New Years Food For The Soul…

by | Dec 21, 2023

“The healing benefits of time don’t apply to us if we aren’t doing the work.”

Be open to healing…

I’m reminded as a kid and young adult how stigma created a sense that putting PTSD in a box was essential. “Forget about it,” they’d say with a mean look. Or, worse, “you are weak,” making me feel less than a man.

My soul still hurts thinking about this. Making these unfounded and hurtful statements to anyone suffering with serious mental health challenges exacerbates moral injury, from my experience. Keeping my pain in a box offered only temporary relief with the help of substance abuse, work and play.

It’s what happened, not what’s wrong

For much of my life until I started researching, writing, and publishing my book, Reconciliation, a Son’s Story, shame and guilt kept feeding pesky demons swirling around in my mind, day and night. Once I learned that thinking ‘what happened to me’ my soul switched gears.

This was the beginning of my own healing from PTSD, but continues to be a work in progress. Never let your guard down. Remember to think daily that it is what happened to you, not what is wrong with you.

The dreadful Holidays

Holidays are better for me in these later years, but still tough, in any case. I used to hate Christmas, believe it or not. This time of the year is when my heart and soul hurts the most.

It goes back to shame and guilt. I didn’t feel worthy of God’s grace, and distanced myself from my Christian beliefs. Now, I can see through the fog, but not fully. Healing continues to be a work in progress. The love and support from my family and closest friends has been a gift in healing my soul.

A new year, a new day

My favorite healing quotes…

“Be sure to think a good day, plan a good day, put good into each day.” Gene Sharratt

“There is no greater agony than keeping the untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou

Don’t go it alone! All too often I see the loneliness of emotional pain on the faces of those who suffer without help. It’s critical to stay engaged with kindred spirits in the things you care about the most.

If you’re lucky enough, like me, to have a life-long partner who keeps you grounded, it’s a gift of love. Love heals all things.

Aging gracefully

For me, aging gracefully means living in the moment, enjoying each day, and each precious moment. But, healing is always a work in progress, and not without challenges. I say don’t hesitate to reach out and don’t give up! Tomorrow is a new day, full of good things to delight your soul.

Start each new day with a renewed commitment to your own journey of healing. I hope sharing my story is both helpful and cathartic.

Wishing a most happy New Year all, especially those who have suffered from moral injuries in life. Remember, “it’s what happened to you, not what is wrong with you.”

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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