Friday, February 29, 2008

I Want My Life To Make More Sense To Me, pt. 2

As part of my physical and psychological therapy, I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about what it means to deal with this trauma. A post by my friend Amy over at Incertus reminded me that there are other layers to the recovery, layers that go back to John Locke's murder at Arkansas in 2000 and follow the trajectory of the various ups and downs of my life since then. The conclusion I've come to as part of this whole reflection and growth process is that fully dealing with the trauma of the shooting almost a year ago also involves facing and confronting other unpleasant experiences.

The paradox of dealing with the trauma(s) is that you have to move on from something that will always haunt you. By this, I mean that you need to recognize and let go of triggers that set off anxiety attacks or flashbacks; at the same time, you can't push the feelings under the metaphorical rug. Holding on to the feelings ensures that you will never move on. Ignoring the impact of the trauma ensures that it will come back to haunt you later—in spades. Finding the proper balance here does not guarantee that you won't be haunted by random flashbacks and other traumatic pentimentos. Nevertheless, finding the balance gives the possibility of retaking your life.

What I have discovered lately is that there are basic steps that I have to take to get through the pain and anxiety. Taking on some personal design projects has helped. Making sure my kitchen is clean every night when I go to bed has helped. Making sure that my coffee table is empty has helped. Getting back into routines has been essential. Though small, each of these things has been part of the overall task of controlling my life, rather than letting random circumstance be the rule of the day—because random circumstance can be a cruel mistress.