We discover so much about ourselves in PTSD recovery. So much we never imagined, never dreamed and never expected. Our guest poster today, Alice Rovney, has terrific clarity over not only her journey, but about what she has deep within — and the most amazing thing she has found in her recovery. I love her ideas about hope, fuel and the power to overcome.
My PTSD Story
I have a white light that lives deep down inside of me. It picks me up when I fall down and guides my path when I cannot see. When I feel weak, it gives me the strength to press onward. But I never knew it existed until recently. I guess it takes a spark to start a flame and fuel to keep that flame burning. Well, if trouble was my spark then hope became my fuel. The accident came so quickly and unexpectedly, like lightning. At its peak my husband was in a medically induced coma trying to recuperate from a heart attack. He was only 36.
My daughter was in a children’s hospital 300 miles away, alone. Unable to fly with either one of them due to my own injuries, all I could do was rest in my recliner. Zoned out from Vicodin I’d call first one hospital and then the other, every hour. Did I even have time to hurt? Could I afford to acknowledge my own pain? I closed my eyes and I imagined myself on a journey.
“Right,” I thought to myself. “I could go down two paths and the decision starts here and now. It didn’t matter how bad I was hurt on the outside or how deeply I mourned on the inside. Life goes on. A few weeks from now, months if I’m lucky, the world will forget the events that shined the spotlight on my family for this moment in time. We’ll be on our own. I’ll be on my own.” So I imagined my path. It looked something like a dirt road in the midst of a forest. I stood at the fork.
To the left I saw a life of pain, suffering, and hopelessness. I saw myself giving in to the tragedy and allowing it to control my life. I saw my family homeless, hungry, and lacking nurture. I saw my husband slowly succumbing to his injuries and my children never fully recovering. If I gave in to the trauma then it would be like handing my family over to devastation on a silver platter. I tore my eyes away from the sight and stared down the path to my right.
I saw myself walking. I carried a staff to lean on, which I knew was my faith in Jesus. My clothes were torn, like rags really. I knew it was a symbol of the difficult road that was ahead of me. This path to the right was not a straight road. Inherently I sort of knew that it was full of inclines and switchbacks. But one thing that was different about it, there was a lot of light. There was healing. There was a destination. There was hope.
Everyone has their own coping methods to surviving a trauma. Mine was to look down inside of myself and pull up the strength and the faith that I needed in order to move on. There was no way on Earth I was going to allow an event, no matter how devastating, to beat me. So I dangled a carrot in front of myself, a carrot of hope. It wasn’t easy. I had to make a conscious habit of defining that carrot. It looked like taking action, like being proactive.
I was right to choose the path that I did. But I was also right in that it hasn’t been easy. The first time the words PTSD rolled from my doctor’s lips it was like a shockwave of acknowledgment. It was a shockwave that didn’t happen until two years later. But I needed it. I needed to recognize my pain and know that just because I stuffed it deep down inside somewhere didn’t make it any less real. And, I needed to know that I had survived.
Since the accident I have stood up for my beliefs, defined my morality, battled unemployment, began two businesses and loved my family like there was no tomorrow. I’ve grown friendships, matured in my faith, published a book, and continue to write to this day. I didn’t find devastation in the aftermath of that accident or in the healing from PTSD. I found me.
Alice Rovney is married and has two children. Rovney earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from The University of Phoenix and is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in Accounting. She began AB Accounting, a sole Proprietorship in October of 2008 and published her first book, Phoenix: A Testament of Faith in Jesus in 2009. Rovney, in partnership with her friend, launched Allyoops, a retail store in 2010. She currently writes for various online publications.
Allyoops – www.allyooops.com
Associated Content – http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/831182/alice_kawar.html
The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.