Day 64: Dear Intrepid, tomorrow morning . . .
My T gave me an assignment to write a letter to the younger me, the me who experienced the trauma, the me who developed PTSD from the trauma.
Feb. 12, 2014
Dear Young Intrepid,
Tomorrow you take another important step in this process of claiming ownership of your health. I am so very proud of you for everything you've done. I am 100% here for you; and I am with you through every breath. No matter what happens tomorrow, you have already accomplished an incredible achievement.
You have valued and spoken your needs. Identifying and expressing your needs is a new experience for you. It has required you to challenge ancient messages, messages that were burned into your flesh. This healing process has been a form of surgery, cutting out toxic tissues. Tomorrow is the biggest procedure so far.
From birth you were taught you didn't matter. You were taught your pain didn't count. You were not even allowed to feel pain. You were taught you were never to be a "bother" to anyone. (That one really makes me angry.) You never got to feel what it was like to be cherished. You never knew that your happiness, your well-being, your comfort and safety mattered. You didn't know the world was anything other than capriciously violent and neglectful. It makes me very sad when I think about how the world looked from your perspective for all those years. You peered out in silence through wide brown eyes at a world you thought was always at the ready to do you harm. You were so small, and yet never fragile, never cowed.
Despite all of the hurt and the abandonment, you retained a brilliant light of hope.
You held onto it like a life raft. You welcomed others aboard that life raft when they too needed to ride out a storm. That's not just a metaphor, either. Remember when you saved those kids in the river? You were in just as much danger as them; and you were a lot smaller than them. There were three of them and only one of you! But, you didn't hesitate or think of yourself. You had (and still have) that indomitable belief that you could get through and save them too. And you did.
You came out of the river with cuts down almost the entire length of your body because of the barbed wire you had to cross, but everyone came out of that river. Your cuts were the only injuries. Think about that. Sit with that. It represents how you have lived your life.
That is exactly why you'll get through the appointment tomorrow, and whatever follows.
I want you to hear me now, listen carefully to what I'm about to say:
Know that it's not up to you to be the one who gets injured for the sake of others. It's time for you to let someone else steer the raft. You can set aside your cape tomorrow. You have a terrific plan and people to lean on. You don't have to go through with anything you don't want to tomorrow. You don't have to come out of this river with cuts. OK . . . OK?!
One more thing I want you to really think about: you're not just claiming ownership of your health, you're claiming ownership of your body. You are declaring:
- you matter.
- Your wellness,
- your happiness,
- your safety, and
- your comfort matters.
The same is true of the people who will be helping you through this. They will get to give of themselves in a way that meets their calling. You always say that you are called to do what you do with your life. For many people in health care that is also true. You trust in the calling for yourself. You can trust in the calling for them as well.
Lastly, I will say this again, because it bears repeating. You have already reached the peak of this climb. Whatever happens, now that you're on the descent, is just steps on another path. If you get to the clinic tomorrow, that's a victory. If you go into the clinic, that's a victory. If you enter the exam room, that's another victory.
You get my point.
You don't have to be a hero and you don't have to hide what you feel tomorrow. Give a little trust and see how it goes. I'll be right there no matter what.
All my love,
P.S. because I know your heart is filled with music whose words touch your soul, here is a song that represents what I'm trying to say to you in this letter (from your favorite band):
Cry, cry, cry (by way of sorrow) - written by Julie Miller and performed by the Wailin' Jenny's
"You've been taken by the wind. You have known the kiss of sorrow. To those who would not take you in: outcast and a stranger. You have come by way of sorrow. You have come by way of tears. But you'll reach your destiny meant to find you all these years."