Today I put air in my tires all by myself. Last week, Seth left for work before me while it was still dark outside, and I stayed to finish getting ready. I’ve come home and entered an empty house by myself multiple times after the sun has gone down. I’ve been parking in the garage lately even if that means there’s no car in the driveway to show that someone is home.
Such small, mundane things to the average person, but these are things I haven’t been able to do in almost three years. I couldn’t be more proud of myself when I consider how imprisoned I’d been by my fear and anxiety. PTSD does change a person. There’s no going back, but finally, I think that’s okay.
A couple of weeks ago, I actually thanked the Lord multiple times for the brain that He’s given me. I had two really successful conference presentations that went better than I ever could have expected. I’ve always recognized that teaching comes from God. That’s why it’s so fun; I know I couldn’t do it by myself. Anyway, this is the same brain that was altered while running for my life. The same brain that went to hours of psychotherapy to retrain my thoughts. The same brain that I regularly hated and asked if there were any way I could get a new one because my thoughts were so out of control.
Through therapy, Krav Maga, and time, I’ve become more proactive in fighting my brain. I can logically consider my reality and prepare situationally for the what if’s that used to paralyze me.
When I put air in my tires today, I was strategic about which gas station I pulled into. There was plenty of open space so I could see who was around me.
When Seth leaves the house in the morning, I lock up the house like Fort Knox and put my purse and keys near the door in case I need to make a quick exit.
When I’m the first one home, I check the outside of the house from my car. I do a quick walk through when I get inside, and I turn on several lights.
When I park in the garage while I’m at home, I open all the blinds so I can see out the front and the back. When I’m in each room, I consider what can be used as a barrier to throw between me and an intruder as well as what can be used as a weapon if I need to fight.
A couple of months ago, I decided to remove the pepper spray from my key chain. It’s still in my car, but if I’m ever attacked, I think I have a better shot at fighting back (after running or hiding of course) than trying to use my pepper spray.
I feel the strongest I have in a long time. I think that some of it is that I’m growing into my maternal instinct with my little sweet pea on the way. But I’ve also pushed myself to not remain stagnant in fear. Even on days where I’m still triggered or people think I’m a little over the top with precautions, I’m comfortable in my healing and “to wear my new life- warts, wisdom, and all- with courage.”