WHERE THIS PSYCHOLOGY CAME FROM
It almost became a physical death. I had no background to understand what was happening. My world was shrinking as PTSD, night terrors, and panic attacks became my new world. It took 4 years to come out the other side of this.
There are many points of interest in this journey. One such moment was seeing how we think of issues as being something that a band-aid will take care of.
“I will wait. It will heal and I will be fine”.
For myself and 2 years into this, I began to realize it wasn’t going away and you start to project into the future what your life might look like based on the day you were currently having. I was struggling with loss of hope and deep shock. You could say I was depressed, but it was different. I was overwhelmed and seeing before me a loss of life, loss of opportunity, and long-term pain and illness.
I used to watch ant lions in South Africa. Tiny little beings that would create a funnel in the sand and they waited at the bottom for the ants to fall in. When an ant fell in, the ant attempted to scrabble up the sides, pushing sand to the bottom. The little ant lions would flick sand up the sides of the funnel so the ant would slide further to the bottom. With pincers waiting, the ant was pulled below the sand.
I saw myself like that little ant, putting all my energy into escaping and never quite reaching the top. If I did it was only for a fraction of a second before I fell back down again. You get tired of it and the constant fear.
When you are fighting to live, no matter what it is you are fighting for or against, there comes a time when you make a choice how you are going to die.
For myself, I turned around and decided to charge at the enemy. It was about refusing to be afraid any more. I got angry. I was not going to let people tell me who and what I could be. I was not going to be a victim of my past. I also did not care if people thought I was in the way. I was here. I had a body. I took up space and no, you cannot have it.
You have to fight for yourself. You have to find a boundary that is meaningful for you and you draw a line in the sand. I didn’t give up. I let go. In some ways, it’s about finding ways to empower yourself again.
Another significant decision I made was walking away emotionally from my mother. I decided I needed to do for myself what she either could not or would not do, starting with being kinder to myself.
During this time I was reading I Ching and the Taoist texts and writings by Lao Tzu, author Eva Wong, “the Seven Taoist Masters” and was referring frequently to another book about storytelling by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Women Who Run With the Wolves.”
Coming out on the other side of my illness, I started to build a life again. It was slow but I did it. I became a massage therapist and the past was largely behind me. I was still left with a sense that I was damaged. I was afraid I might relapse. Today I know it was PTSD, but at the time I had no idea what it was I had gone through nor did I know my mother was a narcissist.
Even though I was the same person there were some profound changes in me. The social side which had been so prominent at my mother’s urging had fallen away. I was quieter, more private and I was able to do math which before I had limited skills with. I had a new life and “my other life” was left behind.