There is no doubt the program I am has been making a significant impact on my life. I cannot express how much being in the ptsd program is giving me my life back and I am blessed to have the opportunity to attend because not everyone gets the chance. I really felt like last weeks group was eye opening so I wanted to share a bit of it with all of you.
Last week our group discussed feelings and strong emotions/ For those with ptsd our strong emotions are generally negative (anger, hurt, sadness etc) which anger is usually a secondary emotion, it happens only after you feel hurt/sadness etc. Defining emotions is not easy and labeling them can be just as hard. But a lot of times, we label our emotions rather then feel them.
Our counselor told us to replace the word "I am" with 'I feel". Sounds cheesy and not very validating but here is the thing. This week I found myself saying that I am broken I am weak, I was just having some really down days and felt broken, but I stopped myself. I stopped myself and said, no, our counselor said to replace I am with I feel. I feel broken, I feel weak and you know what, it does make a difference. If you sit down and listen to yourself say those words and feel broke and feel weak you understand why you feel that way. It opens you up to be able to acknowledge the emotions that come with feeling that way. For me, I felt hurt and sad which made me feel broken and weak. When i acknowledged those emotions, for what they are and not me as a person, it made a difference. Sure it was only a slight difference but it was a difference. It didn't attack me as a person, it only attacked my emotions for what they are, for what they are suppose to do.
A lot of people label their emotions as definitions of themselves. How many times has someone told you that you are grumpy or you are negative, how many times have you told yourself you are a negative person? The thing is, you aren't negative, but you feel negative, there is a difference. Just like when I felt I was broken, I'm not broken, I am one whole complete person but I do feel broken. Its not all me though, there are other parts to me and yes sometimes I may act in negative ways but its because I feel sad and hurt and hopeless, it doesn't mean, I by definition, am negative.
Its good ole society that has led us to believe we are a way instead of just that we are feeling a way. We are told to pursue happiness, to always be happy but that's not possible. You will feel sad and hurt and anger, you cant have happiness without sadness. You just can't its not possible. Nor can you always be one emotion or another, peoples emotions can fluctuate within an hour from sad to happy to hurt to joyful to hopeful and back to sadness. Its life, its our emotional circuit board and we all have one. Its okay to feel hurt and sadness, its okay to feel broken because when you step back and see what it is in your life that has caused you to feel that way, you are most certainly validated in those feelings.
Ty and Jacob died, my two sons, my very wanted and loved sons died. Before I got to know them I had to bury them along with my hopes and dreams and my thoughts on life. When I have days where I feel sad, when I have days where I feel hurt, I know why and I'm allowed to have those days. It doesn't mean I am generally a sad person, it just means I have a lot in my life I have the right to feel sad about.
This, all of this I am learning in what I believe is a life saving program. One that is severely underfunded by our government, but that's a different story. But as my one year mark approaches, of when I "broke" down, I cant help but reflect and share some of the ah ha moments I am learning. I wish I could record and post all these sessions for everyone because they are truly life changing. One small step at a time and though it may take 2 1/2 years to complete, one year in I am happy and blessed to be able to attend because I see the difference and I like it.
Ty and Jacob have taught me so much about life and death and tying together things I am learning from this program, I like the way I am starting to feel and htough I still have times where I feel scared of the unknown and though I still have panic attacks, I am starting to learn how to control them and hopefully, prevent them.
So today I encourage all of you to stop defining yourself by your emotions, just because you are sad does not make you a sad person. You also can't be sad without having been happy, hold on to that.