This is my favorite quote from Game of Thrones for many personal reasons. In the book Dany uses it as a reminder to keep moving forward: If I look back I am lost...if I look back I am lost...
Chances are if you've been through a hard time in life you can relate to it as well. You'll know the feeling of having to move forward so your momentum stays pointed. I never would have been able to get through that...you're so strong. When people say that I know that it's only because they can't imagine it. You find the strength when you're put in a position where you need it, though.
We can all do it.
Many of you know I was in therapy for PTSD. I've improved a lot with words of wisdom, time, healing, personal growth, and sharing pieces of me here.
What I have taken with me may sound simple - easy even - but it's difficult in the execution.
- Try really hard not to compare your situations (this one is still really hard for me particularly when it comes to home disasters). The worst thing for one person is different for another. I am well aware that our fire was NOT the worst case scenario but for me it feels like it. That's how other people might feel when their basement floods or their roof collapses but everything is fixable...or most things...or even some things.
- While we have different experiences they evoke the same emotions. The five stages of grief/loss: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. It's my guess that most people have gone through these stages before. They can blur into each other and vary with intensity but even if our traumas are completely different we can all relate to the emotions.
- My therapist has specialized in PTSD for over 30 years but with war survivors/soldiers. In the beginning I said to her bitterly, well then how are you going to be able to help ME? She patiently explained what I have now come to understand...and help, she did. I'm glad to say I've moved into the final stage of grief: acceptance. I have accepted that I lost everything and had a preemie because of it. I still get flares of the other stages but less frequency and to a lesser degree. I skipped isolation and anger in the beginning so I found myself revisiting those stages later.
No matter what your trauma is you will have to work through the five stages at some point. Shut out as many as you want or confront them head-on, the choice is yours.
There is no time-frame. Will you heal? Yes. Will it change things? No. You will have to accept the hand that was dealt and do with it what you will.
Some people allow themselves to get stuck in a stage. Don't let that be you! You've handled this so well - it would have destroyed me...
I don't know if I handled this well. I did the best I could. Did I feel destroyed? Absolutely. That was where I lingered the longest: depression and anger. However, there are so many other joyful areas of my life that were occurring along the way that if I didn't acknowledge them I could have been stuck. I knew I didn't want that. I love life and I don't want to miss the little moments.
The final realization I needed to move into healing/acceptance was something I had been told but I wouldn't allow it to sink in: someone doesn't have it worse or better - they have it differently.
I can't stress that enough. It's still a hard one...and one that you have to realize on your own.
Will we ever heal? Yes. If you look back you are lost...
If you can't turn around you are stuck...
Move forward with every ounce of strength you have. Baby steps, one inch, one breath, one foot ahead of the other, one moment at a time. One thing at a time. You can do it. You don't have to be lost.
But the choice is ultimately yours.
...as always I am here if anyone wants to talk or share. It's a journey you have to travel alone at times but there are times it's essential to lean on someone. Never think you are alone. You aren't. I pledge to be at least one person who will be there. Even if we are strangers. Even if we have different circumstances and can't relate precisely. We still have the same challenges to overcome. Remember that because if you're looking for someone who matches your situation you may never find them...or you will delay your own healing.
If I Look Back I am Lost.
Remember, yes, but don't get lost.