I suppose this article is a rant.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally received personal property that had been stored in the Midwest for eighteen months. It constituted 75% of all my worldly goods. During those eighteen months, it was inaccessible to me, and I never had the opportunity to say, ‘to-day, I will retrieve it’.

Being of an anxious disposition due to my small collection of mental health issues, I was stressed over delays and postponements, and the lack of cooperation from the weather, the local Street department, etc. However, God is good, the stuff arrived earlier than finally expected, and I’ve had the true delight of discovering what I own (and more practically, what I now own more than one of–anyone need bacon tongs? I have seven of them.) My latest project has been to transfer my iTunes collection from an external hard drive to my computer–it has taken almost two weeks to complete.

I prefer this sort of life management to the other type. I mentioned my concerns and frustrations. One individual laughed at me. I mentioned them to another person, said what they stemmed from, and was told I was wrong.

At the same time, I have internet friends who weigh in. One has recently joined a Deliverance church in which she finds happiness and community. I am glad for her, but she has turned into a Holier-than-thou Terror. In the two months since her ‘real’ baptism, she has condemned and vilified almost the entire Church Universal for not doing as she does. I support her right to believe and practice however she likes, but the reverse is not true. There is a fellow who ‘knows’ exactly the kind of church I ‘need’, although he knows me hardly at all, and I don’t have the heart to tell him that the environment he prescribes is an environment in which my PTSD and anxiety disorders thrive.

I don’t know that allowing other people to make my decisions, establish my values, and generally live my life for me is any less stressful. Something in me resents it.

One of the positive aspects of PTSD experiences is that it provides a constant reminder of what people really want–not just people with PTSD, but the whole population. I know not to do what people are doing to me, a lesson I could easily forget.

I want acceptance, not ridicule, correction, or imposition of outside values. You don’t have my heart or experiences, you really don’t know. What people need is to be allowed, whether you understand or agree or not, to do, think, feel as they do, to make their own choices and reach their own conclusions.

In the global community, the life-ending conflicts that afflict this planet daily operate on the same flawed principles–believe as we do. Think, feel, worship–as we do. Let us run your life for you–do as we command, honour our values.

This has not worked well, has it?

I’m happy to be able to shut out the critics and advisors who know more about me than I do. I even enthusiastically embrace the vagaries of iTunes and my multitude of bacon tongs.

It’s my choice.

Paul TN Chapman
[email protected]


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