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I wanted to light my entire life on fire. Run away. Start over, and never look back.
What in the actual f*ck?!
I realized that I was struggling with the lockdown and everything that came along with it—I had to figure out why.
My life has not been all that affected. I still (thankfully) have a job, and working from home is something I’ve always wanted to do. I honestly didn’t go out or socialize all that often before this. I’m sheltering in place with my family, who I love with my whole heart. I personally haven’t known anyone who has tested positive for the virus. Although the news is disturbing, and as an empathetic person it affects me on an emotional level, that was not what was making me feel like the world was crashing down around me.
I was having trouble concentrating, and insignificant activities suddenly felt daunting and overwhelming. I built things up in my head to the point where even the simplest task felt unfathomable. I’d stare at the walls of my house and feel like they were caving in on me.
But I have a really good life. A life I’ve worked hard to build. The way I was feeling didn’t make any sense. Until I came across an incredibly eye-opening quote:
“Make sure you’re responding to the present moment and not to something from your past that the current situation reminds you of.” ~ Maryam Hasnaa
Ding, Ding, Ding. We have a Winner!
There it was. The revelation I had been avoiding. The uncomfortable truth was that this experience was triggering me.
All of these thoughts, feelings, and emotions were not solely due to the pandemonium of the pandemic. I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of what’s happening in the world. We are definitely in the middle of a terrible, life-altering experience. However, there is something that’s causing this to hit some of us a little harder than the rest.
The reminder of another time where we’ve felt like this.
Trauma survivors might be experiencing a resurgence of past experiences. Previous feelings are entangling with current ones, and everything is a jumbled up mess inside our heads. Old wounds are popping back up to the surface. We find ourselves back in the same mindset we were in the last time we felt lost, confused, and afraid. Feeling insecure and vulnerable—trapped in uncertainty, never knowing what the next day is going to bring.
Was there another time in your life when you felt powerless and lacked control over the situation?
Have you found yourself relying on old coping mechanisms? Returning to vices you thought you had outgrown? Reaching for someone, something, anything that will make you feel better in this moment?
Do you feel as though your freedom has been stripped away? Like you’re caged up, constricted, and controlled. Are you struggling for air?
It is okay. You are okay. We will be okay.
Healing is not linear. Sometimes we have to take a few steps back before we can navigate the way forward again. We all find ourselves faltering occasionally. We are simply human and beautifully flawed. Continuously learning, growing, and evolving. Give yourself a little bit of grace.
Then turn it around and fight against the part of you that wants to give up. No one else can save you from the chaos of your own mind. Sometimes you gotta be your own goddamn hero. Remind yourself that you have made it through so much worse than this.
You are fierce. You are brave. You are unstoppable.
You will come out on the other side of this, too. Unfortunately, we can’t always prevent bad things from happening, but we must endure. Every. Single. Time.
Find a way to turn your pain into passion and persevere.
For me, I find that passion through writing. You are the only one who knows what that is for you. So bake the damn bread, organize the pantry, or knit 100 scarves. Go for a run, meditate, or read a book. Paint a picture, build something, or solve a crossword puzzle. Make a TikTok, binge watch every episode of “The Walking Dead,” and eat copious amounts of chocolate cake if that’s what does it for you.
However, if you are engaging in patterns of behavior that are no longer in alignment with who you are, those things will only make you feel worse. Do whatever it is that you need to do to get through this.
Except murder, don’t do that.
Also, please don’t get so lost in your distractions that you lose sight of the work that still needs to be done. Those scars are irritated for a reason. Deeper understanding of those emotions eventually does need to occur…for your own good.
This may sound a little cliché, but we really are supposed to grow through what we go through. Everything that happens to us, ultimately does happen for us—to help us become who we are meant to be.
We are intended to gain strength, resilience, and determination from our hardships. The events we imagine we cannot possibly overcome, are what puts the steel in our spine. The strength of which propels us toward accomplishing incredible achievements. The tenacity required to move mountains is not a product of an easy life.
It may be challenging to see that in the moment. It may take years before you can look back and see any shred of good that sprouted from a terrible situation, but I can assure you that it’s there. Always ask yourself, “What did that experience teach me?”
If you are unable to deal with it until this is all over, that’s okay.
There is no right or wrong way to process and move forward. As long as you do move forward. What happens to you is not always your fault, but how it shapes your life is your responsibility.
Your healing is in your hands.
You have the power to choose whether you let your challenges make you or break you.