There were many things in my life that were not planned nor desired. Developing PTSD certainly was not one of them. Nor was the assault that lead to it.
For me, it was like waking up in a foreign country.
An outsider, within my own life.
Josee St Onge was a teen in our West Island Youth group in the 80’s. We love our Lakeshore family and we’ve kept in touch over the years. She posted this story in early 2017. I reached out to Josee in light of “Me Too” and asked permission to share her story here. Thank you, Josee.
Even the simplest of tasks required a revision of each step in order to be able to accomplish it. At times, I did not feel much. At other times, I felt too much. Caught between two elusive worlds, I clung to anything that would help me to stay present.
The laughter of my children was the first thing to seep in.
Sleep was my enemy. But being awake was not my ally.
Every cell in my body felt like it was irritated and angry. Utilizing every ounce of my energy. There were no reserves to access. No clear healing path to follow.
And then a thought occurred to me.
I had survived the worst. It was time to just be.
Be who I need to be at the moment in order to move forward. Letting go is far less painful but rather a scary thing to do. Allowing myself to feel, transformed me into something unexpected. Showing me that there is no shame in taking a step back in order to reconnect with my innate self.
Over time, we seem to lose this connection and define ourselves through our career, family status, age or religion. But these are not who we are as spiritual beings – merely the costumes we wear as we progress through the various stages of life.
I assure you that as a nurse, care giver and mother of three. I had lost that connection long ago. Sacrificing, giving, guiding, teaching and loving. All wonderful, in their own ways. But all draining of fuel that if not re-filled, may lead us to feel empty and resentful.
The world will take as much as you are willing to give. Giving is needed. However, giving without accepting is maladaptive, counterproductive and draining.
I found myself, completely depleted. I needed to be refueled.
Enter Soap Making
Through old-fashioned hand crafted soap making, each of my senses began to awaken one at a time.
Creativity started to bubble up from deep within my soul.
I let it.
Slowly, inspiration took over.
It was like welcoming home an old friend. One that had been lost, yet returned like not a day had gone by without. Creativity was the friend that showed up and carried me when I could no longer carry myself.
PTSD No Easy Road
It seems odd to say that soap saved me.
But it truly has.
Along with the help of a qualified therapists and the support of family and friends! It would have been way too easy to numb my pain with drugs or alcohol.
I can understand why one would want to.
Trusting that we somehow have the internal resources to deal with the unimaginable is perhaps the most difficult part of the healing process.
Creativity is an old friend. This old friend and I, have a long healing journey ahead.
But once past it, I will surely keep it around.
I could never undo the amount of internal growth that it has helped me to achieve.
I do not see myself as broken. But rather, broken open.
On those challenging days, finding even the smallest of joys may help ground us.
It can be as simple as enjoying our favorite tea.
Or applying a scented hand cream.
A few minutes of taking in the life around us can make the world of difference.
I am excited about today.
I am excited about the future.
But most of all, I am excited about the deepened person I have become.
APPLICATION: You are not alone. Thank you for your courage and the hope your story offers. Please leave a comment for Josee by posting below. Thank you.
I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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