by Britta Reque-Dragicevic
This first appeared in Britta Reque-Dragicevic’s blog “Life After War” on July 6, 2016, and is republished with the author’s permission.
How do you keep going when the battles are drawn out, each day feels pointless, and you are so, so tired? When the darkness feels never-ending and nothing seems to get better? How do you keep picking yourself up off the ground, and talk yourself out of fear and back into battle?
How do you fight for You?
The ability to keep going comes down to one thing: you have to resolve inside yourself that giving up or staying this way is not an option.
It has to be the undercurrent pulling you toward Life. And to get in the flow of that undercurrent, you have to surrender to your soul’s instinct to Live, to Grow, to Shed What No Longer Works or Supports You, to Transform, to find New Ways of Being.
You have to be willing to let those parts of you that are keeping you stuck, die.
You have to be willing to say “I don’t know the fuck where I am or how I am going to get there, but I am going to find a way to Live.”
And you have to mean it.
We discredit the power of decision. And we underestimate the power that comes from making a conscious, intentional decision.
We have, overall, as a society, dismissed the strength of willpower. Perhaps because we don’t like to face our own power, because if we face our power, we’re responsible to manage it in our lives. Perhaps also because there are some things that willpower can’t change, and willpower has gotten a bad rap for being a “quick answer” to dismiss the depth of someone’s situation.
But what if, we have more power than we think we do?
What if by making a true decision, one you feel all the way in your gut, one your whole being commits to… resolve…. we can change a great many things? What if instead of waking up feeling like life sucks and there’s no reason to get up, we could make a decision to fight for the day, to fight those negative thoughts, to say NO to them. And what if, by the power of your will to direct your thoughts and focus on something positive (like all the things you have to be grateful for in this very moment while life sucks), you begin to change?
Now, I realize that to get to that point you might need medication, you might need counseling, you might need to read an article like this that presents you with a new way of thinking…. but eventually, the only one who can decide how the life is going to be is YOU.
Decide. Not just wake up and see what life brings. Not just wake up and see how other people disappoint you again. Not just wake up and expect more misery and feel worse and worse.
But decide. Decide that you’ve had enough. That your repetitive negative thoughts have had way too much control over how your life feels now. That PTSD, depression, anxiety — are part of who you are, but they DON’T GET TO DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.
We waste years giving up our power because we don’t realize that we actually have the power to decide how we will be. Or what our mindset and attitude and perspective on life and on life WITH PTSD, depression, anxiety will be.
I am NOT being dismissive of how these diagnoses impact you, or of the fact that they make it very hard to think differently or feel differently.
BUT, I am saying that there comes a point where you either let these diagnoses swallow you whole and control your entire experience of life — OR you take back your willpower and decide to control what you can. And what you can control is a decision to let these things defeat you and make you an utterly miserable person, or to accept these things as part of who you are, but to find every possible way to live your best life anyway.
That may mean going after alternative therapies. That may mean learning about new perspectives on life. That may mean finding religion. That may mean looking for every type of therapy, treatment, philosophy, and spiritual practice until you find one that shifts your perspective toward Life.
What it will always mean is that you have to give up your identity as someone who has no power.
You have to give up your beliefs that life sucks, you’re doomed, nothing will ever change, people just hurt you, you are just stuck with this shitty life. You have to give up your beliefs that your diagnosis gives you an excuse to act like an asshole, or treat people like shit, or destroy everything in your path. (Yes, I know you have rage and anger to deal with, but you are responsible to find ways to deal with it — and there is help out there and there is a part of you that can resolve to find a way to heal the anger.)
You have to own your life and take back your power to change how you think.
There are so many resources out there. Books, speakers, spirit/mind/body leaders, people who can teach you how to see your Self, suffering, death, life, beauty, grief, joy, and love differently. People who can teach you how to take what life has delivered to you, and change your attitude and outlook so that you aren’t controlled by anger and bitterness, and negative perspectives.
But none of this can happen unless you DECIDE that you are going to do whatever it takes to find it.
All it takes for change is one thought that you’ve never had before.
Just one thought.
Start reading and listening to authors like Mike Dooley, Mark Nepo, Wayne Dyer, Rob Bell. Start feeding your mind with thoughts you’ve never had before.
Make a decision to reclaim your life and then go out and do what it takes to do it. Yes, it may be slow. Yes, it may take time. Yes, it may feel as if you get knocked down and have to pick yourself up again… but you keep going.
You can’t change your diagnosis or what you have suffered; you can change whether or not it will define you or whether you will define your life.
It’s your choice. Until you realize that deep down within you, everything outside of you will control you and swallow you whole.
Only you can allow that to happen.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.
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