“One foot in front of the other,” that’s what people always say. Sometimes I get tired of hearing that, or telling people that everything is okay because I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it’s hard to keep moving forward when everything inside me wants to just stop, and it’s hard to tell people I’m okay, when really I’m not.
The truth is, yes, we have to keep moving forward, but sometimes it’s okay to stop. It’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to heal slowly. This week a friend told me that an acquaintance of ours told her, “we just need to get Lisa out of the house, that’s what she needs.” Thankfully my friend that was told this understands what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed with panic and anxiety, and she was able to say, “Lisa needs time to heal.”
I don’t understand why people who don’t really know me think they know exactly what I need. Even people who do know me sometimes think they know what I need. I wonder if it’s because they are uncomfortable with the situation, and they cannot handle the fact that I may not be the person I was before the car accident, and I need to time to heal in order to feel whole again.
Working in hospice, I see how uncomfortable people become when they don’t know how to handle things, and I understand that everyone responds differently to death, trauma, or whatever the circumstances may be. But why do so many people in their own discomfort feel like they need to “fix” someone elses situation, or simply avoid it all together.
Dealing with PTSD is not easy, and I’m quite embarrassed by it because I cannot control the flashbacks that may throw me into a full on panic attack. I’m grateful for friends who truly are able to walk beside me, sit in silence, even when it’s uncomfortable, and ask me how I’m feeling without pressuring me to talk.
Sharing my story is a part of my healing, but it’s when I’m ready and able to share. Not when someone askes me because they want to know the details of what happend for their own curiosity, and “getting me out of the house” is not going to make my healing happen any faster.
Trauma is not something that a person can experience, then wake up the next day, put on their shoes, leave their house, and simply go on with life. It’s something that take a lot of work to recover from. Mental, emotional, and physical work. Some days will be easier than others, and I will be able to put one foot in front of the other and press forward, and some days will be more difficult as I work to overcome my anxieties and fears.
Today was one of those difficult days. Between the rising anxiety, panic attack, and trying to maintain some normalicy in my family. I’m exhausted. I’m tired, and I feel like I cannot move one more step.
I need to stop. I need to breath. I need to focus on this moment, and what I need to do to get through it.