I think one of the most difficult parts of coping with PTSD is losing your joy. The world changes and it’s much more unforgiving than it was. Finding your joy again can be hard, but it can be done!
I think I probably went for years without really laughing. Ok, I laughed at a few things, but it wasn’t that gut-wrenching howl that I do now. How did I find my joy? I guess it’s like the proverbial answer to the question of how does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
I started by giving myself permission to laugh and to enjoy things again. That may seem like a rather stupid statement, but in the face of all the horror that I’ve seen and experienced, allowing myself to enjoy the good things in life seemed to be a form of abandoning those who had similar experiences. How could I enjoy life when they had also suffered so?
What I finally realized was that even those who had paid the ultimate price would not want me to live under such a cloud of doom as I was. In fact, by reclaiming my joy, I was saying that, while I might be knocked down at times, I would certainly get back up again to fight another day. And then it became to live another day.
My joy is different these days. I love the color of flowers, spring breezes, warm puppies, and the glitter of new snow. I laugh at the antics of my dogs playing together and it brings me a sense of great satisfaction to watch the new dog that was abused before I got her, as she now runs across the yard, tail wagging, and, I swear to you, smiling!
I found my joy again. I had to look for it. I had to embrace it. But it was worth every ounce of pain I paid for it! I hope you find your joy again…soon.