I was recently invited to make a guest appearance on a podcast. The host of the MatChat Wellbeing Podcast, Mina Blair, is an author, podcaster and yoga teacher. Every week she offers words of encouragement and empowerment to her listeners. She discusses relevant topics with her guests. Mina is a wellbeing advocate, just like myself. So I was looking forward to chatting with another like-minded person. In the podcast episode ‘Finding gratitude after serious injury and healing PTSD through writing,’ we look at what can help us during times of hardship.
Towards the end of 2020, I had a terrible accident when a van hit me as I was crossing the road. I ended up in hospital with three fractured vertebrae. It was a life-changing event for me. The event has changed my outlook on life, and subsequentially my priorities, whilst also throwing up many challenges. A girl who travelled the world and moved countries several times during her life suddenly felt afraid to leave the safety of the hospital room. However, despite all the scars the trauma has left her with, she has found her silver lining amidst the clouds.
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Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
A week after the accident I started to experience flashbacks and several weeks later I got diagnosed with PTSD. And the event wasn’t the only one that was giving me nightmares and flashbacks. Unwanted memories from my previous traumatic events started to haunt me again. Something I wasn’t prepared for, having buried them away as part of my coping mechanism. Now, pandora’s box had opened again and however hard I tried to shut it, the memories always managed to find a way to creep out.
My stay in hospital and recovery at home both coincided with a Covid related lockdown. In trying not to lose my sanity I actually managed to find my silver lining. I took a pen and a piece of paper and emptied my head onto it. Whilst I couldn’t walk, I had two hands which served me well. After a break from writing that had lasted many years, I returned back to it. Writing became my therapy for which I was more than grateful. I was grateful for each new day as I was making progress in my recovery and put my thoughts on paper. I started to research about PTSD and created the Journeyofsmiley blog where I shared my experience with others. It is a blessing to have someone you can share your thoughts with and it was great to see the positive response from others. This gave me the idea to start the PTSD: My Story Project, a safe place for trauma survivors to share their own experiences. I always believed in the power of stories. Through sharing our stories we can help others and try to fight the stigma, for me sharing my story was also personally therapeutic.
Finding Gratitude in the Midst of Dark Clouds
Has the accident offered me an opportunity to heal myself and share my experience with others to show them they are not alone? Is it really possible to find beauty in difficulties? Finding gratitude when our life is shaken upside down might seem unlikely. We are so afraid of hitting rock bottom and getting broken. The thoughts of pain scare us, and we often try to delete painful memories from our life. But what if a bombshell breaks through the protective layer that you have built up? What if it opens up the pandora’s box that you have so forcefully kept shut?
Those moments are uncomfortable and painful, but what if these are exactly the moments that offer the opportunity to rebuild what has been broken? Can gratitude help us to find blessings in disguise?
Listen to Mina’s podcast about how gratitude can help you to not only survive the hardship but help you to come out the other side even stronger. Tune in here for more…
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