That took a huge chunk of time to realise, but I no longer feel guilty for being happy. It’s ok. It’s allowed.
Recovering from trauma and PTSD episodes is really hard, but once I let go of how I thought I should feel and just allowed myself to be……that’s when the miracles started to happen. The miracles of happiness and feeling that happiness right to my core. The miracle that I actually love who I am, and that’s how it should be. The miracle that allows me to trust people who aren’t my family.
As we move into autumn, here in the UK, we are also moving into a more restricted lifestyle once again. Not a full lockdown, but restrictions on what we can and can’t do.
The last full lockdown broke me. Yes, I was safe at home and I thank the Goddess every day for that. But CPTSD grabbed me and had me so hyper vigilant I was on the verge of a breakdown.
I’m in a better head space now, but I do not want to return to that dark place I was in earlier this year. With tighter restrictions imminent and the threat of another lockdown I’m left wondering what that will mean for me.
Trusting in the flow of life is something I’ve always struggled with. Trauma survivors have spent so long relying on their instincts and themselves, it’s quite difficult to put faith in anyone or anything else.
I’m tentatively putting my faith in myself and my husband as we negotiate the coming weeks and months. Putting one foot in front of the other, taking each day as it comes.
Something I get asked about quite often is “can I fix my reputation?” Those who ask are adult women who have had negative comments and lies spread about them, thus ruining their reputation.
It isn’t just school yard gossip, you would think once people had left school they would be adult enough not to resort to such actions. But the advent of social media has given people a platform on which to spew their gossip and lies.
It’s alarming to think that adults would resort to such tactics to harm the reputation of someone whom they dislike, or just act maliciously to remain popular.
Often people get told just to ignore the rumours and lies and gossip that has been spread about them, after all, this is what we are always told to do from an early age.
Quite frankly, I think this is part of the problem. That old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me is used from the formative years of our lives. We are being told to accept the bad behaviour of other people and just carry on as normal.
That never really works.
Once we reach adulthood we have a distorted sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to how we should treat other people, and how we should react – or not act. When we decide to take matters into our own hands and retaliate with some home truths about the gossip, we become the bully.
So is it any wonder people are seeking to repair their reputation?
I’ve talked to quite a few people about this and the jury is still out. There are those people who want more than anything to repair the damage to their reputation, and there are those people who shrug it all off. Either way is fine and neither way is better than the other.
I’ve found that a sullied reputation can often be based on gossip, lies, and misinformation. It isn’t necessarily always lies that ruin a person’s reputation either, quite often it is a lack of the correct information about the person or their circumstances that lead to gossiping and the ruin of their reputation.
It’s not always worth the time and effort to go around fixing your reputation, especially for strangers. They are unlikely to know much, or even care what is being shared about you.
But what about people you don’t know, but are connected to you through work, your personal life, the school where your children attend? Maybe it is worth fixing your image. Shying away from the problem isn’t going to make it go away, so proceeding down this route is probably the best option for you.
If you want to proceed with fixing your reputation then you should start a damage control campaign. But how do you go about this?
First and foremost you really need to assess the situation. You need to take stock of what is being said about you and look at why. If you have acted in the wrong make sure you apologise for your behaviour. Admitting you are wrong and owning up to your mistakes is a great action step, proving you are sincere in your efforts to rectify the situation.
If you have been acting in a negative way towards someone, or if you are acting in a harmful way then this needs to stop immediately. You need to be acting from a place of truth and in order to do so you must put all negative behaviour behind you and focus on acting in a positive way.
The next step is to ask for feedback from your family and trusted friends. Ask them if you have acted in the wrong, do they believe this was intentional, or do they know you made a mistake? Tell them what is happening, as upsetting as it might be to repeat any lies or half-truths about yourself, sharing them with someone you trust really helps determine if it is a case of misinformation about you, or indeed lies and gossip.
Start a DAMAGE CONTROL CAMPAIGN/REPUTATION REPAIR PLAN as soon as possible. Write down an actionable plan that you can work on to show you in the best possible light.
Own up to any mistakes and misunderstandings you have made. Sometimes what we don’t know or understand can lead to us being gossiped about, which isn’t really fair, but it happens nevertheless. If you’re in the wrong, own it.
Make amends for any mistakes, misunderstandings, or negative behaviours you have engaged in. This is quite a tough one. Sometimes people aren’t willing to give us a second chance, or they don’t believe that we really did act unintentionally. All you can do is stay positive, act positive, and keep on showing that you are not your mistakes.
It’s always worthwhile in engaging in positive behaviour. This can shed doubt on any untrue claims and lies someone is making about you. Act kindly. Be positive. Do good deeds. Actions like this show that you are sincere. But don’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. Some people will think that what you are doing is all an act and they will be waiting for you to make a mistake.
Don’t gossip or bad mouth people. This can be really tempting to do, especially when someone is letting rip about you. If needs be, take a break from social media. Change your social circle if the gossip is happening within it. Remember, everyone will be watching you, waiting for you to set a foot wrong, so let your best self shine through.
And finally, it is worthwhile to remember that sometimes a bad reputation is more about the person doing the damage than it is about you. It doesn’t stop the hurt though.
Today I thought I would add my opinion into the mix, my opinion on wearing face coverings. Although it isn’t a new subject, it remains controversial for a number of reasons.
On the whole I agree that face coverings should be worn when in highly populated areas, such as shops, hospitals, even pubs – the latter is one area where here, in England, you are not required to wear one.
I must admit that baffles me. Obviously, you couldn’t wear a face-covering whilst eating or drinking, but I do believe you should wear one as you enter the establishment, and if you use the restroom, and upon leaving. To my knowledge as it stands right now, this is not a requirement, the Government guidance suggests it is up to each establishment whether they ask customers to wear a mask until they are eating or drinking.
The debate rattles on about which masks work, and which don’t, which may cause you to be more at risk, and which masks are beneficial to those who have breathing problems.
It is the latter I want to discuss.
Do we, the ordinary people – so not law enforcement officers, or health professionals, or even retail workers – have the right to challenge another person who is not wearing a mask?
My younger daughter is severely asthmatic, and yes is a higher risk of complications should she get COVID-19. But after an in-depth discussion with her doctor, she was advised not to wear a mask. She had tried on several occasions to wear her mask, and each time she became very breathless and had to remove the mask and take her inhaler.
She has a card that states she is exempt – on the advice of her doctor, who also told her that at the moment Government advice is that medical professionals are not required to provide patients with proof of exemption. Apparently, the onus is on each person to explain why they are exempt, and, should they feel the need, get themselves a card that says they are exempt.
The issue I have here is that anyone who just refuses to wear a mask could purchase an exemption card, claiming to be exempt. This leaves room for those who want to flout the face mask law able to do so without fear of being reprimanded. Yes, OK, shops, public transport, and so on can refuse those who are not wearing a mask entry into their establishment, but there are plenty of places where this rule is not being adhered to.
When my daughter was shopping at the supermarket last week she was asked by a member of the public why she wasn’t wearing a mask. He said to her “What makes you so special that you don’t have to wear a mask?” She showed him her exemption card, explained why she wasn’t wearing one and told him what her doctor had said.
We have entered muddy waters now, having to explain why we aren’t wearing a mask. Suspicions are running high, there are those who suspect anyone not wearing a mask to be nothing more than selfish. Medical grounds, both physical and mental, people who rely on lip-reading, to name but a few are some reasons for exemption.
Being labelled selfish for not wearing a mask suggests that we don’t care for those who do. There is a multitude of reasons why many people are not covering their faces, and generally, these are not because they do not care about the health of other people.
Next time you are out and about and you see someone not wearing a face-covering, before you jump to judgement, remember that some people have a medical reason for not wearing one.
I’ve been doing a lot of inner work during this pandemic. In fact, I dedicated this whole year to loving myself.
Love for yourself is not about being conceited, or about “bigging” yourself up whilst putting others down. It’s about learning how to love you. Learning how to respect yourself. Learning how to have self love and bolster your self esteem.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself these past few months, it’s not about apportioning blame to aspects of myself I didn’t like; it’s been about acknowledging aspects that I’m less than happy with and improving what needing working on.
I’m now in a better mindset. I choose to be positive. I set that intention for myself everyday. Sometimes the demons rear their ugly heads and it’s a real struggle, other days I breeze through the day, achieving what I need to get done.
I had an interesting conversation with someone I know a few days back. She has noticed the change in me and wanted to know if I had “got better.” She was referring to my relapse with PTSD over the last couple of years.
I honestly haven’t done anything other than get medication. I believe the medication stabilised my mood enough for me to take steps to work through the flashbacks and triggers. I’m not really having flashbacks, but I amfeeling very anxious.
This pandemic has really messed with my head in so much as it has made the hyper vigilance really bad. Night time is the worst. Some nights I’m a nervous wreck, jumping and hyperventilating at the slightest noise. My sleep has been really badly affected too, I’m convinced “that person” is in my house, obviously I know he’s not.
Medication has helped me to work through stuff. It’s helped me to manage my condition using the tools and techniques my therapist taught me.
I’m not “cured” from my PTSD. I am managing it. I get frustrated at people who claim they can cure PTSD. My therapist taught me that you don’t cure it, you manage it. You can heal the wounds (often emotional) that trauma inflicted upon you, but the scars will still be there. The scars will “itch and sting” from time to time, that’s the flare up of the PTSD. And just like you would with a physical scar, you soothe it the best way you can.
This pandemic has affected so many people in so many different ways. There’s no shame in hollering for help. That’s why I made a conscious decision to greet each day with as positive a mindset as possible. It’s helped me tackle a hell of a lot of blocks and for that I’m grateful.
PTSD is a mental illness and can be very debilitating. You can be going through an active episode and still appear as though you’ve got your shit together. That, for me, signifies an improvement in my journey and that’s what I’ve been striving for over so many years.