Posted 12/10/2005 9:19 AM (GMT -7)
Please understand as you read this that the length of time it took to achieve comfort was determined years of stuffing. The sooner someone attacks a problem, the sooner they will get to a comfort zone.
The year I started getting better was 1983. By 1986 I was functioning well enough that another event that should have sunk my boat, didn't. Well, actually it did for a while, but that was the event that caused me to swear, I would never, ever again by thrown by life's events.
My official year for being well was 1989. That year, I began acting on my world again. That means, I was better enough to "handle" the daily events in the day. It doesn't mean I don't still cry sometimes. It doesn't mean I'm never sad or hurt. I means, I handle such times in the way least harmful to myself and those around me.
Since then I've had a few days of great upset. I cried or froze or got angry, but those had become signals that I needed new or to adjust coping skills. I could make choices about a course of action. I could stick to it or adjust it, if that was the prudent thing to do.
I've also had both good and bad ah-ha days, since then. That means some event triggered a sudden, unexpected understanding of past events. Those continue to this day. Last night, I was typing and out of nowhere, I realized another of the sneaky, harmful things my mother had done when I was very young.
In 1989 I would have been shaken by that and spent days and days thinking and trying to remember more about the event.
Between 1986 and 1989, I would phoned family members to find out out what was true.
Between 1983 and 1986, I would have latched onto that thought and had a civil war inside me. One side wanted truth and the other wanted to believe that people who was supposed to love me, did love me. Those civil wars immobilized me sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks and sometimes for months.
Before 1983, I would have stuffed that and all similar thoughts.
So I see being a survivor as having levels. For me:
pre 1983--the blind years, no idea that one day I would hit a wall
1983-1986--the civil war years, major recognition of horrible things
1986-1989--the search years, gaining understanding and acceptance of what has been
1989-2005--the adjustment years, learning new coping skills, and
the comfortable years, being fully functioning