It’s good to give thanks.
When we do an account of the blessings in our lives, we’re reminded of the goodness that exists in the world, the kindness. When we’re struggling, counting the people who love and support us allows us to feel safe.
I wrote recently about what helped me battle through some difficult times and in the spirit of Thanksgiving I’d like to focus more on who has helped me and what they did and continue to do.
I struggle with PTSD and anxiety. In the perfect 20/20 backwards glance, I believe I had issues with anxiety since childhood. I was nervous to be away from my mom, even for the duration of a child’s birthday party. I was painfully shy and certain social situations caused me anxiety, especially (so much) if it involved public speaking.
But in more recent years, I’ve had reason to deal with PTSD and anxiety related to that. About five years ago I was the victim of a violent attack. I am now the survivor of a violent attack. With surviving, comes PTSD.
PTSD means the brain sometimes thinks you’re still in the midst of the traumatic situation. You’re sometimes in that “fight or flight” feeling. For me it means that I’m often anxious about safety. I’m sometimes obsessed with it.
I’m uncomfortable with a strange man in an elevator or sometimes even to pass one in a hallway in an office building if the proximity is too close. I check and recheck the locks before going to bed. And I check and recheck my kids before going to bed too. Because I wasn’t safe once, I have to make extra (extra-extra) sure that we’re safe now.
Sometimes, because control of my own body was taken from me during that violent attack, I have real trouble doing anything that makes me feel like I don’t have 100% control over that situation. Once, I loved roller coasters. Now, I want nothing to do with them because it feels too unsafe, too out of control. Little by little I have to widen my comfort zone to try new things.
Looking in from the outside, this behavior might seem pretty odd. If you check the door once, you know it’s locked. Why check it again? It can be annoying, I’m certain. But my husband accepts this. Maybe he doesn’t understand completely why I feel the need to double check the locks, but he goes with it. It’s a really big stretch for him as he’s someone who, prior to meeting me, felt safe enough that he didn’t even lock his doors at night.
While I sometimes feel like I’m limited by these fears and I know I need to rely on God and not have a spirit of fear, I know too that God is patient. He knows what I’ve been through. Healing from this is a process. My husband knows this too. His patience and acceptance of my “weirdness” and apprehension of certain things that should be fun but to me appear frightening, mean so much to me. They are healing in and of themselves.
His acceptance and patience with my “methods” allow me to process things the way I need to and afford me the time to heal on my own, to deal with the “old ghosts” that creep up (memories, trauma, etc.) and tackle them on my own terms.
I am thankful for him, for loving me through this with complete willingness to see me instead of seeing what happened to me. I am grateful.
Meet Melanie P. :
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. She is busy with her work in progress, her first nonfiction book. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com and published on Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, Breathe Writers Conference blog, and various other blogs as a guest writer. Having worked in the medical field for nearly two decades, Melanie recently “retired” so she could concentrate on her family and writing career. She is also a substitute teacher. Besides writing, Melanie loves to read, travel, enjoys hockey, playing piano, listening to music, helping and encouraging others, speaking on Periscope and Blab, volunteering, movies, and hanging out and cheering on her very favorite people: her family. Melanie lives in west Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie and beabrador Lillie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”