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Get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going!

by Matt Pappas

You don’t always know how you are going to react to a stressful situation until the reality of it actually hits you.

You can prepare as much as humanly possible but until you are actually hit with the realization of the what you have been anticipating, or maybe fearing, even the most prepared survivor can get blindsided with feelings and emotions they weren’t expecting.

Being mindful of our thoughts, being fully present in all aspects of life, working with a professional, engaging with others and sharing; these are all great things we can do to help us deal with what life throws at us.

Doing these things helps us to gain confidence; the more we work on our trauma recovery the more comfortable we get in our ability to handle the next crisis that might be just around the corner. Healing work does pay off if we’re dedicated to it.

Having said that, there are still times when we knocked down, knocked backwards or sideways, or just simply made to pause and figure out what to do next.

  • Where did this feeling come from?
  • I thought I had handle on that fear.
  • I worked hard to get anxiety about this issue under control.
  • Where did this come from? I thought I was prepared.

In times like this, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity that just stopped us in our tracks.


It may not seem like an opportunity; probably more like a road block, but it is a chance to add another tool to our survivor tool belt.

There’s no such thing as having too many survivor skills when it comes to our mental health. Sooner or later what we’ve used before isn’t going to work the way it always did and we’ll need to be ready to handle that situation with an open mind.

That doesn’t mean that skills just stop working and become useless; but rather not every skill works as well in every situation.

There simply is no substitute for experience when working towards healing.

I got knocked down recently, and it’s caused me to reassess how far I’ve come, what I’ve been doing, and how much work I’ve been putting into this healing journey.  Is all of this really working as much as I expect it too, as much as I’ve been told it does?

I should add that I’ve been knocked down countless times since I started my recovery. In fact, it’s fair to say that every time I have a flashback, get triggered, fall into depression, harbor resentment, or just simply don’t understand why I feel the way that I do; I’m knocked down.

Sometimes it’s easier to get back up than others. It’s never easy…but easier; sure. And other times you just sit there on the ground for a while, literally or figuratively, and wonder what in the hell just happened!

Just how confident am I in my grounding skills, coping skills, and mindfulness? When I sit with my emotions, how efficient am I at regaining my composure and picking myself back up to start walking again.

These times can be a pivotal for survivors. Anytime a situation makes us pause and reassess ourselves, it has the potential to catapult us forward or send us spiraling down to the very depths that we’ve been trying to crawl out of.

Can we really afford to allow ourselves to go backwards? Whether you’ve been at this healing thing for weeks, months, or years, you’ve already come too far to let yourself go back to how life was before. We’ve already been through the tough times, the depression, the frustration, the sadness, the hopelessness.

Perhaps you are still there in those tough times but you are starting to have some good days now too, and your confidence is growing little by little.

If you’ve just been knocked backwards, knocked down, or just standing at a crossroads and wondering what to do next; you are not alone.

Whether your “knocked down moment” is personal or professional, family or friend related, a trigger that just won’t subside, a flashback, holiday stress, whatever it is…

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and just start again.  There are no style points in this survivor journey; it really is all about how many times we are willing to get back up.

It’s not if you will get knocked down again; it’s when. That’s just harsh reality of life whether you are a survivor or not. Life isn’t a straight and narrow healing journey with road signs and convenient rest stops whenever we need them.

But you know what, you’ve been knocked down before, and you are still here! Learn from this, sit with it, talk about it, seek the counsel of a friend or therapist. Do some research, watch a video; whatever it takes for you to be able to get back up and keep moving forward.

Because you are worth fighting for. Always.



Feature image courtesy of Pixabay. Meme from MindsetDaily.com

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Don Shetterly November 22, 2016 - 10:29 am

You know, I often think of those little kids toys (from my childhood and yes, this may be dating me a few years back), but they were called Weebles. This video shows it all of a commercial about them from the 1970’s https://youtu.be/dFzhjnjXc2o

But I think of healing and recovery like the weebles. They may wobble but they don’t fall down. Sometimes it seems like we fall down, but we may just be rocking back and forth and we’re able to get back up. We’ve been through so much that in surviving we figured out how to come back against the odds.

I just think of the weebles that don’t fall down on a subject like this. The jingle plays in my head.

Matt November 22, 2016 - 10:42 am

I love that Don…very interesting way to think about it. I can definitely see where you are coming from by knocked around but not actually get “knocked down”. Maybe survivors are a bit like weeble wobbles! I had a bunch of those when I was a kid, even had the airplane too. But I never knew they had a Weeble marina!!?? 🙂

I’ve always pictured my journey as I keep getting knocked down, backwards, and sideways but I find a way to keep getting up starting again. I like to think of myself as Rocky…so much adversity but we find a way to power through, keep fighting, and reach for our dreams. Probably sounds silly but since I’m a big Rocky fan, I figure why not equate my journey to something as motivational and inspiring as Balboa himself right!

That said, I do love your Weeble analogy alot man, thank you!!!

Charlie Jaxx November 22, 2016 - 1:35 pm

I know the feeling of being knocked down and dragged around too well. Sometimes it is very hard to pick yourself up and start again. There were times when I DIDN’T Want to start again. I thought suicide was the only way out. I’m not sure why I cheated death 3 times. Whether it is to accomplish my dreams or to keep on keepin’ on. Therapy has helped me a great deal. Dont get me wrong, I’ve have times where I go two steps forward, then two steps back.

In the end, I may come out with scars, but that only means I’ve won my battle or battles. I’ve dusted myself off. I’ve gotten up and defeated the Darkness.

I’ve been trying to help myself be more grounded. And help others who may feel like I do. Help them. Be more of a positive in their lives if I can. Help them when they get knocked down.

Loved this post especially on an emotional point of view.


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