A journey to health, happiness, and higher mountains

5 Things I’m Reminding Myself To Stay Positive – Living With PTSD

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I would be lying if I said that I’m not seriously struggling right now, and if I said that the level of positivity conveyed through this blog was representative of my current feelings. Truthfully, positivity and motivation is like the sun peeking through the holes in the clouds on a typical British autumn day: rare, but the most beautiful thing when it’s there. That’s not to say I don’t usually want to get well when I’m not actively suicidal, or to say that I don’t want to try to get well even when I am in crisis, but often in those times it comes down to a belief in whether or not I even can.

It is very easy to believe, especially when you have been struggling with the same problems for years or when history keeps repeating itself, that it will never get better. And often, I still don’t think it can for me. I find myself believing that I am too broken, that everything that has happened will never go away from my memories enough for me to succeed at life and that I should give up trying. So to combat this, the other day I made a list of what I decided would be my responses to somebody else if they came to me expressing these feelings, so I can look at them and at least try to believe and keep my motivation to pursue recovery and healing. I’ve decided to share them here on the off-chance that somebody who also needs to read this might stumble across it.

  1. Even if it doesn’t feel it, the worst really is already over. You are still alive. No matter what happened to you, your body is still here, your mind is still here. You survived. Yes, maybe you suffer terrible flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety or other effects following what happened but the simple fact you made it this far gives you a reason not to give up just now.
  2. If you were strong enough to survive what happened, you are strong enough to survive therapy and you are strong enough to carve out a life for yourself. See point 1. You survived what happened and you’ve survived since, you’ve already proven your strength. By even entertaining continuing with your life, you are already stronger than so many other people, and so if anybody’s got this, it’s you.
  3. It is okay to feel like this sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up more for feeling the way you do because you’ll just end up going around in circles and perpetuating your suffering. I do this sometimes just after I come out of believing that my life is completely pointless, cursing myself for wasting my life being so self destructive, and this attitude is certainly not helpful. It’s okay to feel this way. Even people who haven’t experienced trauma or who don’t have any mental health conditions have days where they feel terrible, so you are definitely allowed to have a bad day/week/month/year.
  4. It doesn’t get better overnight. You won’t just wake up one day and never be troubled again. Recovering your life can be a very slow process, and sometimes it takes multiple professionals, setbacks, and any good periods may be followed by bad periods again, but if you don’t stick it out you’ll never know how much better it can be in the end.
  5. When you’re finally there, you will be glad you stuck it out. When you finally remember what feeling happy feels like, when you finally have the coping strategies you need in place, when you’re doing things you love, you will be so glad you didn’t give up.

For all reminding myself of these things doesn’t keep me positive all the time, repeating them and trying to have blind faith in them being true even when I’m doubting, when I can feel myself slipping into crisis, has already a few times kept me safe and alive.

If you are reading this and you are doubting your ability to heal, please don’t give up. Talk to somebody, seek help, believe in your own strength no matter how weak you feel. You can do this, and so can I.

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