Postcards From The Week
To say I had a bad week is an understatement. I have had experiences which have left me reeling and questioning my future, both personally and professionally. There is a type of injury which is called a moral injury and they can be some of the most difficult to deal with. These are most often described as an injury to an individual’s moral conscience and values that results in either profound emotional guilt and shame or a sense of betrayal, anger, and profound “moral disorientation”.
Now, its not the first time I have experienced this, but it is relatively uncommon to have so many occur within such a short time. The details of what transpired are not as important as how I will choose to deal with them. And that is my struggle right now. With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anger and lashing out are often what comes to my brain first and so I made a promise to myself; I promised I would take time to process everything before I decide how to or if I would respond. If I didn’t have that self-awareness, I’m certain I would have chosen words or actions that would make things much, much worse.
The difficulty with moral injuries is they often get inflicted by those who have no idea they are doing so, or at least don’t recognize the results their actions or words will have. My sense of trust has been eroded on several levels and with various people, who literally have no idea how I am feeling. I’m left with the option of addressing it openly or working my way through it on my own. To be honest, neither one is something I relish the thought of, but finding a way to move past it in the healthiest way I can is necessary. Years ago, I would have pushed it down as deep as possible where it would fester and make me sicker and sicker. The person I am today knows this is something I must never do again.
I want to be the best person I can be, but do I always get it right? Absolutely not! And I must accept that about other people too. With moral injuries I believe it is much more difficult and complex to dissect as it has a lot to do with the words and/or actions of others. Those are things beyond our control and sphere of influence. As much as we would like to think we control things, the world spins on its own and we are merely riding the wave that is life.
Like I said, it’s been quite a week. I’m hurt and I’m sad…..and I make absolutely no apologies for that. I feel what I feel. This is a weekend of reflection and soul searching to be sure. I have some decisions to make that I don’t want to make, but whatever option I choose I know will be the right one for me. Of this I have complete control over. Whatever happens, I acknowledge the injury, I work towards healing, and I know that no matter what anyone thinks, I am strong and brave. For anyone else who has had one of those weeks, please know you are allowed to feel the emotions that come with it. And then I urge you to take the steps necessary to heal and continue to be the strong warrior that you are!