PTSD/TBI Poetry Project
A commitment to write a poem for every PTSD/TBI post written since 2013. Posts private, or public from USFRA.org, WordPress, evernote, or Word. These will include the original post.
The gift of choice
It seemed such a simple thing…choice
Yet in the midst of the loneliness
No one cared if I lived or died
A choice made in the realization all there was, was me to make the choice
The choice to live
Live in spite of pain
Live in spite of loneliness
Step back from the ledge upon which I trembled
I stepped back and found, right behind me..the key
I had it all along
The key opened the lock to living again
LIfe, emotions, memories out of sync
Welcoming to some, others not at all
Memories of all the lasts..
The last hug and the last look…
They can no longer slay me until I cannot breathe
The mirror holds my look
I am lit up from within now
Among the loneliness I did not give up on me
One day, one hour, one minute
I made it through
I came back off the ledge of forgetfulness
I flew back into my life
Now I know how close to fly to the sun and survive
A gift given and it’s one which has been a hard earned one at that. These past several years I’ve struggled, cried until I couldn’t, dug deep and hard into the most inappropriate ways to try and deal with my PTSD. There have been times I wanted to drive away and never come back, try to start anew somewhere else. Maybe even try to go back to the beginning and be overseas again. I would not say any bit of it has been easy. Not one bit at all. There have been times I felt so alone that I thought even God had forgotten me. I thought no one cared if I lived or died. The most dangerous of ledges to dangle my toes off of. I’ve been in all these places.
Most of all I finally understood in the midst of the loneliness that I was truly alone and all I had was me so I better live. So I chose life. I know there are sadly many who do not. My therapist has said choosing to live in spite of the pain is one of the hardest acts possible. He has also said it meant that deep down somewhere I loved myself enough to choose life. I chose me. I chose to live. I chose to keep showing up for therapy, I chose to keep at my medical professionals who missed the key to it all. In the end I’m the one who found the key and I will never let that particular key go because it opened the lock to living again.
When I was sitting in the ER and just staring at the curtain I realized I heard nothing inside my head anymore. No thoughts flying around about how ugly the curtain was or anything. Just silence. Today thoughts are flitting through, emotions are rising up and things taste amazing. The emotions are starting to be really annoying. I’d forgotten how much I’d had under control emotion wise. I wanted to slap the employees at the bookstore for the three times they interrupted me and my son’s enjoyable time together. Really, slap them hard. I didn’t but I was pretty rude. I realize now I had become that not so sweet person these past years. Now I see the core I’m working from and my instinct is to be kind first and wow do I NOT want to.
Memories are filtering back and some I welcome and feel joy in the mere act of remembering them. Others not so much. Emotions and memories are not in sync and I have yet to cry, I just feel too dang happy to cry right now. I now remember a very important moment I really needed to remember before all this happened. The point in time where I lost so much. I remembered the last moment my husband touched my face with such sweet tenderness and love. Then never touched me again and we were sent home. All of us. The last hug, the last kiss, the last everything together. I will treasure these forever but I will no longer hold them up to be a personal measuring stick for all who attempt to follow.
Driven, I feel very driven again and I thought this had been lost forever. The drive, the ‘try’. I still had it, it wasn’t lost, it was hidden for quite some time but it was still there. I look in the mirror and see the lit up from within look in my eyes again. At night I laid down and felt God’s presence and realize He had always been there holding me hard, carrying me through. I look in the mirror and see the large St. Michael’s medal I wear which has a personal engraving on the back. I see it and know, I know I didn’t give up on believing, I didn’t give up on me, I didn’t let it go. I held on and made it through.
All I know is I made it through to today. I made it. Some days making it through the next hour was all I could do. But I did it. Stubbornness or perseverance I’m not sure which it is and really don’t care anymore. I’m grateful my adult children and I made it through, we all lived. It’s not only me.
I am but one of the faces of PTSD who chose to make it through one day at time until it gets better. I’m grateful to be one of the many who are finding growth in the most unexpected ways.