It has been a super long time since I last blogged and I want to sincerely apologize. I had gone through a lot of different things and every time I felt like blogging I just couldn’t find the time or the strength to do so. I also had a really bad case of writer’s block. I wasn’t really quite sure on what to blog about.
So with this blog I thought I would start discussing the transformation I realized I had gone through. Hence the title, From Surviving to Maintaining. I had come to this place in my life where I was looking at different aspects and seeing where I was. I had dealt with different episodes of anxiety and PTSD over these last few years. Some of the things that triggered me I could pinpoint instantly. At other times, I had no idea what caused it. I went through a time that it seemed like I was getting worse instead of continuing my growth and getting better. It affected my entire life. Family, friends, work and my current relationship with my significant other.
I must say, if it had not been for him, I am not sure if I would be at this point in my life that I am in right now. Aside from him being just a great support, I believe him being a therapist has also helped him in being able to be by my side through some of my worst anxiety attacks and PTSD episodes. See, the thing that is different is that he makes me feel comfortable. He has shown and proven that even when I am at what I feel is my absolute worst that he will always be there. Even when I have tried to push him away, he has stood by my side.
It seemed like I was going through another level of stages as a survivor. After I left my abusive ex, I never really had another real relationship until this one. I never let my walls down, I never let anybody in the way I let him in. That in itself is huge for a survivor. Letting him in most of the time felt really good. However, we went through a lot. When we would have disagreements I automatically went into this like Fight or Flight mode where I felt I had to defend my every single word and/or action. It was not really his fault. It was how I had been wired. Due to always having to defend my every little word and action from my ex, I had hard-wired myself into thinking both consciously and subconsciously that I would always have to defend my every little move. It is the Fight or Flight switch that everyone has, the only difference for survivors is that it is as if it is stuck in the on position 24/7 (I will have a blog about Fight or Flight coming up).
Through the new and different challenges I faced, I have realized that I am now transitioning. For so many years (more than ten), I had been in the survival stages. I was learning how to live day to day. I was learning the new me. Learning this new identity, struggling with my insecurities and self doubts. I was learning how to cope with flashbacks, anxiety and PTSD when I didn’t understand what any of it really was or what it all meant. I went through the denial stage. The stage where there was shame, embarrassment and denial. I went through the admitting stage. Sharing what I had gone through and embracing it. I went through the stage where I beat myself up about my PTSD. Getting angry with myself because I felt like when I had let my PTSD get me it was another win for him. Every time I had a trigger I would get mad at myself. Every flashback I had I took the blame. I had resentment and anger towards my ex because I felt like I had to deal with all of this for the rest of my life and he just gets to move on “normally”.
I can now say that I am in a new stage in my life. I call it the maintaining stage. I am maintaining each and every day. I realize that PTSD is something that will always be with me. I realize that anxiety is something I will also always have but I can control it. I am in control. I have learned and continue to learn that it is not my fault. Different situations and circumstances can trigger me differently. Getting angry about it doesn’t help make it better, it actually makes it even worse which leads to longer and more frequent episodes.
I also would like to say that it isn’t about the amount of time it takes each of us to get through the different stages. It is just about getting through them and how we get through them. We cannot change what happened to us and we shouldn’t! It has made us all who we are today. Whether we are in a good place or a bad place right now. We are not where we once were.
Whatever stage you may be in, whether you are still healing and in your surviving stage or if you are in your maintaining stage, I encourage you to keep pushing forward. There is so much more life ahead of you. Life isn’t measured by age, I like to say that life is measured by memories. Whether good or bad. All of it is a lesson to be used as a stepping stone to get to your better and best days. So keep pushing and step onto your next stone.