When we write from our own experiences, our stories become more than words. We write from a place of pain, joy, hurt, emotion, or peace. We can write merely words, or we can write to connect with you, the reader in a way that bonds us as humans in this world where caring, emotion, and authenticity are lacking these days.
I’ve been on a journey for several years now. A journey to find paths of healing for my oldest son who was diagnosed with PTSD and TBI while in Iraq. What I really failed to realize until this past week is that even with all my seeking…my prayers…my longing for healing…my searching for answers…it really didn’t matter until HE wanted help. I’ve read, researched, and grasped for answers to help and until now, there has been minimal effect because I was the one searching…not him.
What I do know, is that I love him with all my heart. He is my first-born. The one I probably made all my mistakes with before the other two came along and I knew more of what to do in their raising. I feel in my searching that even my other two precious children may have felt a pain of neglect from time to time the past 8 years. It’s really not been all about him. What I realized in the scriptures from Matthew 18, is that the shepherd went after the 1 lost sheep. The other 99 sheep were safe. They may have felt neglected by the shepherd. However, the shepherd couldn’t rest until they were all safe. I think that’s been my journey. I’ve longed for healing and wholeness in all my children.
I hear about “tough love”. Be strong. You need to just close your door on him and when he comes around, then be there for him. There was just something in my heart that could not go all the way with this. Had I felt fear for my own safety, I may have incorporated “tough love”. To a point I have though. Behavior without boundaries or accountability is just enabling. We haven’t enabled, but have sought safety until help could be found. When unacceptable behavior exists, I do believe it needs to be confronted. Accountability is very important. Underneath the wrappings of self-destructive behavior related to PTSD is a scared, vulnerable, and emotionally naked individual who experienced trauma at a level we cannot possibly understand unless we have experienced the same thing. So…don’t enable…but don’t judge.
PTSD isn’t a respecter of persons, race, gender, age, or nationality. My personal experience is with an individual whose experiences from Iraq and the fallout from after (yes, the emotional fallout has continued to continue year after year) has led to now where I am still seeking for help and answers. The difference now…he is too! PTSD isn’t limited to military…but includes traumas from the past including rape, childhood molestation, and other incomprehensible acts.
As a caregiver (I’m a nurse too), I too find the journey taxing on my own personal health and mental well-being That’s why I am constantly giving attention to my own self-care. See, I seek safety for myself as well. Without my own well-being, I will be ineffective to help anyone else.
Thank you for listening to my heart. As I journey toward more answers and share with you what I learn, my prayer is that you will be empowered with tools to help those you are connected to as they seek safety.