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One of the most difficult aspects of PTSD is how it changes you. Almost overnight it can seem like your whole identity has ‘shattered’, ‘fragmented’, ‘splintered’ to use the words I actually hear from so many survivors. After trauma, this sense of internal disintegration is perfectly normal. The world as you knew it has radically altered; of course, this could radically alter you, too, for a period of time.
In my own post-trauma process, I got very stuck in the Before/After gap. I soooo badly wanted to go back to who I was before. I really, really hated who I became After. (That’s where this poem and the title of my trauma recovery memoir came from.) I deeply despaired that my fragmented self would always be that way.
The good news is that we are flexible, changeable, malleable beings. Your brain is wired to heal. Your personality is wired to evolve. Your psyche is wired to seek wholeness and integration. All of these things mean that internally you are full of the necessary tools and resources to change — all the time, throughout your life.
This week, try this:
1. notice how you’ve changed (make a list of all the ways)
2. decide how you would like to change each change; ask yourself, “How would I rather be?”
3. make a list for each change you wish to see; ask yourself, ”What would have to happen in order for that change to occur?”
From just these 3 simple steps you have the beginning of a plan. Clarity leads to creativity leads to choices leads to actions. The result of all of this? Progress on the road to recovery!
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