If you are in crisis contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is accompanied with depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, sensitivity to noise, and memory loss. When I was first diagnosed I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know how to handle it or how my life would change. I felt weak and useless. With time and lots of work I built a tool kit of coping mechanisms that serve to help me maintain stability. Today I live a beautiful life. Below are the 7 ways I live a full life with PTSD.
- I acknowledged that I have a mental illness. Acknowledging that I have a mental illness meant I accepted that my “normal” had changed. It meant that I could now conquer this obstacle and make it work for me. It meant that I would learn to love myself again and live a full life. Had I not done so, I would still be in denial, fighting suicidal thoughts and hating myself. I could not fix what I did not acknowledge.
- I am honest about what PTSD includes and what that means to me. I quickly learned that PTSD wasn’t a single ailment, but a culmination of different illness. With the advice and guidance of professionals, I learned that each needed to be dealt with individually and proactively instead of reactively.
- I developed a tool kit. My tool kit included coping mechanisms that helped me stay out of a state of crisis. The tools I use to maintain stability are medication, meditation, healthy diet, exercise, rest, gratitude, counseling and learning when to say no. Most of these tools are used daily and others are used when necessary, but all work together to help me stay stable.
- I work to shape my life around my needs. One of the many reasons I started Butter Angels is to develop a life based on satisfying the needs of my family and my health. Running my own business meant I could work in a manner that wouldn’t trigger my weaknesses.Like many new entrepreneurs, I continue to work a full time job, run my business and care for my family. To maintain stability I utilize the tools in my tool kit. I remove nouns from my life that prevent me from utilizing those tools.
- I am determined to live my life fully. Life is too short to live in regret and by someone else’s rules. If I am going to remain on God’s green earth, then I am going to do it on my terms. I am going to live as full a life as humanly possible. A full life means that I am present for my family. A full life includes developing as a person so that I have the sense to appreciate it. A full life means that I openly and honestly identify my dreams and then start to make them reality.
- I identify my motivators. Sometimes it is hard. My depression takes a hold and it’s hard to shake. Sometimes my anxiety prevents me from doing tasks that I need to dive into. Other times I’m overwhelmed and can’t get it right. In those times I look to my family and my desire to live, to push me forward. I focus on the things that matter most to me as motivators to use my tools to reestablish stability.
- I forgive myself often. It would be easy for me to give up and sink into self pity. Resting in that dark space has it’s own source of comfort. It requires no work of me. It asks nothing of me to maintain that state of sorrow. However, in that dark space there is regret. In that space I have permission to disrespect myself and feel as poorly as is needed to remain that darkness. Like many other people, on some level, I still buy into the stigma of mental illness. To stay out of that space, I forgive myself often. I remind myself that I have a chemical imbalance. As long as I utilize the tools in my tool kit and live with integrity, I have nothing to be ashamed of.
If you are in crisis call contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
If you suffer from mental illness, remember that you can live a full and beautiful life. I’ve been able to do so by acknowledging my illness, being honest about what it includes, developing a tool kit, shaping my life around my needs, remaining determined to live a full life, identifying my motivators, and forgiving myself often.
Share tips of how you live a full life with mental or physical illness.