Acknowledging Growth And Resilience
by Diana Hazel
PTSD- Post Traumatic Growth
Starting my journey my biggest obstacle was myself; refusing to acknowledge my diagnosis in complete denial. I saw the condition as making me less than I had always strived to be, a Soldier. To me a Soldier is many things; Resilient, unshakable, and ready for all missions in and outside of the service. My first task through this process was to acknowledge my diagnosis and the ways I had changed. Once I changed my opinion of those changes from being negative and something I wanted to completely change back; to realizing many of these changes are somewhat positive if I worked on them.
I began to View my Diagnosis as Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Meaning yes I have changed some of these changes are not changes I like such as isolating myself and my family from others, total distrust of everyone as a whole (very few exceptions with this), the extreme discomfort and anxiety that I have whenever I go ANYWHERE, and the major sleep and mood issues that have negatively impacted my relationships with everyone I care about.
With that said I realized the positive changes for what they are as well. Just prior to the situations, since there were a few Simultaneously that caused my diagnosis, I was extremely social, overly trusting, spontaneous, outgoing, unstructured with exception to the military and my house needing to be clean at all times. I began to see these major changes in my old personality as actually very positive changes. Which allowed me to focus on changing a few smaller things regarding my current state instead of trying to completely go back to who I was before I had PTSD.
Instead of seeing my new found NEED for balance as a bad thing. I view it as helpful and began to enjoy the structure of it. I say need because if I do not maintain my balance I go into a PTSD Spiral that once it has begun is extremely difficult and a long recovery process to get back from. Instead of mourning the loss of my outgoing and social self; I found comfort in my new ability to be happy alone and not need to be constantly doing things and around others in order to be happy and fulfilled. Lastly, realizing that being overly trusting is not honestly a good trait and is a more than reasonable reaction to seeing the worst in others by way of MST by another “trusted” service member.
Once I realized all of this my goal became to be able to at least go to places like my children’s school, meetings, doctors appointments, and stores without the incredibly debilitating anxiety. So I slowly started immersion therapy; forcing myself to go to all these places at least one, once a week. After I mastered that increasing to twice a week, until I was comfortable with three times a week allowing myself a day of calm between each of these outings. Doing volunteer work from my home so that I maintain my sense for belonging to a community and helping others, without losing my own need and sense of balance allowing me to still meet my family’s and my own needs.
Changing my opinion of my journey helped me to get half way to a happier more productive life.
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