SOS Participants in LCS Group in St. Louis, MO - 2005 ERA

Adjusting to Reality:

I wake up this morning, realizing the checkered flag will be waving soon for my 80th birthday.  It will be flying at 8:10 am.   

The longevity standard in my great grandfather W. T. Johnson’s lineage is aunt Gladys at 101 years seven months and eight days.  Yea, pretty amazing to see the number.

So it was W.T. Johnson, E.E. Johnson, Paul Johnson and then me.

I am here with 79 years in my rear-view mirror.  I have seen and lived through a lot.

I have limited formal “sanctioned” education (well, I did graduate from High School.)   I had a lot of challenging jobs (in the Navy, Academia, Government, and Commercial industries,) which was followed by my contract teaching business for almost 20 years.  So my awareness and understanding have come by walking life’s road.

I have observed that it is commonplace to withhold details regarding traumatic experiences, especially – murder and suicide.  Thereby outsiders are obscured from the feelings you have and will endure.  No amount of effort (which is itself emotionally taxing) will change that.  So don’t let yourself get tied up with what others will think.

You did what you thought was best at the time.  Had you chosen some other way, would it have been different?  Sure, but trying to figure that all out is a trip to frustration and never real peace.  In other words, whatever scenario you devise can NEVER be validated.  A discussion along those lines commonly leads to conflict.  Not peace.

After years of doing that (and some wise counseling.) I was finally able to stop going down that dead-end path.

You cannot allow yourself to get overly concerned about what other people think.  You will never have control over that.  Another trip down Frustration Avenue that does not lead to peace.

I have personally come to believe that the right kind of counseling is what lead me out of THE PIT.  I spend way too much time listening to my friends (who were more clueless than I was.)  I knew they cared but were not wise enough to see that time “alone” was not going to make the difference I needed.

Suicide is an incredibly complex and unique form of trauma.  It requires enormous adjustment for each survivor.

I was blessed to find folks that could help.  I was blessed to quit trying to do it all myself.  I was blessed to finally LISTEN to what I was being told (by survivors ahead of me on the path) and quit thinking I knew better (because I didn’t.)

There are plenty of folks on this site who can help.  Unfortunately, in those early times, you are typically not willing to accept help. For so long, I was confident that no one could know this survivor world, so it was a waste of time to listen.   I know I wasn’t, and I wasted a lot of time, I can never recover.

You are okay wherever you are on this journey; you did what you did. If you had done it differently, would things have changed and on and on?  This cycle will repeat itself over and over as time goes along.   It is manageable, however.

You can over and over find yourself going down Frustration Avenue. Consciously committing not to go there is somehow contrary to what is in our hearts.  We want things to be different, and that will never happen.  Hard to accept.

FHAS -Dealing with Reality – V3 - Gedited – 0116.2020