For 30 years of my life, I called El Salvador my home. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people, and I felt at home there. Unfortunately, corruption and violence were the norm, and year by year, this continued to creep into the everyday lives of so many who lived there, including mine.
A few years ago, things came to a head when I was extorted by corrupt politicians, my land was confiscated and my life was threatened by gangs. It was total devastation when my attorney told me to leave the country. I was alone with nowhere to go. My husband had died, and I’d never been more fearful in my life.
This was the moment when I realized that the greatest gift in life was safety and security, and freedom from injustice and violence. I quickly packed a small suitcase and my beloved cat Footsie, and headed for the airport to leave El Salvador. On the way, all the lingering post-traumatic stress that had been percolating throughout my life there became a roaring fire, sparked by the final events that led to my departure.
After the fire was started, there was nothing that I didn’t fear. I was in a heightened state of survival that was relentless. There was no way to come down from it. I was waiting for and thinking of the worst that was always yet to come. I had a not-so-invisible sign on my forehead marked “PTSD” (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). My mind was totally in control, and there was no place to escape from the fear that consumed me.
Arriving in the U.S., I tried to convince myself I was safe, that I’d left the feeding frenzy of fears behind, but I was wrong.
After settling into a rental property, I went to the grocery store and found myself looking constantly over my shoulder; then, an explosion of fear occurred when a man entered my personal space by bending over next to me for a bottle of salsa. At that moment, I realized that feeling safe was a state of being, not a place. All of my trauma had been safely transported with me to my new destination.
Since moving wouldn’t heal me, I was still way beyond vulnerable. It was frustrating to realize that after arriving from my journey, the real journey was about to begin.
It would require a much more profound approach than simply changing locations to tame PTSD. Although I sought support from counsellors and healers, deep down inside, I knew I’d have to do the hard labour myself.
Here are the five steps I took to free my mind from the violence that caused my PTSD.
5 steps to freedom
- I took charge of the voice that manipulated my thoughts into fear, and I began to clear the infected memory that was held within my cells, controlling me. This set up a clear system of rules and regulations by which to govern my thoughts.
- I breathed in a million breaths of positive thoughts through silent meditation, in order to irrigate the cellular system that had been contaminated with fear.
- I stopped worrying about others and focused entirely on myself. I knew my survival as a human “being” depended on it. I did what was right for me, all the while knowing that if I was healthy, all the people who’d remain in my life would be healthy, too.
- I no longer received muddled legislation from my mind that I unconsciously implemented into untruths.
- I turned my fear into faith, the faith of knowing that the more I aligned with the positive nature of everything, the more of a possibility peace would become.
I finally realized that I just needed to control seconds of breath, not hours of worry that created days of fear.
Yes, there were setbacks, when my mind would pull the trigger and fear would blast into my internal grids, flying through the cellular memory and igniting it all over again. Time and again I doused the flames through quiet meditation and mindfulness, until I finally realized that I just needed to control seconds of breath, not hours of worry that created days of fear.
On a beautiful spring day, there was one last piece of the journey that would set me free, putting me in a state of complete surrender. When I achieved this, I won the battle, because fear couldn’t control me when I feared nothing. The door to my life opened wide, and I was ready to embrace the next steps.
I was in the loving arms of my new spirituality and mindfulness, and out of the wreckage. The war with PTSD was over.