It didn’t take long for the counselor to figure out what was wrong. Within a few sessions it became obvious that I had some form of PTSD. (I had suspected that myself, but it was a relief to hear someone else confirm it.) She also added to that, as there were another few issues as well. Strategic Survival Personality and Boarding School Syndrome…big words! What did those mean? Are they actually real issues? Or were they just some form of psychobabble?
It seems that there were quite a few reasons for this diagnosis. I guess that experiencing war, violence, and abandonment were quite traumatic, and had a long term effect.
When I studied counseling a decade ago, there were a few issues that I realized that I “might” be dealing with. But then, don’t we all start diagnosing ourselves when we study psychology? Everything and everyone seems messed up at that point. After all, dig deep enough, and most people seem to struggle with some issue or another. What made mine any more significant? Plus, I had God on my side. What else did I need? I really didn’t have any issues that prayer couldn’t solve. Right?
That’s what being a survivor was all about. Surviving. I spent decades giving myself pep talks. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Saara…other people have a much harder life than you have. Be grateful! Be thankful! You have food and shelter, as well as a loving husband and family, what else do you need? Why are you angry? You are just acting like a spoiled, self-entitled brat!!” And so on…
I just needed to have more faith. That’s where the answers were. God knows our struggles and our pain. Why do we need to talk about them to someone else? Prayer and studying the word should be enough! After all, I was trying my very hardest to be a good, and authentic Christian.
Trying to articulate the anger, disappointment, fear and hopelessness was very difficult. I didn’t have proper words for them. I didn’t really know what they felt like on a gut level. I just sensed that I felt them…somehow. And for the most part, I held them down, deep inside, only to release them for a little bit when I was feeling a bit hormonal. But it became obvious that feeling envy, when one hears of a suicide, wasn’t healthy. Something was going on.
Why did death seem so attractive? Is it because it would take me close to God, or because I couldn’t cope any more? Was there something wrong with my health? Or maybe this was a spiritual battle?
to be continued…..