Courage | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness


By Carissa Anonymous

What is courage? It is not the absence of fear, as one might think. True courage is being terrified beyond belief, but stepping forward into the sun anyway. It is taking that leap of faith, despite everything in your body telling you that it’s not safe, to run back into the shadows. It is also trusting that some other way of living is more effective and happier than the way of living you are currently comfortable with/stuck in. Lastly, I believe courage is looking up from your tremendous daily trials in order to see the beauty and miracles all around. Even if it is just a glance upward, this beauty and these miracles are there whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. Courage is knowing the sun still shines on and having faith in this, despite the current thunder, lightning, rain, clouds and wind.

Today, I choose to live with courage. I choose to not allow my PTSD to dictate my every move and reaction anymore. Am I terrified? Absolutely! Will I take that leap of faith that feels so wrong- the leap of faith into a possibly better way of life I have not been comfortable with this far- that could be full of love, acceptance and joy and mostly within myself. I believe it takes immense levels of courage for me to allow myself to continue feeling each day and to not slip back into that seemingly “safer” numb place. Because allowing myself to feel, while sometimes unpleasant, also allows me to feel an equally life-altering magnitude of joy, love and beauty from within myself and surrounding me. When I numb myself because of my PTSD, I don’t get to pick and choose the emotions I get to feel. Unfortunately, it is all or nothing, black or white. By letting the emotions flow and processing the less comfortable ones along the way, I make room for more positive emotions I am learning to enjoy. This is because I am no longer carrying the less comfortable emotions around with me stuffed into my backpack to deal with later. When I do this, I must work so hard to resist becoming overwhelmed with these stuffed emotions, that I have no room for even imagining what joy feels like.

So today, I choose to look up and acknowledge the fact that beauty and miracles exist all around me. I choose to become a part of this beauty and these miracles rather than going on with my head averted to the ground, thinking miracles and beauty are only for those people who deserve them, not me. And maybe I have had my fair share of the thunder, lightning, rain, clouds and wind in my life. But does this mean the sun is no longer shining behind those clouds? Nope. The sun shines in, no matter our current position or perspective. The sun has true courage.

Today, I choose courage. I have faith that the clouds are passing. I have the strength to lift my head, even if just for a moment each day to start. I do this because I know that my true courage and power lies in my choice- not in what happened to me- but in how I choose to respond. Will I allow some horrible events to be a lifelong curse of living them over and over again? Or, will it be a lesson, motivation, to teach me ways to have more compassion for others and myself? I choose compassion. I now take my hand and point out the sun peeking through the clouds to myself.

Most importantly, I choose to choose. No more drifting through life allowing my choices to be made for me because of my fears and frozen stance. Today, I choose courage.


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