A PTSD Poetry Project Poem and Previous entry from USFRA.org
“What Kind of Friend Will You Be?”
The struggle to be ‘Okay”
Treated less than intelligent
But brains do heal
There is now only today
My destination changed into something unexpected
I chose to heal, to fight for myself
Pride in the fight swells each day
I enter the ring to fight some more
In spite of misunderstandings
In spite of being treated less than
I continued to show up
Growth continued in spite of others inability
To see I grew
They didn’t know the fight to get to this place of growth
So I merely smile
I smile at all those who assisted me to healing
At those who stayed at my side
At others who left it
Silent shadows who had my back
Quietly waiting, watching to see me heal
I would find my way back to me
To them I would be always be whole
In spite of unseen injury
To them I was worth waiting for
To these unfailing friends
Today I see they chose to be
The shadow at my back so they could one day
Stand beside me at my side in joy
In celebration of the healing which brought me back to me
“What Kind friend will you be?”
*Will you be the friend who stays or the friend who leaves someone fighting the fight of their lives with Traumatic Brain Injury or PTSD?Chose today, because we need you to have our 6.*
Today. There is always today. I wake, I stretch and I smile. My days have changed into something I never expected to be a destination. Perhaps it was I had believed I would never truly heal, improve. Maybe. Yet I have. Brains heal. I chose to heal and I chose to fight for myself in order to arrive at this destination. It is a fight I continue to be proud of each day as I enter the ring to fight some more.
Last night I was present at a group I’d sporadically gone to in the past year. No matter that I have been there for over a decade. No. The families who’d seen me struggle to get to where I am were the only ones who counted to me. There were others, ones who’d only known me right after my brain injury. Sitting there 3 times a week, not wanting to be there yet I wasn’t allowed to be at home alone. The struggle to appear ‘ok’ was a huge stressor each time I had to be there and interact with people I didn’t remember from two days before.
Somehow their impression became one of me being ‘less’. Less intelligent, unimportant, deficient in social skills. To speak with someone about my observations regarding their family member and to be misunderstood as talking about myself? Well, it was revealing if also frustrating. No, I wasn’t talking about myself. The observations about social interaction were not about my struggle.
Sometimes, growth is difficult as others who are not there day in, day out don’t see the changes. Their frame of reference in regards to the person I am has not been updated. I understand the confusion. I do. Unfortunately I also see with clear eyes how I’d been treated and not seen it at the time.
Those who continued to treat me as a whole person, who stayed at my side. I see them now as the unfailingly faithful friends they are. Sometimes I’ve not noticed the ones who simply, quietly stayed at my side. Like my shadow I don’t always notice until it’s in front of me gaining my attention. They’ve moved in front of me and I see them now for the incredible people they are.
What kind of friend will you be to someone going through PTSD or healing from Traumatic Brain Injury? Will you be the faithful shadow believing they will recover?
What kind of friend will you be?