Friday started innocently enough in the same way that many of my mornings start… a cup of water, a banana, then slowly enjoying a cup of coffee as I scroll through Facebook.
Blood. Injury. Pain. Trauma. Wounds. Pain. Punctures. Ripped flesh. Nails. Pain. The pictures jumped out at me. They weren’t pretty. They were traumatic. And filled with misery and pain.
With comments about love and thankfulness and joy and grace and love scattered here and there. There was a lot about love.
Something inside of me was disturbed. Pain is love? Love is pain?
The sharp contrast didn’t compute in my brain. It was jarring. Trying to reconcile the two made me feel nauseous. It gave me a headache… and a heartache.
The pain and misery was being showcased like a trophy… even being glamorized.
Pain should never be glamorized.
Every cell in my body was on edge.
Feeling the trauma.
Feelings of helplessness.
Reliving the pain of having over half of my body injured.
Wounds, fractures, lacerations, punctures, bruises and more.
Oh, the pain. The pain never stopped.
Every kind of pain… sharp, dull, deep, bruised, burning. Intense pain.
And the pictures showed a person in that kind of pain. While some sadness was expressed, overall the idea was that this person’s misery, trauma, and pain was a good thing.
After all, it was “Good Friday”.
You see, it wasn’t just any Friday, it was what’s known as Good Friday on the Christian calendar. And the person in pain in those pictures was Jesus. Or to be more accurate, pictures of what people thought Jesus might have looked like.
Subconsciously deep within my psyche and my cells, memories, which according to my counselor are now part of my DNA, were stirred. The physical pain. The emotional misery. It was all there. This happens occasionally. Seeing someone else’s pain will do it, and now seeing pain being glamorized added to my raw feelings.
Pain should never be glamorized… even if the outcome is considered good.
I swallowed. It was hard with the lump in my throat. I wanted to stuff the feelings. To ignore them. To pretend they weren’t there. I hadn’t felt anything like this for some time. I forgot how bad it feels. I wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.
I took a deep breath. I’ve learned enough over the years to know that being real and feeling what I’m feeling is the only way to live well. I decided to feel. To stay in the now. To process. To not ignore, pretend or cover up.
Yes, I will feel my pain… but I will not glamorize it, because once pain is felt in every fiber of your being, it’s impossible to glamorize pain.
I posted a knee-jerk reaction from the post-traumatic-stress-fueled feelings swirling in me…
Within a few minutes of posting it, it dawned on me that people who haven’t had severe trauma/pain don’t know what it’s like. There’s no way they can really know. While they can try to imagine, try to place themselves in someone else’s shoes, try to understand… there is no way of knowing what it’s really like. And that’s a good thing!
I don’t wish trauma or pain on anyone… so I’m happy for everyone who doesn’t know what it feels like.
So I couldn’t blame my reaction on what others did or didn’t do. They don’t realize that pictures like that can trigger PTSD in people like me. Before pain was part of my DNA, I might have done something similar, though for as long as I can remember I’ve had questions about the brutality and the pain in the Good Friday/Easter story. (a post for another day)
They were simply posting pictures of something that meant something to them. I do that all the time. So just like my reaction wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t their fault either. Instead I had to process and do what I could with my own experience.
So what should I do?
The first step was to not allow myself to see more images like that. No use adding insult to injury. To heap pain on pain. Looking back at my update I realized that I had been (unconsciously) trying to control the pain welling up inside of me by trying to manipulate circumstances that were outside of my control.
This is a free country and Facebook is a free country, thing, or whatever it is… so people can post whatever they wish. So instead of passively aggressively trying to control others, I needed to control myself.
I needed to take a Facebook break for the weekend.
So that’s what I’m did.
Words included in Because I Can swirl through my mind…
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond.” - Lou Holtz
So I’m choosing how I respond.
I’m acknowledging my pain.
I’m pausing as I feel waves deep within.
Being aware of the way my inner being shudders.
Even tensing up from time to time.
I’m feeling the pain, the emotions, the memories.
Recognizing that every cell in my body has a memory.
The memories might have been dorment for a time.
But my counselor said they could be triggered occasionally.
And that’s okay.
These feelings are normal.
My reaction is normal.
Post traumatic stress symptoms.
Allowing myself to feel what’s happening will bring another measure of healing.
Being aware, reflecting, taking deep breaths.
I retreat into myself for a time, but I know staying there isn’t wise.
I make a meal, taking extra time to appreciate the process.
I welcome home a son for the weekend.
I enjoy catching up with him and his friend.
The undercurrent of waves is still there, but it’s calmer.
Who knows when they will be dormant again.
But life goes on and I will live it…
While doing what I can to be aware.
To take care of myself. To make choices to live well.
Feeling, being aware, taking deep breaths…