If you ever want to see who your true friends are, struggle through trauma therapy after being assaulted. Man. Real friends can BRING IT. Love. Anger. A text that actually makes you laugh out loud moments after you were just wondering if you’d ever laugh again. Prayer. Presence. Sure, an occasional link to a helpful article or sermon. Cards, books, and one friend in the last two years even sent a meal! (Big T!!)
But really, the mark of love for me has simply been when people felt the awkwardness of what happened to me and then the REALLY awkward reality of my physical and emotional collapse—and they didn’t necessarily know what to say or do, but they NEVER pulled away. They never gave up. They pressed in. Love pressed in. Even my introvert friends (most of my closest friends are introverts) didn’t choose silence and distance for their own comfort. They remembered that I existed. They told me that they remembered that I existed. And just by remembering me, I knew they cared. I knew I was never alone.
Please. If someone you know is suffering and you have no idea what to say, don’t say nothing. Stumble and fumble and even just say, “I don’t know what to say! But I love you. I care. I think about you and I want to put the person who (violated, attacked, abandoned) you IN THE GROUND. I want to gently care for you and sacrificially try to protect you from future pain. I know I can’t completely, but I sure would like to try!”
The fact that you care is what matters. My pain causes you pain? This means I am loved!
Oh. And when it comes to the debilitating, chest-crushing, anxiety related to all of this suffering, I have been most deeply helped by one piece of advice in one article. I encourage you to read this and see if any of it might help you—or someone you love who struggles with debilitating, life-altering anxiety and fear:
(Stupid limbic system. Yes. Yes. I know. Helpful at times. Necessary for life even. But when it goes haywire from PTSD? Grrrrrr. So. So. SO annoying. And painful. Distressing. Devouring.)
Be helped, I pray! Help someone else! Enjoy.