Please welcome my very dear friend Lori as my guest blogger:
Becki Duckworth and I have been friends for over 12 years now, and we have some very unusual things in common. We met when our kids were in school together. Her son was going to take my daughter to a school dance and, being the protective mother that she is, she wanted to meet “this girl” in which her son was interested. So, the four of us had lunch together.
During that lunch, Becki and I recognized something in each other’s souls, and we connected like long-lost sisters. I’m just a year older than she. We grew up only about 90 miles from each other in the Midwest. We understand the subtle — and some not-so-subtle — nuances of Midwestern culture. Both of us have had near-death experiences, and both of us suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder following a bizarre series of tragedies in our respective lives.
PTSD is one of those things that cannot possibly be understood unless one has experienced it — not unlike divorce, death of a child, or one of the other myriad tragedies that can befall anyone given the random nature of fate. It is based in fear that rips your consciousness from the present moment and places you back in the past — during which said traumatic events took place — causing the trauma of those past events to be relived over and over again, and to be projected onto the “movie screen” of the future in one’s mind. Thus, it prevents its victims from feeling the joy and peace that can only be attained by living in the present moment. PTSD creates an immobilizing state of fear that, if not addressed, can destroy a person. Guilt is also one of PTSD’s other unwelcome gifts.
To escape the fear and guilt, we learn to distract ourselves. We work ourselves to death. We go over-the-top in caring for others’ needs, but that same guilt-driven urge prevents us from taking care of our own needs. However the pain is never washed away by such distractions. It is buried under a pile of dirty laundry. And the ongoing, festering pain gets to the point that it stinks to high heaven and can no longer be ignored. Yet, excavating that deep pain is a painful process in and of itself. Great. Pain a la pain. It takes a
superhuman effort and tremendous strength to go there.
For years we may continue distracting ourselves with work and addressing others’ needs versus our own. To stop the frenetic pace of our lives would mean that the inner voice screaming for attention is no longer muffled. That voice may be telling you that the path you’ve been on is not working for you. It may be telling you that you need to put the brakes on, engage in introspection, and learn to love and nurture yourself. This is not to be confused with selfishness. This is, in fact, a healthy self-love.
Becki is one of the most loving, courageous souls I have ever know. She can see past the flaws in a person that would cause most of society to dismiss them and throw away the key. Instead, Becki sees the good in people. And, she has had the courage it takes to let the inner voice scream the truth, and to love herself enough to remove herself from the path of harm’s way by limiting contact with toxic people.
In helping herself (in such a public way through her blog), she is shining a light on the path for countless others. Like her friend Stef Hurst commented on Becki’s blog, “Your testimonies will save lives. You were chosen because you would survive to save the rest.” We are all looking forward to reading your book, Becki. It will be a beacon for so many in need.