I have this bumper sticker and everyday when I get into the car I read it. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve done a great deal of thinking lately about how we and our thoughts about ourselves shape our reality. I think it follows writing Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets.
I wish, I had known at an earlier age that I am, in fact, not my story but life has a way of unfolding just as it should, when it should.
I also know that I am not my thoughts. I don’t have to believe them especially when what they are telling me isn’t what reality is showing me. It causes a great deal of suffering when we let our thoughts control our life.
A great deal of conversation goes on within the adoptee community about PTSD but most of us suffer from other trauma’s, post primal wound, that also classify as criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD. Since this is Bell’s “Let’s Talk” week in Canada I thought it was a good time to bring up the subject again. Having open conversation about mental health is crutial to eliminating the stigma and providing a way to speak out.
I don’t have to describe what the symptoms of PTSD are to most of you reading this and if you need further clarification, please take the time to look it up. It brings me back to my many years of trauma, the rapes, the abuse, the feelings of unworthiness related to being given away. It goes on and on. It also boils down to believing those thoughts now or not.
I lived from a place of fear most of my life. Fear of being found out, fear of not being good enough, fear of being unloveable, fear of not belonging, fear after fear. All, based on thought. Some of those belief systems as adoptees know, are so deeply rooted it takes years to uncover them and try to untangle the roots imbedded in our psyche.
Ultimately, everything we want, everything we are looking for is inside us already. When you go inside and find your own happiness you discover that what already exists is unchanging, immovable, ever present….just waiting for you to find it. You are the only one that can end your own suffering.
I know! Go figure. It’s as simple or as complicated as you chose to make it. Even those of us with severe PTSD can, with work and love for self are able to emerge from the darkness we have existed in. No teacher needed, although it helps to have a guide, a support, a spiritual base but ultimatly its you and only you that can change your thoughts. You can decide to not believe everything you think.
There are, of course times we need various methods to assist us along the way. Don’t get me wrong. Appropriate care is mandatory if you are not at a place in your life where you can manage. I can only speak for myself and now in my 6th decade as much as I accept that life works in ways that it’s meant to. I am astonished at the depth of pain and fear I lived in. As an imposter. As a chameleon. As someone not present in today.
I’ve heard the lesson many times in my Buddhist teachings….If you are not living in your own life, if you are living in someone else’s business you will only bring suffering to yourself. So, if you are mentally living in someone else’s business and are feeling hurt or lonely pay attention. You are not living in your own life.
Having lived in a state of severe PTSD and disassociation for many years I can now recognize with clarity the past triggers and the belief systems that kept me safe until I was ready to dig through the dirt and uncover them one by one. Reunion was the catalyst and my writing became my therapy. I relived each and every moment of trauma that had been locked away for so long. I could smell the smells and feel the fear and pain. I was there. Right there. Momemt by moment in each story told and I now understand why it was hidden for so long. I had to live. To survive. To care for ailing adoptive parents and most of all care for my daughter. There wasn’t time to open The Wall of Secrets. There wasn’t time to allow myself to break down the walls and let the barriers fall.
I knew once I opened those drawers that held my secrets my world would change drastically and I wasn’t sure I could get to the other side in one piece. I became totally fragmented during the process and everyone around me just figured that’s who I was, never thinking of the magnitude of the process of reunion and all the primal wound brings along with my life traumas. Interesting, now that I can reflect on the past few years. Why didn’t they see? Why wasn’t there compassion and understanding instead of irritation and dismissal?
That’s why, this week is important. People need to speak out, educate, speak their own truths about depression, anxiety, disassociation, whatever it is you suffer from. The only way one will find understanding and throw off the stigma is to speak out loud or in-between the covers of a book.
Back to us…back to us and our thoughts.
A thought really is harmless unless you believe it. It’s not the thought itself but the attachment to the thought that causes our suffering. Once you attach to it, you believe it to be true. Without inquiring, without question you/we believe it.
Imagine! All those nasty, demeaning, harmful, despicable thoughts….are nothing more than that. Yet, when we get attached to them we believe them to be so. Can you imagine if…just if…it weren’t so..if they weren’t true and all this time, you “thought” they were!
This subject, i think will have to be several blogs as it’s so much of human conditioning and I so want to write my way and your way through this process to a place where we KNOW we aren’t our thoughts.
You can’t control them. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s possible, it isn’t but what you can do is meet them with understanding. They will, then, let go of you.
It’s a practice. It’s a process. This being aware of our thoughts, Inquiring if they are in fact true and then letting them go with perhaps a chuckle. Say to yourself..hmm..now that was interesting..why on earth would I think that to be true.
A Facebook post has resurfaced the last few days. One that is especially pertinent for trauma victims, PTSD, Adoptees. Perhaps you aren’t aware it even exists. We do the best we can at the time and as we grow and open our walls of secrets we learn that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and walk through the discomfort and pain to expose our coping skills and with time change them. I’ll post it at the bottom and you can give its some thought. I want to look at the thoughts behind some of my suffering over the years in my next post. I have many and I’m still digging them out and I’m also discovering that most of them just aren’t true. You will find the same. I promise.