Guest Blog by Kristy Bear

Hello Lilypup fans! My name is Kristy Bear and I am honoured to be a guest blogger here today, I’m visiting from Canada-land and my personal blog rememberhowtofly//wordpress.com/ My blog is about recovery. It is a blog about remembering how to spread your wings and fly because I believe deep at the heart of it we all know how to succeed and be true to ourselves… some of us just forget how sometimes. We forget because we are overwhelmed in our day-to-day interactions, we are overwhelmed in our minds with negative affect, mood swings, and symptoms that we just don’t want.

Everyone relates so well to Lilypup because even though as a reader we may not have bi-polar disorder we do suffer from life’s ups and downs. We relate to having life stressors, days where we can’t cope well, and days where we celebrate remembering how to fly.

My personal life challenge has been healing complex trauma. I move in cycles from high functioning to low functioning. I move from being okay to having sleepless nights of insomnia and repeated nightmares, irritability and anger, hypervigilance where I’m constantly afraid and looking over my shoulders, being unable to concentrate, feeling depressed, wanting to avoid people, and at the worst of it I suffer flashbacks and tearful memories. These symptoms are called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

My PTSD is considered complex because I’ve had multiple traumatic experiences that overlap one another, please note that the rest of this paragraph comes with a trigger warning for violence: avoid the rest of it if you feel you should.I grew up in an abusive household as a child. My father was a binge drinker and my mother had violent behavior and unpredictable emotional swings. After their divorce I moved in with my father, who continued to drink heavily forcing me to look after myself. Once I got into high school I began running away and living on the streets. I also began using drugs as a way to escape. I was raped at 13 by a 30 year old man, and again at 16 by a 26 year old that was dealing me drugs. At the age of 18, still not having processed all the experiences I had faced, I was held hostage by an ex-lover for 6 hours and beaten, threatened with weapons, and psychologically tortured. One year later he plead guilty to numerous charges, and I was left picking up the pieces.

It took many years of intense therapy and work to not be in crisis, to stay sober, to not avoid the traumatic memories and feelings, and to have days where I cope. I am far from normal, I am far from undamaged, I am far from high functioning, but I every day I try my best. Trying your best is the heart at what I want to express to you today.

I accept that sometimes my best doesn’t look like other people’s best, but it is my best and I honour and respect it.

This Acceptance, Honour, and Respect, I believe, is at the heart of looking at the way you understand the world, your place in it, and the ways you relate to the world and others. And I believe that this process of Spiritual Recovery is vitally important for everyone, not just people with PTSD.

Life is not about fixing something that’s broken, and it isn’t about becoming normal. Normal is a strange standard that doesn’t exist anywhere except in your own head 😉

Life is about acknowledging where you come from. It is about strength of spirit.

This strength can come from many different places in your life. In my journey a big part of this strength has come from paying attention to myself.

Give yourself time to let your mind wanderfor a few minutes each day, and when something difficult comes forward don’t shy away from it. Your spirit wants to wander there because there’s something to work on and learn from. Just because you feel or think something doesn’tmean you need to react to it, just bear witness to your inner world.

If a friend came to you and told you they were very sad and hated themselves, or were having a hard time with something, you wouldn’t tell them, “Shut up! Stop feeling that way.” You wouldn’t say, “I will help you this time, but next time you better not come to me for help.”

If you wouldn’t do that to a friend, don’t do that to yourself either.

Instead, let your feelings and thoughts come, and say to them what you would say to a friend: “I’m sorry you feel this way,” or “I’m here for you, it’s okay.”

Sometimes your friend just wants a shoulder to lean on for support, and it is easy to forget to give that to yourself.

This spiritual process of learning how to separate action from thought is not an easy one. You are not your experience of sight or smell, they are things that happen to you. Thoughts and feelings are not you, they are things that happen to you.

You don’t need to stop them from coming up or figure out how to control them, you simply need to take the time to acknowledge them and give yourself a mental hug.

This is the first step on the spiritual path of Acceptance, Honour, and Respect. It’s not an easy path, but it is a path that we have all been blessed to have the option of exploring.

I wish you all the best on your journey. Love and Light, Kristy Bear <3

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