I haven’t lived a perfect life. I have made mistakes and lost parts of myself along the way. I have also lived through some extremely traumatic situations that have caused me to see life much differently. I wrote about some of my pain and heartache that comes from when you and your children have been traumatized and this is what I’ve learned.
PTSD, depression and anxiety are all side effects of what I experienced. You can’t run from that. Although I sought after anything that would steal the pain, I could never run far enough. I was told by a counselor that our family experienced what is called, “complicated grief.” That is a great way to put it! Here I had the once love of my life and so many beautiful memories of our life who became a monster overnight. The Villain vs The Hero is a battle I will always struggle with in my mind. There were so many things that took place during this time of trauma (besides their dad serving jail time, hanging himself, being in a coma for 9 days and ultimately his death.)
I don’t have all the answers but these things helped.
1. Learn how to ask for help
I had to force myself. I needed people to tell me over and over again how important it was to ask for help. AND, that it was OK to ask for help. I wasn't “needy” or “weak” by reaching out to people.
I had to realize that as a single mom, how by choosing to live my life I am also choosing this lifestyle for my kids. DON’T BE A HYPOCRITE. I can’t cope by trying to escape dealing with the pain with alcohol, running from emotions, partying, etc. This only leads me and my children down a destructive path.
I needed to learn to LIVE with my values...live a life of value.
I had to learn these words, “I need your support.” Not an easy thing to do.
Find a support system to fall on. It can be family, friends, counselors, a social media group, whoever can be there for you whenever you need.
2. Learn to set boundaries for yourself (and kids)
These boundaries need to become a standard in the home. Kids need stability after trauma. It has to become a lifestyle.
It’s ok to say NO to social activities, family gatherings, etc. Sometimes you just need a break from being “on the go.”
Not everyone needs to hear your story. There are times when you just need to be quiet and alone. Just be careful not to isolate and withdraw from the world.
3. Set new goals
For me, it was going back to college. It was important to set my mind on something other than the trauma.
Talk with your kids about goal setting.
Start a new holiday tradition.
In a world where you are forced to create a new normal you have to find ways to build a new today.
Develop a new sense of self. Look at what you can do, not what you can’t do. I needed a vision to reinvent myself. I had to look at my situation as an opportunity to succeed in life not a failure that happened in my life.
Be specific with your goal. Write it down. Read it every day. What are the actions you will take to achieve your goal(s)?
4. Keep a journal
Write down feelings, emotions, sensations, urges, ANYTHING! No one needs to read it. It is therapeutic.
In your journal, write down Affirmations on the first page. Save the first 5 pages for affirmations and write down ones that are meaningful. You can add to it over time:
I love myself
I am unique
I have a purpose
God made only one of me
Life will never be the same but it can still be good
I have the power to control my thoughts
5. Know that is OK to grieve
There is no right or wrong way to grieve - as long as you are not endangering yourself or others. Our thoughts control our actions - feelings aren’t right or wrong, but the actions can be!
6. FEEL the pain. Embrace the hurt/betrayal but also find a way to release forgiveness
(which is a gift you give yourself not the other person)
Know it is also ok to voice your emotions. And they can change daily, hourly or minute to minute.
It’s healthy to cry!
Make a decision that “I am tired of hurting myself with the resentment I carry towards someone else.” Only you can walk it out.
Realize how your feelings affect your attitude and how you behave. Release that pain once in a while; find healthy ways to cope.
I have followed these and I have also been the hypocrite. I have made many mistakes along the way but I am learning it’s ok to be human and forgive. I used to bottle it all up and I learned how unhealthy that is. It always finds a way to fester out somehow. Don’t beat yourself up over your situation or how you’ve handled it. Today is a new day. Tomorrow is waiting. Be kind to yourself. Learn how to treat yourself like you would your best friend.
And remember to never give up!
Lindsy Brewer Gilbert
I’ve made a lot of mistakes which also gives me grounds for lots of advice! Lucky readers! Ha! 😂🤗
I wouldn’t be so personal if I didn’t know what it was like to be in the trenches of pain and suffering…only hoping for a morsel of hope. If anyone really knows me, I’ve been through a lot…but who hasn’t so no victim here! I just have “stuff” to offer the bored readers! ✌️🤩
I haven’t been the golden child of World Class Life’s Best Choices and I have a lot of “woulda-coulda-shoulda’s” to pass along! 🏆🤡
I’ve learned sitting in the regrets of life gets you nowhere. Own your sh$t. That’s all I can say. Own it, then move on. Own it for yourself, no one else. You gotta live with yourself every day. Do you like it? Who are you living for? And why? Anyway, life happened. It sucks at times. Just own it. Is it easy? Hell no! Does it take time? Yup! Can someone do it for me? Ha!
Ok, so from here you just have to know all your pain and suffering can only absorb itself into you. It doesn’t “move on”, “go through” or “go” anywhere. I know everyone says that. I say it too and it’s dumb. Life doesn’t really “go on” / I mean it does but you know what I’m mean? It is always with you. The pain is always there - it just surfaces differently at different times. It’s always there so it’s our job to find a way to make it’s home within.
Sorry. What, you want an easy answer? You want someone to come save you from all the pain and suffering you’ve been through (or punishing yourself for)?
Not gonna happen. Only you can control it. I know, I know, it is not fair. Sometimes it’s too overwhelming to “control” and that’s ok! Every ounce of you has changed because of [trauma, death, pain, hurts] it’s who you are now.
We’ve all had times of pain, joy, grief and victory. We also all have choices. What choices will you make because of your life’s experiences? It may change day to day…just believe there is hope for a better tomorrow (even if you don’t want one). There is one waiting for you to find it. 🥰
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO LIVE! Even if you made more mistakes after the other 10 million! Pick yourself up! Life is as good as you make it. And: don’t ever beat yourself up if you have days you feel you “can’t make it.” Trust me, you can. Tomorrow is a new day. 💛🕊