Am I simply the result of all my experiences? or even worse... Am I powerless to the diagnosis I was given, or all the trauma that has been inflicted on me?
I believe, and research supports, that the answer can be "No."
The Universe has a structure, basic rules by which it operates; so does the human body. Applying knowledge of the body’s design parameters can lead to physical health or lead to physical sickness, pain, and even death. These design parameters also illustrated when the body is damaged, in that diseases have a progression that is somewhat predictable from one body to the next. Most will agree that if they eat well and exercise they can expect their bodies to perform in a relatively healthy manner. If they eat poorly and avoid exercise they are not surprised when their doctor recommends lifestyle changes.
Mental health diagnoses are based on the concept that the mind/brain operates in a similar fashion – a specific type of trauma will effect different people in similar ways. Thoughts and emotions operate within a design structure. The field of mental health is based upon this hope; that healing might be possible from application of the knowledge of how thought and emotional health can impact, and/or be impacted by, our experience of the world.
Of course there are physical health situations that are out of our control, genetics, disease, trauma, etc. These event also affect the brain, and people’s ability to think about, and respond to, their environment.
However, even in these circumstances, while we may not get to choose what illness we get, or what traumatic events befall us, we do have the choice of how to address, respond, fight, or live-with them. Limitations influence, but do not make decisions for a person. Human history is full of examples of people who did not let their limitations make the decisions on what career to have, who to marry, or where to live. To thrive, or flourish, rather than survive, requires that one take ownership and create the life they live in the face of, or even in spite of, these genetic, physical, and/or trauma related limitations. To surrender one’s future to the physical “cards they are dealt” is to merely survive.
Path to freedom
There is an alternative to surviving… THRIVING!
Even in trauma that has been severe or deeply rooted in childhood, there are paths to healing & freedom; examples include movement from anxious and avoidant attachment to secure attachment (Shura, et al., 2017) and PTSD to Post Traumatic Growth (American Psychological Association, 2004.
Structured paths to freedom exist; many are outlined in Scripture and are finding more and more support in scientific research. Paths to help people free themselves from the ‘things’ that mentally or emotionally hold them back. The challenge is to find the freedom available on these paths without becoming imprisoned by them. This journey to freedom is to a point beyond just surviving – rather, it involves consideration of what a person’s life contribution might actually be.
This journey begins when one accepts first, that challenges to mental health are a normal part of life; and second that there are also structures available by which these challenges can be met, and in many cases, overcome!
If you would like help finding your path through the chaos, Call us at 469-660-8620, or find us on line at SpiritCounselingTx.com to make an appointment.
Shura,R.D., Rutherford, B.J., Fugett, A. et al. (2017). An Exploratory Study of Attachments and Posttraumatic Stress in Combat Veterans. Current Psychology, 36(110). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-015-9390-2
The Effects of Trauma Do Not Have to Last a Lifetime. (2004, January 16). American Psychological Association. retrieved from http://www.apa.org/research/action/ptsd.aspx?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_recent_activity_details_shares%3Bdjte7PzLT5CU4eIgodd2hw%3D%3D
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