Trauma PTSD and Growth


On the fourteenth of February, I wrote this short journal entry about the recovery process. From time to time I read through some of my old writing and journal entries. Tonight, I skimmed through recent journal entries and felt compelled to blog this entry. When I first read the title of Mandy’s blog Healing Beyond Survival/ A Blog About Post-Traumatic Growth I was intrigued because at times I’d felt like my brain was rewiring itself and allowing me to heal.

After reading this does anyone else feel like they are transforming with each episode? It seems counterintuitive, yet it makes all the sense in the world…

My brain must be undergoing “post-traumatic growth” as Mandy labels this change in perception survivors go through as therapy progresses and little bits and pieces fall out of my head and onto the page.
I can be in the middle of something and a piece comes back to me. I don’t always have time or the ability to write it down. I try to make time though.

Scraps of paper liter my house. Five in my purse. Two on the coffee table. Seven under my nightstand. As I paint, write, stare blankly at the TV, look up at the ceiling I’ll think of something and have to write it down.

I’m beginning to more clearly understand what happened to me. It is as if someone dumped a three thousand-piece puzzle all over my house and said good luck finding them all. The putting it together part is more complicated at times than finding each piece in the first place.

The biggest problem? All the pieces are tiny; many look almost identical. Yet, I’m slowly beginning to find several pieces and starting to put them together. Sometimes though a piece isn’t always in the right location so I start again.

Healing the body, mind and spirit is a gradual process, but a worthwhile one. One day, I hope to see the entire puzzle finished, but until then I’ll continue looking for the pieces and connecting what I’ve found. Freedom is worth the pain.

10 thoughts on “Trauma PTSD and Growth

  1. Alaina says:

    Ha ha, I relate to having scraps of paper with notes all over the place. Lately I’ve even started sending text messages to myself.

    Yes, I definitely do feel like my brain has rewired and is continuing to rewire as I heal, learn, and grow, especially in relationship with empathetic others. I am no longer the person I was just a few years ago. It’s cool and also a bit unnerving to realize how “plastic” our brains are.

    • bdlheart says:

      So glad I’m not alone in this habit. Although Shel S. was known to write on everything, including himself. Love his poems. Hopefully our paper collecting is a sign of great things to come. So funny about texting because a few months back I started entering thoughts on my iphone memo pad. The brain is really so interesting. I’m definitely a different person than I was two years ago.

  2. mandy smith says:

    bdl, I’m just reading this and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this post! I’m excited that you say you have all these pieces of paper, because #1. I want to reassure you that most of us do the exact same thing–ok, maybe it’s you. me. and Alaina! Still, this sounds so normal 🙂 #2. When I’m reading about those little thoughts you write down and then don’t quite know what to do with them, I think about how my memoir was conceived. It was in a prompt writing workshop I signed up for. (Not even knowing what that was. So, for 10 weeks, for two hours each week, this class facilitator called out one-line prompts that we were given 2 minutes to write anything on. All of those prompts triggered my childhood memories. Those became my little pieces of paper –my puzzle. And I didn’t even know I would eventually fit them together to write my story! So, I’d say, for now, every time you find one of those notes, put them in your little envelope or file, and now then, pull them all out. Use them as “prompts.” Read the note out loud and then say for the next 10 minutes (or whatever) write more from how it moves you. See what happens.
    I’m sorry for rambling. this just felt so familiar I had to tell you how it moved me. I love following your journey, bdl. I see so much change and movement in your thoughts and it’s really exciting when I see post-traumatic growth! ❤

    • Alaina says:

      Great suggestions!

      When I was writing my novel, I kept notepads, pens, and 3×5 cards everywhere. More than once I stopped halfway through my shower to write down an idea while shampoo and soap were running off of me. 😀

      • mandy smith says:

        Omg you sound so organized, Alaina! I’m going to try that for my next book. Maybe if I start out organized it’ll go faster 🙂

  3. Alaina says:

    Not organized, Mandy, just obsessed, LOL.

    Writing my mostly fictional novel was fun. Hard work, but fun work. Writing my totally true memoir, on the hand, is… how do I put this… I think my memoir is trying to kill me. 🙂

    • bdlheart says:

      I find putting my memoir together to be one of the most difficult writing tasks I’ve had to do. At first I thought it would be relatively easy because the story created itself. Then reality struck and I realized there are so many ways and angles to implement. What to leave in and what to leave out is even more complicated. Lol. But I know we will all be able to hold our memoir in our hands one day soon! Alaina what is he title of your novel? Can it be purchased on Amazon?

      • Alaina says:

        Everything you just said about writing memoir — DITTO. 🙂

        My novel… yikes. I think the book itself is pretty good, although I’m sure there are a lot of minor changes I would make if I were writing it today, it was published in April 2000 and my writing style has changed some since then, hopefully for the better. But other than that, there are a couple of reasons why I don’t promote my book at all, although I know it is still for sale on Amazon.

        First, the original publisher went out of business years ago, was bought by other publishing companies a couple of times since then, and the publisher who owns it now probably thinks I’m dead or else they are cheats who just don’t care, because I haven’t gotten a royalty payment in almost ten years — yet people tell me they are buying my book and reading it so there should be a dollar or two due me by now… I keep meaning to contact these new people and ask what’s up but I keep putting it off, don’t even know why. (Yes I do know why, I hate confrontation.)

        But aside from me never getting paid for what I wrote, there are two major problems with my novel. For one thing, the front cover that the original publisher put on my novel is absolutely hideous, it is so bad, it could win first prize in a worst front cover contest. I am embarrassed by that hideous cover. However, what’s even more embarrassing than the hideous cover, is this: my Author’s Bio on the back of my book, which *I* wrote, has two huge whopping lies in it — which I honest-to-God believed were true at the time my book was published!

        DEEP BREATH: My lying bio claims that I am descended from one US President and a distant cousin of another US President. The reason I believed this was because my mother and my father and my paternal grandmother all told me that we were related to these presidents. It was a story I heard repeated all throughout my childhood, a story I passed down to my kids and grandkids… until a few years ago when I got into genealogy and discovered that my family has NO PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTIONS whatsoever!! Then I had to tell my kids and grandkids that I had unwittingly been lying to them all their lives! Oh my goodness… when you come from a crazy set of Narcissistic parents you can’t believe anything they tell you, apparently. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name really was Tyler, yes… but we are not descended nor are we related in any way to President John Tyler. And my paternal grandmother’s maiden name really was Eisenhour, she is now buried in the Eisenhour cemetery in Missouri… but we are not distant cousins to President Dwight Eisenhower, not according to what I’ve found on Ancestry (dot) com.

        Grrrr. Talk about crazy-making!

        Oh my goodness, where was I… oh yes, you wanted to know the title of my book and whether it is for sale on Amazon. My book, published in April 2000, is available both in trade paperback and on Kindle as an ebook (the new publisher did that, I did not, someone told me a couple of years ago that when she went on Amazon to look for my book, there it was, available on Kindle! I really need to contact those people…)

        The title of my medical-thriller-romantic-suspense novel is: The Second Mrs. Robinson. It is published under my old pen name, Rebecca Rochelle.

        Eek I went a little nuts answering your question, didn’t I? I need therapy. Seriously, we haven’t been able to see our therapist for almost two months now due to bad weather, illnesses, and our therapist having jury duty. I don’t do so well without therapy, do I? 😉

      • bdlheart says:

        I would say you do pretty well considering. My therapist is sick this week and won’t have apt.going on 2 weeks and it freaks me out. No worries about the long response. I totally get that about avoiding conflict. Try to work through it and set those people straight because that is your hard work not the greedy publishers. I’m trying to avoid Kindle sales period because with this unlimited deal they can give your book away free forever if they want. When the time comes I’m thinking of using she write platform or going totally self published. I don’t want to give anyone a chance to pull a fast one. I dispise the level of dishonesty in this world. And do I ever know about lying. Years later I’m discovering many half-truths.

  4. bdlheart says:

    I could use some organization. Sometimes I misplace them. I wonder if I do this subconsciously because it is quite scary at times to put it in writing. Thanks for the advice ladies. I took a creative nonfiction writing class a year ago and it really helped me stay accountable and jogged my memory. Plan to enroll in more classes and workshops this spring. They motivate me, help me learn, and most importantly hold me accountable. Happy writing ladies!!!!!

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