PTSD: I Will NEVER Remember
By Melinda Cochrane
It was after a late term miscarriage that I began to feel a fear that I could not explain or justify. I was afraid. I didn’t feel safe and I began to distance myself from everyone. I went to a doctor to ask what was wrong. She could not exam me without me being absolutely terrified. It was this doctor who got me the help I needed. I’d also been assaulted and the combination of the two events left me in what I now know was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I went to see a psychologist who talked me through past trauma. But it was with him that I discovered the parts of my life that were forgotten. The parts my brain shut out. We did a session where he asked me to press a gadget if I remembered what was happening to me at different stages of my life. It was here, at this place that I saw myself in a forest on the ground. I was very young. I cannot be sure what age I was as the event is a blur. I only remember a man, an old man and the smell of smoke. I felt the sensation of my body numbing, but past this point I have absolutely no recall. I am not sure what town it happened in or location. I just know he turned to me and said, “you were raped, and at a very young age. Do you remember telling me this?” I did.
I went to talk to him a few times after this, but suddenly found a renewed sense of life. You see, the wise doctor who cared for me at this time gave me some wisdom. She said, “Why unlock what could ruin your mind and life?” Some would argue against this. But for me, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be told – you are allowed to forget and move on. And I did exactly that. I raised my beautiful daughter, and I lived life.
Do I ever wonder? No. I thank whatever power there is above for allowing me to protect my mind and memory from the person(s) who hurt me. I believe they now have no power over me because of it. I don’t remember and I don’t want to. And, it is the right of all survivors. We are allowed to live. Our perpetrators don’t control our lives.
In all of this, I have been able to forgive the past and move on. I’ve developed strategies to cope as well as ways to turn negativity into positive actions. Positive actions create positive life results. I’ve shared my story to try to help others do the same. You see, after suffering many traumas in my life, childhood parental abandonment by my father, then his early death at 36, and then alcoholism from outside forces that came to replace my father.
I learned early how to cope and how to succeed through what was often chaos in my life. I became a teacher and went to university. I went on to become a tenured teacher, then a writer and small business owner mentoring and helping other writers become published. I interviewed Maya Angelou, one of the dreams I held for a long time as a university student. I refused to give into past pain.
I developed what I call creating your own destiny creativity. Something I pass on to many students to this day. Destiny creativity is a mindset- a way of seeing life as a series of positive reactions rather than negative ones that could be detrimental to your health and life. In every bad moment, I found a reason- in loss I found a story. It is something I’d like to teach you.
You see, in our lives right from birth, we are given a life circumstance that can be out of our control. As adults, however, we learn to control this. But, for some, it is just that- control. It isn’t living past the place of physical. They have not learned to meditate to the place of the subconscious awareness- a place where harmony and love can be found as one entity in unison with the physical. Our bodies are not the only parts of us- it is our soul that we keep untouched and it is in the soul where we find our dreams.
How do I teach those in pain to create a destiny? I can only suggest how to get to your destiny or find your happiness. For me, it was writing. Writing began at a very early age as most of your destiny creativity does. It is the one thing you go to that helps you cope. For some, it might be a childhood memory of a toy or a place. But, what usually happens, is this place or object or coping skill is forgotten. It is when we tap into the energy- and yes some of the negative energy, that we find these things. It was through PTSD that I discovered writing was my coping strategy. It was writing that allowed doors of my life to open when most of them I wanted closed. As a child, I wrote about being a teacher, and yes, a writer. My sister remembers an almost obsessive exclusiveness with it.
Today, rather than seeing my pain as pain, I see it as purpose. I set out to publish, to meet writers- to talk to them- like Maya Angelou- and to create a mission for others to discover their destiny as well.
I let my coping strategy become my life.
Most of you would ask me how to find this. I found mine by following a set of steps:
- Seek therapy to help yourself recover from PTSD.
- In therapy discuss positive coping strategies. Write down a list of strategies.
- Outside of therapy, discover yourself again. You can do this by taking time to be alone. Find out who you are by writing a list of things you enjoyed as a child. There is always something.
- When you discover your favorite thing, break it down into possible ways to use it to help others. Giving creates a positive feeling within and will help you adjust your thinking about the past.
- Forgive your past. Forgive it over and over and chose to be kind to you. Kindness is a choice we make and people don’t always understand this. Choose it and live it. Do simple things to say to yourself, I love you.
- When you’ve developed your own coping strategies, learn to use them effectively.
- You will have bad days and use your coping strategies list to find the one that works for you on this day.
- Turn your pain into a success plan. How can you now take what you know as your destiny moment as a child and help others.
- Create a working business around it. If it is drawing- teach others to use this as well.
- Mentor others and find your destiny creativity within the helping. You probably know what it is already- you simply haven’t taken time to identify it as such.
I have achieved using this mindset, two university degrees, a teaching career, a writing career and a small business. I used it to buy a home and I used it to help me move toward more ways to help others. In total, I have published over 40 different authors independently. I have published 150 writers in anthologies. I have published my own books and I also teach students every year of the positive destiny they can have and the beauty of the written word.
Every human being is entitled to live a peaceful, purposeful existence. Why not discover your own destiny creation? It is never too late to turn your wounds into wisdom.
Melinda Cochrane is a poet, and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, MCI Writers House for aspiring writers, based out Montreal Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, (ympmedia1network, LLC). Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller’s list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.
Melinda received the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship for Poetry from the North Carolina Writers Network. And was also a winner of the summer Malahat Review weekly Monostich Contest. She’s published work in the Quills literary poetry journal, as well as Red Fez and Poetry Zoo online poetry journals. She’s read in Bournemouth England, North Carolina, and Montreal’s ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change’, as well as a number of book launches and other events. Her speaking engagements focus on healing, finding your passions and executing them. She is also a writing coach to several of her writers. Her teen novel Desperate Freedom was nominated by the Quebec Writer’s Federation for book of the year. Melinda was also a long list winner for the Fermoy International Poetry Contest. Also recently published with Digitalbog.com, Manhattan New York, Behind The Pen, a love story also available at melindacochrane.com. She was also host on a blog radio show called Melinda Talks with Dr. Maya Angelou being one of her most well known guests.
I would love to know if this post spoke to you today, and if you have ever been able to turn your own wounds into wisdom?