As I’ve been healing through PTSD, I’ve been starkly reminded of how many friends and family didn’t stick it out with me, though. Of the people who looked into my life when I was at my most vulnerable but didn’t add much to my support system, who cheered me on when I was already cheerful, and vanished when my heart’s resolve melted away and I became bitter, broken, and disillusioned about the world around me.
Just a month or so ago, I can remember being ready to just say, “whatever, done. If they couldn’t comfort me when I’m at my worst and desperately needed love, comfort, and patience, and only come back around when I’m coming out of PTSD, feeling healthier… screw it.”
A few days ago, I read an article about what makes drug addicts, well, addicted.
“This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”
The results from the studies referenced in the article did not surprise me, but I did take it to heart and decided I wanted to be the kind of person, as I used to be, that ministered to addicts, not shy away from them because they trigger my PTSD symptoms. I am praying about how to do that, however… as previously, I equated loving someone to letting them doormat, abuse, violate, and threaten you – and that is NOT true. Even in God’s economy, we are to protect one another, and I have children who need to be protected from willful evil intent. I have to find a healthy, God-centered balance.
I know it wasn’t an exact comparison, but it hit a little chink in my armor today, as I heard a man tell me he wished someone could forcibly stop drug addicts from having children. I realized that my thoughts, my decision about my fair-weather friends and family members, makes me a fair-weather friend or family member, too.
It makes me compassion-less. It elevates me above another human being who wasn’t strong enough to help me when I was at my lowest low… and I want to be strong enough, loving enough, to be there for them whether they are at their highest moment or the bleakest point in their life… I want to stand alongside them and offer them human connection and God’s love for them pouring out of me – even if they didn’t for me.
Even when I offer Christ nothing, when I am worthless and broken and traumatized, He still loves on me. He still waits for me. He still leaves me moments of beauty to see, even if He knows I will put on crap-colored lenses and ignore that beauty-filled moment. And, I really want to be the kind of woman who chooses to extend that to others, again.