The Mirror That Helps Me Live With PTSD
I stand in front of a mirror. Not the kind of mirror that reflects your outside self — the kind that reflects your psyche. It’s a mirror that reflects how you think, emote and feel. It’s a mirror that reflects back the years of psychological and emotional damage you have been through. I call it my inner spirit mirror.
It took a lot of courage to approach this mirror the first time. I was terrified because I knew that if I tried to stand in front of this mirror before, I wouldn’t have seen any reflection. I felt like a nobody with no body. But something compelled me to look at the effects of trauma and how it damaged my mind and spirit and left my soul in tattered ruins.
Countless times, I could only look into that mirror for mere seconds before running away because of shame. But I was determined to keep going back. Each time I went back, I had more courage to view my reflection and I started to name what I saw. Even though it was difficult to see myself, I’m glad I was brave enough to stand in front of that mirror and look deeper into my spirit.
At first, all I could name were the lies that were told to my soul — the lies that perpetrators tell their victims to legitimize what they are doing or have done. At that time, all I could see was the hurt, pain, fear and wretchedness of the first 20 years of my life.
Then, to my amazement, as I stood steadfast in front of my spirit mirror, I began to see a light emerge from my core. The reflection of who I am, who I want to be and what they couldn’t take from me started emitting a stronger and stronger beacon of hope. At first, it was hard to trust the truth of the mirror. I could have turned away and continued to believe the lies, or I could believe my truth and trust my reflection.
Today, when I stand in front of my inner spirit mirror, I see my reflection. I acknowledge the courage it takes to stand there and refuse to look away because of shame. Now, my inner light shines through, giving me hope that I have the ability to face each day, to stay the course and continue to heal and grow. I have the ability to trust and believe that, at times, I’m still experiencing the chokehold of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms — but what I see is the true reflection of me.
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Thinkstock photo via TiagoBaiao