When I decided to risk the vulnerability of writing Getting Through What You Get Over, I knew the book needed to be much more than horrific stories with warm fuzzy endings. Real life rarely works out that way. We all know it.
Raw living is walking out healing one day at a time — for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a whole day can feel overwhelming. Often, it’s looking for help to get through the next sixty seconds. That’s why I included the Insider Insights at the end of each chapter, to offer quick bullet points tips, shared with people who’ve walked through some really tough valleys.
But I also wanted to address something few realize, unless they’re living it. Post traumatic stress is not a military problem only, there are far too many common traumas every day people battle.
- The parent who loses their child, long before the natural order.
- Family members who must deal with their loved one’s horrific murder or suicide often struggle in the aftermath with things like flashbacks and nightmares.
- An ongoing, smothering fear after losing the security of your home to foreclosure or your job to down-sizing.
- Those involved in accidents, such as vehicular, workplace, or freak events, can wrestle the wiley demon of PTSD.
- Symptoms such as over-eating, panic attacks, unhealthy spending habits, or others, rearing their problematic heads as a result of someone caretaking a chronically sick or terminally ill person for an extended period of time.
- Residual effects of bullying, either from childhood, a toxic workplace, or some other lopsided relationship balance.
- Family members of military personnel haunted by post traumatic stress.
These are just a handful of examples. The fact is, there are many walking wounded, stumbling like zombies through life, as a result of pain they try to bury or escape. One fresh example hit me square in the heart this past weekend.
I was helping at the resort I used to manage.
It was during a busy Saturday morning rush, where literally hundreds and sometimes thousands, of vacationing or daycationing guests, fight to get to the head of the line for their ticket to the river. In the midst of the madness, a female employee suddenly ran behind me, shouting expletives as she ran out the door.
Not knowing what the issue was, I took care of the people in front of me, but I contemplated what might make a person explode in such a violent way. Knowing anger is most often rooted in fear and/or unresolved grief, a few possible scenarios ran through my mind. So I kept vigil out of the corner of my eye, watching for the employee’s return.
Approximately twenty minutes later, I spotted her — thankfully, just as we were clearing the store. So I approached her gently, and asked, “Are you okay? It isn’t like you to use profanity in front of customers, or to behave in an unprofessional way, so I was surprised at your outburst. Did something happen to you?”
“I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly. But as she spoke next, her voice jumped several decibels as she expressed her pent-up rage. “The lady in front of me was making fun of autistic kids, and I have a son who’s autistic.” A single tear slipped off the right side of her chin.
“The woman laughed, and said, “Good one. That’s really funny.”
I told her, “I’m not joking. I really have an autistic son, and it’s not something to laugh about.”
The woman and her friends started making more mean comments. I’ve never in my life wanted to jump across the counter and punch a customer in the face, but I almost hit that woman. I had to leave before I did something really bad.”
I reached out and rubbed her upper arm. “I’m so sorry you experienced that. It must be hard, loving your son like you do, and feeling as if you have to guard his heart and welfare every moment of every day.”
“Exactly.” A look of relief softened her facial expressions and relaxed her body language visibly.
It was in that moment, I realized how traumatized this young mother was over the daily responsibility and emotional weight of caring for her son, who isn’t like all the other kids. And it reminded me again, that most of us have a story of tough circumstances. So I gave the employee one final piece of encouragement.
“When people are mean, rest in this reality. All of us have either gone through adversity, or we soon will, and just don’t know it yet. The woman who said those cruel things about children like your son, will one day face her own difficult days. She may or may not remember how she laughed at you, but God will not forget. He cares about what hurts us.” Then I gave her a big hug and allowed her to sob in my arms.
Traumatized people often act like trapped animals, avoiding contact, biting defensively, running for escape, barking aggressively. But their motive is protection. Soldiers do it, and so do ordinary people struggling to make sense of common traumas. PTSD isn’t just for soldiers anymore, it never was. Though we should all have deep compassion and concern for a military member’s pain, we must remember that many every day people are also traumatized. It isn’t a wound you wear on the outside, but one that festers inside the soul, hidden beneath your skin.
It isn’t easy dealing with trauma. It’s scary to step into unknown territory, daring to trust when you’ve been betrayed, fearing you can’t heal when life has left you scarred. Though instinct tells us to stay away from others, it’s when we discover we aren’t alone, that there are people who care, that God does see us and loves what He sees, that we find real hope — no matter what the source of our trauma. This is how real people walk out raw living, one healing day at a time…where fresh starts are made with fresh faith. Holding onto God and each other, in order to make it through.
Anita Fresh Faith
Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Anita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, body, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and Common Trauma Expert.
Anita is also an award-winning author. Her titles include Golden Scroll Finalist and Amazon best seller: Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, Barbour Publishing, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change: Insights Into Self Empowerment Book #4. Her books are available at major and independent bookstores, Amazon, plus several online retailers.
She fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research. Anita shares hope and encouragement on her Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast.
Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to transform battles into victories.
You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email email@example.com to request information on having Anita inspirationally speak or train at your next event.