In June, my therapist asked me how I viewed myself now when reflecting on my past and where I am presently. It was a difficult question to answer, and honestly it depends on the day.
I’ve taken the following exerpt from my journal, to show how living with PTSD and depression and anxiety can impact the way you view yourself:
I’ve overcome more in my 28 years of living than most people endure in a lifetime:
- Witnessing domestic violence
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Eating disorder
- Suicide attempts
- Autoimmune diseases
- A sister with a chronic illness
- A husband’s failed restaurant
- A failing marriage
It’s fucking exhausting when I think about it!
The number of hours I’ve spent in therapy is exhausting. I’m exhausted. Nothing in life has been “easy.” When my therapists comment about how incredible it is that I am where I am in life with my education and career, I brush it off because I don’t like to think that it’s a big deal. But it is! It is a huge deal!
It is amazing to think that one person can go through so many things and still manage to be a functioning, productive member of society. I help others; I support my family; and I’m basically a single mom. It is a miracle. I am a survivor. No; I am more than that. On my good days, I am a conqueror. I am an anomaly, a fighter, a role mode, a warrior. The days where I overcome a flashback, or a trigger, or an urge to cut; the days where I want to give up or give in, but I don’t; on those days, I am amazing!
It’s hard to feel amazing though on the days where my mind is full of self-hatred, or the days when I can’t control the dissociation and I’m stuck in the past. On those days, I don’t feel like a conqueror. On those days, living seems so meaningless. On those days, I deserve to die. I can’t explain why my mind goes to those places when I’m struggling. It’s almost instant. I become so frustrated with myself for not having healthy, positive thoughts; for not being able to overcome the depression, anxiety, or PTSD; all I can think about is how much better the world would be if I weren’t in it anymore.
When I get through those days (or weeks), I feel a huge sense of relief, and I feel proud of myself for overcoming yet another difficult time in my life. It is hard to fight your mind like that. It is hard to save yourself from yourself.
Today, I am proud of where I am. Some days, it is easier to feel pride than others; some days the things in my head are so dark that it is impossible to believe anything positive about myself. But on the good days, I can appreciate my past (or parts of it), and feel proud of who I am and where I am.