Good news! I have recently reconciled with an old friend. My facebook status could read: “Krysia is in a healthy relationship with…the question mark, each and every one of them.”
As human beings on planet Earth, most of us interact with questions on a daily basis. In fact, life could be described as your own personal dance with the ebb and flow of question marks. Early January 2011, my questions ranged from “How do I truthfully, yet compassionately, write this report card comment?” to “Where’s the chocolate?”
Then the accident happened. Unknowingly, PTSD had set in. When the cognitive fog of shock/denial eventually cleared, I was absolutely devastated by the sudden invasion of question marks, not only dealing with the accident itself but with every aspect of my life. It seemed that there was an army of question marks circling me, bouncing off my head and lurking in every crevice of my existence. Pure overwhelm! I could easily fill a journal with lists of questions that I had, and still have. Essentially, when trauma happens, the puzzle of your life explodes and all that is left are questions, lots and lots of questions.
Beware, dear friends, of any human being or system that attempts to forcefully answer your own questions. Part of the empowered journey is to stay true to your own personal values while cultivating a professional support system that will compassionately educate and help you. After all, dealing with trauma is not a one-human show! I’ll never forget my appointment at a well-known pain clinic. After a thorough examination, the doctor declared, “You’ve been dealing with this (the pain) for a long time. You know that you’re not going to get through this without it.” The “it” was a combination of nerve block injections, pain killers and drugs. While I was uncomfortable with a treatment plan that relied 100% on addictive pharmaceuticals, it was this doctor’s attitude that perplexed me the most. Was this the type of professional support that served me best?
I wish to thank this pain clinic doctor for our interaction. There are 2 main reasons:
1) When I was later referred to another pain clinic, I could quickly identify a pain specialist who displayed both integrity AND a wealth of knowledge that went beyond drugs and fear-based messages. What a contrast!
2) Most of all, it helped me clearly define what I truly desire from professional support.
With grateful heart, I am proud to say that my professional circle of support is: A group of highly intelligent professionals who are passionate about their fields of expertise AND compassionate with their clients. They help me navigate the question marks of trauma, one step at a time.
In spite of my spectacular support system, I have a confession to make: For nearly 5 years, I have secretly waged a war on the question mark. I have silently resented the invasion of all the unanswered questions that trauma has brought into my life. What an anxiety-provoking mindset! This past week though, I asked myself if a redefinition would possibly be helpful here. What if, instead of viewing question marks as an army attacking me, I viewed it as something more calming and life enhancing? Right then and there, using the power of visualization, I transformed my menacing army of questions into a massive melodic choir. At this moment, the question mark choir is serenading me with an old hymn that my grandmother used to sing:
“Many things about tomorrow,
I don’t seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.”
Come closer, all you question marks, and let me embrace you.
Just for this moment, let me hold you close until…
my fears are replaced with curiosity and
my anxiety slowly melts into calm.
Photo Credit: Header by LisaSharpeArt