The Other Side of Reason – Coming Home
Involved in a bus accident that took the lives of six people, David Gibson has been battling through PTSD for over three years. In an effort to better understand himself and to communicate with others, he turned to writing. His first book was The Other Side of Reason: A Journal on PTSD, available now via petrabooks.ca. This column continues that text.
Stillness. The skyline ahead and shadow beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called home.
And you must treat it as an influential visitor.
Seek permission to know it and be known.
The gentle waves breathe. Listen. They answer back to you.
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again.
Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and body stretch out.
Like a welcomed season.
Onto the summer meadows, rocky shores and meandering rivers.
Where you are. You must let it find you.
New beginnings are never simple. There will be times that you won’t be able to see a tomorrow without being present in your todays. But those days will slowly pass and tomorrows will come.
Trauma seems to exist in that tragic gap between what happened, what was lost, and what joy might be possible in the future. By its nature, I think, trauma brings the past into the present in sometimes joyous, sometimes unbearable ways.
For all their joys, our individual and collective lives are laced with loss and grief. But you don’t need me to tell you that. This territory called “being human” contains shadow as well as light. To be fully human, we must embrace all of it.
No roads. No paths. Nowhere can be a really nice place to be sometimes. It's not the waterfall you found a picture of on Google and downloaded the map to. It's not the lookout at the end of a hiking trail and it's not the lake along the route of your GPS guided car trip.
Nowhere can also be a never ending revolving door of fear and pain that is difficult to articulate.
It's the places in between that you didn't know about and weren't planning on. The unexpected meadow you found while exploring a forest trail. The amazing view from the top of a rocky bluff where it felt like you could see the whole world in one glance. And it was all new… every step a frontier on the map of your experience.
Rachel Gibson (not related) describes this place as the unexpected place that you have to ‘sometimes wonder to until you find where you really belong. And sometimes it’s right where you started from’.
New beginnings are opportunities to make something more whole from the fragments of your past. This idea that where you started from can somehow carry itself beyond the trauma is an interesting notion. Is this because we view this as the ambition of its promise to transform who you are as a person? Or that this may be the answer to releasing the hold and power that trauma has over you?
Perhaps a new beginning gives us a voice to what we are feeling and like a raft, has in turn, helped carry us away from the deepest waters of trauma.
Until next time.