Aria’s Smile

Since I was young, I’ve been plagued with anxiety and PTS(D). I fought with bad dreams that left me feeling empty and anxious each morning. One of my biggest worries was that my father would do something bad and hurt himself or someone else. I’ve written much about an event that changed my life when I was young; the event that molded who I am today. My dad used so much meth that he couldn’t sleep for days on end, he started hallucinating and thought demons had taken over and were trying to kill him. He did things that I’ll never forget. After that night I spent a lot of time worrying—thinking something unpredictable and terrible could happen again! I was too young at the time that it happened to comprehend what was going on or that it was even something one could expect. It caught me off-guard, so to speak, and I have felt insecure since that night.

It’s interesting to me that doctors and other professionals can now study the brain and observe physiological signs of this type of trauma. In doing research I found an article about a study. According to this article, “In youth with symptoms of post-traumatic stress, there is variation in the volume and surface area of the insula between males and females who have experienced traumatic stress versus those who have not, the study found. The insula is a region buried deep within the cerebral cortex that plays a key role in interoceptive processing (how much or how little attention one pays to sensory information within the body), emotion regulation, and self-awareness.” ( If you want to read the whole article follow the link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/greater-the-sum-its-parts/201703/how-trauma-in-childhood-affects-the-brain )

I didn’t have the greatest pregnancy, my anxiety still bothered me a lot and I was also in pain. I didn’t know what to expect, which was obviously not a comfortable feeling for me or anyone else for that matter. But when my little girl, Aria Bea Donnelly, came out she was perfect. She was tiny, healthy, and happy. She is now 6 months old and she is quite literally the happiest baby I have ever seen. I look at her and wonder how she came to be who she is and how I got so lucky. She is a true blessing. She never cries unless something is wrong (poopie, hungry, sleepy, etc) and she loves everyone. I had surgery recently and one of the nurses was so smitten with her that she decided to take her for a walk around the hospital and introduce her to everyone. Aria just smiled and giggled at everyone, she loves attention.

When I look at her, I can’t worry about my dad or my past. I can’t look at her and be sad. I have been so blessed to have this perfect little angel that I’m not able to think about anything else. Her laugh is infectious and she is teaching me how to live a carefree life. It’s easy to do what’s right when I know she is depending on me. I can’t let her down—I don’t mean I can’t because I don’t want to—I just can’t, I don’t have it in me to disappoint this little girl when she has done nothing wrong. She is so innocent.

The most important thing I have learned from her is that if you appreciate what you have and focus on the good in life, you will be free to enjoy your blessings. Surround yourself with good people—with love—with positive thoughts. Help others and be kind because you were not put on this earth to judge—wait, was that judgmental? Ok so we have to make some judgment calls but that doesn’t mean we decide who is a good person and who is a bad person. If you haven’t lived their life then the only judgment to be made is if you want to invite them into your life or simply encourage them to get help and let them live how they choose. Set a good example; be the person you want to be and don’t make exceptions—don’t be lax when it comes to your morals. One of my favorite quotes is “Be as you wish to seem”- Socrates. I love it because I’ve always {thought} I wanted to be like one of those superheroes who dedicate their lives to a good cause and actually make a {noticeable} difference! I mean they seem really cool right—Or is it just me? But really that was just an image that I thought I wanted to portray.

First Halloween!

In truth I want to live a simple life, take care of my daughter, and help others with my experiences. Ask your self, and be honest: how many times you have compromised your morals, even in a small way? I know I have many times. I’ve done things I would not recommend to my daughter, that’s for sure!

I do a fair amount of reading related to positive psychology and PTSD. Another article I thought was really cool talks about people who have chosen to learn from negative experiences rather than dwell on them. Here’s an excerpt, just something to think about – “researchers found several areas in which persons reported positive changes after an injury or losing a spouse. For instance, the persons reported experiencing a greater appreciation for life, experiencing more personal strength and better relationships and also greater levels of spiritual satisfaction. These persons were able to find the strength to look for new possibilities for themselves.” You can read the full artcle here: https://www.veteranslaw.com/ptsd-has-surprisingly-positive-effects-on-coping-skills/

Many of these ideas, or concepts, are trite—cliché—over-used-etc; don’t overlook them just because you’ve heard them a million + 1 times. I haven’t said anything life changing or even new, but if anyone out there is listening, who isn’t happy or satisfied with life, I encourage you to try your best to live by these rules and really focus on the positive aspects of life. It is possible no matter what you have been through. If you focus on the negative aspects, no matter how small the problem, your life can become unmanageable and downright rotten.

A small part of me really wishes that I had learned these things and taken them to heart before I made so many bad decisions. I’ve done some pretty disgusting things before. But an even bigger part of me is thankful for everything I’ve done because it brought me to where I am today and I couldn’t be happier. I have found so much peace, and so much strength in life. I live in the moment and this moment is good—this moment is precious and meaningful—I love this moment.

2 thoughts on “Aria’s Smile

  1. You make great points. I am glad you understand your ability to choose how you react.
    I am so happy with the direction you have chosen. Hope to see you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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