It’s Personal – Painful, Happy, Sad, Inspiring Life

by Sherry Riter in Sherry

“What lies behind us and
what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to
what lies within us.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

The Sign On My Door

I created a sign to put on my door at work. I’m sure people probably think I’ve lost my mind. For years I’ve been a sad, depressed and body sick/mind sick woman and overnight it seems I’ve become a happy, hopeful, healthy, energetic woman. For them it may seem quick, but for me it has been a long climb up a very jagged mountain.

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit,
when there are footprints on the moon.”
~ Paul Brandt ~

Anyway, let’s get back to my new office door sign.

Enter At Your Own Risk Happiness Life

Looking at this picture of an open door in the middle of field with sunshine bursting through the opening totally expresses how I’m feeling. So I typed “Enter At Your Own Risk” above the picture as my “welcome” message to everyone that enters my office. Also on the sign, inside the open door which represents my open heart and soul, I typed the words “Happiness inside.” It’s a short message, but powerful since it is hanging on my office door.

The only way you can really grasp the significance of the sign is to understand that happiness has been in short supply for many years. My struggle with overcoming PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) has been lonely, scary, depressing, sad and VERY painful. Does that sound like happiness to you?

“Always bear in mind that
your own resolution to succeed,
is more important than any other one thing.”
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

It’s Personal – My Life – 5 Things I’ve Learned

I remember when Alyssa was in a coma at the hospital. Family members and nurses would come and go. I can remember that throughout the five days they were telling me that I needed to eat, sleep, bathe… All I wanted to do was stay by Alyssa’s hospital bed and stare at her.

At night, the pediatric intensive care nurses insisted that I remained awake if I was going to stay in the room. Leaving Alyssa was not an option, so I remained awake – day, night, day, night, day, night…

I watched as her blood pressure dipped so low that I knew she was going to die, but inside my head I kept willing her to live. I was so scared. Actually, I was completely terrified that I would lose Alyssa forever and I was powerless to do anything to save her.

My mind was constantly racing with memories, fears and thoughts. Little did I know that my brain would experience that type of racing for many years to come and that PTSD would almost put me in the grave.

“Know yourself
and you will win all battles.”
~ Sun Tzu ~

Sherry Riter The Redhead Riter Blogger

So today was a very stressful day at work. Maybe because it was a stressful day or maybe it was because I know that it has almost been three years since Alyssa was in a coma, but I experienced a rush of overwhelming memories late in the afternoon. I’m sure many of the women will understand, but the best way sometimes to shake off pain is simply to just break down and cry.

As if I haven’t cried enough during the past three years, I added a few more tears to the bucket after I got home. The pain was released and the memories have floated back between the pages of history.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this…Everything about my fight to overcome PTSD has not been bad. I know! Can you believe I just said THAT especially considering most of the struggle has been more like Hell than life?!

There are five very important and life altering things I learned while struggling with PTSD. These things are invaluable life lessons that have altered my perception forever.

  1. I know Sherry – There isn’t anything about myself that I do not know and understand. I won’t ever make apologies for being me again.
  2. I know the people around me – I may not know how they drink their coffee or what television shows they watch, but I know what they will do when I need them to help me. I’ve also learned that their ignorance, childhood, current insecurities or selfishness influenced their reaction to my illness and attempts in obtaining their help.
  3. I am stronger than I ever realized – I often tout that I am a wimp and my family will be the first people to agree. However, I have learned that I am not a wimp at all because I persevere through the pain. A wimp does not survive and overcome PTSD. No way. PTSD is like World War 3 times 2 billion. A war with one’s mind and emotions is overwhelming.
  4. We are alone – Not only am I alone, but you are alone too. When it all boils down to the very basics of life, you can only count on one human being. Yourself. You can believe in God, the Universe or “anything” else, but the only tangible thing you can count on is yourself. God, the Universe and “anything” else is not going to do the work for you, take away all the pain or live your life. It is YOUR life. No one on this planet knows you like you know yourself. When it is the middle of the night and you are all alone with your pain, only you can change the situation. Only you can decide when, where and how you will react to any given situation.
  5. I love Alyssa – I already knew that I love Alyssa, but since Alyssa supported me even when she had zero understanding of PTSD, it made me love her even more. When Alyssa was in a coma and verging on death, I was terrified. I wouldn’t have been terrified if I didn’t love her. I’m not, however, the least bit sorry that I love Alyssa. If it were possible to love her more, I would do it. It is impossible for me to love Alyssa more because I love her with every cell in my body, more than all the stars in the sky, more than every grain of sand in the desert or all the water molecules in the ocean. Yeah, that’s a lot.

Every morning I open my eyes and for a minute I am very still. I keep waiting for all that sadness and pain to come rushing back and overwhelm me like it has for the past three years, however, it is gone. The happiness in my heart is real. I am inspired and motivated to live every moment in the present. Life can’t be planned down to the miniscule of details and worrying about things that “might” happen only wastes precious time.

“The journey of a thousand miles
must begin with a single step.”
~ Lao Tzu ~

I feel like a new person almost like a worm that has turned into a butterfly. Actually, it is even stronger than that and more life altering. I feel like I’ve died and come back to life again with a healthier body, clearer mind and a heart that doesn’t have so much pain suffocating it.

If you take anything from this post, I hope it will be this:

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life,
all my troubles and obstacles,
have strengthened me…
You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be
the best thing in the world for you.”
~ Walt Disney ~

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sue February 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hi Sherry, I am happy to hear you’re doing so well lately.


2 Sherry Riter February 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thank you Sue!!!!! 😀


3 Joan February 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I love the sign you created for your office door and I loved reading this post! You deserve every bit of happiness that you are now feeling. It took courage and strength to get to where you are today! 🙂


4 Sherry Riter February 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

Thank you Joan!!!! {{{hugsss}}}


5 Bev February 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I too am glad you are better! Hugs!


6 Sherry Riter February 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

{{{hugggssss back}}}} and thank you Bev!!!


7 Tina Lancing February 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Hi Sherry, your writing is amazing! I’m so happy to hear you’re doing well now.


8 Sherry Riter February 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thank you Tina! I am so much better and so thankful!!!! {{{{hugssss}}}


9 Young Werther February 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Excellent blog and love the affirmations!


10 Sherry Riter February 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thank you my friend! {{{{hugssss}}}}


11 Skip_D February 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

your happiness makes me happy!!! …& I love your sign! 😀



12 Sherry Riter March 1, 2013 at 7:42 am

Thank you Skip! {{{hugssss}}}}


13 teresa February 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm

You are so beautiful!!!! I love you, you made me think of the time you watched that little cartoon, What the world needs now—the worm turned to a butterfly and flew off and did not know his friend any more—you cried . I can see you so plain in blue footed pjs in your little chair. love you


14 Sherry Riter March 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

Thank you Mom. I love you too.

That show was called For The Love Of Fred and I still think of it often. It made such a huge impression on me.


15 katherine March 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

sherry your joy is showing!!!! xoxoxoxox


16 Sherry Riter March 2, 2013 at 7:23 am

😀 Yes! It is showing and I am so glad! Thank you so much Katherine! {{{{hugssss}}}}


17 Lisa March 14, 2013 at 2:49 am

You rock! You are not only alive but have a huge heart! I just read your words and was blown away!

“There is also an ignorance and mean-spirit in some people when they associate with sick people – mind or body. There is no allowance given or hand extended to help when the going gets rough. These mean people see it as an opportunity to get ahead by stepping on you. Having experienced this first hand and now recognizing it, I’m a bit disappointed and angry. However, after all I’ve been through the last three years, nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING is going to dampen my happy spirit.

I live.”

and to that I say YES~!


18 Sherry Riter March 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH LISA!!! {{{huggssss}}}}


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