of perfect frequencies and we are its extensions.

I am no guru, I am on my own path of self discovery.  I am simply sharing my experiences, my learnings, my wisdom; for wisdom isn’t born from theory but experience.

As I started my day feeling all those familiar yet uncomfortable feelings, I allowed myself to flow. My partner and I talked; we talked about what I was feeling, why did I think I was feeling that way and how my life is taking me to places I would not have ever dreamed of. All our plans for the day changed as I felt a tremendous need to visit a metaphysical store–one reputable and with vast knowledgeable on the subject, the one I used to know is now gone, and I did not feel like heading to Vancouver to explore. I wanted to find something small, cozy; a place that reminded me of what having a family feels like, a place with people who knew and understood the subject. I pulled out my phone and searched, there was nothing really close by except for two places, one of which was closed. 

We got in the car and headed out for this new place,  after a couple of errands we got there and I was pleased; from the moment I got there I was pleased. The location was in an older part of town, with lots of antique stores, which I love.  The store was small and the people were lovely.  At first I was embarrassed to explain why I was there; I was looking for something specific.  I finally had the nerve to say it, after all the only way I can help myself is to be honest about who I am and what I live with. I felt welcomed, embraced and understood. After some breathing exercises, signing up for a workshop, talking about my symptoms and getting what I needed, we headed out to the cashier. One of the ladies asked my partner if there was a clone of him, which I found absolutely lovely. I did not find her disrespectful, she was pure, beautiful, clean; I was flattered actually because someone else saw why I have chosen him.

Life has not been easy for us; he wasn’t always like this an neither was I. People and their preconceived ideas of who we are at times have been difficult to deal with, but we try to let go of  their ignorance and instead focus on us.   We have learned that sometimes people like to pretend they have it all figured out and that their lives are quite pleasant yet they project their own hurts and insecurities on those who live openly, exposing their light and shadow.  To be good isn’t to be perfect; none of us should live a life pretending to be perfect…what a jail!  To be good isn’t to go helping everyone else yet not helping yourself first or those closest to you.  We cannot and should not go pretending to have it all figure out, pretending to be understanding of everyone else, meanwhile those close to us get neglected; more importantly, we ourselves get neglected. 

Being good comes in many ways, as diverse as the universe itself; being good however has nothing to do with how popular you are or with how much you help others in exchange for something back; whether monetary or recognition. Being good is about being you with everyone, without pretenses, without masks, without thinking you are better than everyone else. You are you and you are awesome; to what extent will depend not on how much you have or how many people you can impress but rather how much can you be the real you in a world that seeks, promotes, accepts and delivers fake.

Being good is not about not having a past, is about learning from it. It is about being you when everyone else wants you to be something else in order not to rock their comfort level. The person who never made mistakes has that much less experience to share with the world; after all mistakes really are learning experiences, they are only mistakes if one does not learn from them.

Had I not listened to my soul, had I stayed at home and coward at the negative emotions which almost paralyzed me, we would have missed that experience which was beautiful and healing for both of us. I am not suggesting to force yourself to step out of your home if you are  not ready; I am hoping you learn to differentiate when your mind and body need you to rest and when you are secluding yourself out of fear.

I don’t have all the answers; I doubt anyone does; but I can tell you this, when those feelings come up, let them. I know it will hurt, I know it will feel like all you want to do is push them away, try not to–stick with them gently.

Be gentle with yourself, love yourself even if you feel your mind fights you back–do something you love, be it having a warm bath, meditate, dance, go out to enjoy a quiet meal at a peaceful place or whatever it is that makes your soul dance, do it! You are worth it!.

Now I leave you with a beautiful quote about beauty, goodness and perfection….

““For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love there is anger; for the wing of destiny there is fear; for the wing of pain there is healing; for the wing of hurt there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride there is humility; for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance. Two beautiful wings is perfection. There is a generation of people who idealize perfection as the existence of only one of these wings every time. But I see that a bird with one wing is imperfect. An angel with one wing is imperfect. A butterfly with one wing is dead. So this generation of people strive to always cut off the other wing in the hopes of embodying their ideal of perfection, and in doing so, have created a crippled race.”

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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