The Door Opens And Closes

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Love,Motivation

Italian French door Patio Door

“When one door of happiness closes,
another opens,
but often we look so long
at the closed door
that we do not see the one
that has been opened for us.”
~ Helen Keller ~

I’m often razzed, chided or kidded about the amount of time I remain at home…alone. I used to get soooo upset and tripped over my own words trying to explain exactly why I was at home so much. I wanted to sound “normal” although I knew and still know that I am not normal nor was I ever normal. Of course, the definition of “normal” is like a moving target anyway, so who really cares if I’m fitting in with the majority or not?

Face it. I’ve been a redhead all my life. I am used to being different, not fitting in, picked on, sticking out, stared at, made fun of, criticized, bullied, ridiculed and ostracized. Since I have PTSD and have added another layer of “something different” to the mix of my personality, I’m just more special!

Anyway, I stay home in the peace and solitude because it is easier to concentrate and cope with my PTSD symptoms without the bustle of the rest of the world. When a person has PTSD, they feel and are out of control, however, at home I can be in control of most things.

While being alone with all this thinking and concentrating, I rehash portions of my life over and over again because…well, I guess I haven’t forgiven myself for stupid stuff. Some days are better than most, but when I get “foggy brain,” the depression associated with not being able to think fluidly brings about too much rehashing.

It is easy to recognize extreme rehashing of life’s mistakes because statements like, “If I had” or “I should have” start the sentences. This week I was pretty good at stopping myself because I know that I CAN’T GO BACK and do anything over again. Right now, I’m here. The person that I’ve become would be drastically different if any of my experiences were eliminated.

Rehashing experiences is a PTSD specialty especially because of the flashbacks. I’m over the flashbacks, but in order to heal, I have to often relinquish my view forward and instead look backwards. It is a bit of a drag, but this “work” will heal me. This weekend my healing kept me angry at everything, but mostly myself. Actually, I was unjustly angry at myself. My expectation for perfection is a goal I will always fall short of achieving because I am only a human being and humans are not perfect.

Over the past several years I’ve had to concentrate so much on recovering that I haven’t had time to look forward through any new doorways. Happiness has often been elusive. Just the regular experiences of life leave me exhausted and mourning the loss of the old, competent, on the ball, juggler of everything, superior achiever. But then I stop myself and say, “Wait just one darn minute, Sherry. YOU have come a long way! YOU have survived many major life events like divorce, job change, moving and PTSD.” I not only survived, I STILL kept moving forward in life.

It is okay to look at the closed door, but don’t get fixated on it. The past is over. What you once were or once had is gone. What you have now is life, opportunity and a future. That’s what I keep telling myself and deep down in my heart, I know that I’m right.


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.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy Morelli,LPC April 8, 2013 at 10:03 am

Hi Red – Beautiful post and thanks again for reminding me of the debilitating nature of PTSD, it helps me be a better therapist. I just reviewed Lillie Leonardi’s book about spirituality, being a first responder, PTSD, EMDR and recovery on my blog. It’s a great book, maybe you;d like it! Much love, Kathy


2 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Thank you Kathy. Yes, PTSD is a terrible thing. Ugh. I’m thankful for people like you who can help people like me. {{{hugsss}}}


3 Joan April 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

I love that quote by Helen Keller and it is so true! When one door closes I always look for the open door, because I know that’s where opportunity waits. 🙂


4 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm

😀 Yep!!! {{{hugsss}}}


5 Tina Barbour April 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Wise words! I think any time we deal with disorders like PTSD or depression, it’s easy to get stuck staring at that closed door. Having “life, opportunity, and a future”–that’s no small thing! Sometimes I have to remind myself (with depression, OCD) to lift up my eyes and look at that opening door. Thank you for your honesty and wisdom.


6 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Thank you Tina! It’s nice to know someone else gets in that place with me. {{{hugsss}}}


7 Young Werther April 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Hey, nobody has any right to tell you what to do, or what’s ‘normal’ is !!

How I hate this majority thinking, when I go out, I don’t have to drink alcohol, there’s nothing wrong with me if I decide not to have kids, I enjoy staying home with a book, as a guy, I don’t have to be the main breadwinner, I don’t have to attend dinner parties…

Hang in there and live life your way!


8 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Young Werther, thank you so much!!!! {{{hugssss}}}


9 Philip Bond April 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I quite admire the person you are. Love your work.


10 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Thank you so much Philip. {{{hugsss}}}


11 Liza April 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

I think it takes a big step to actually believe that the past is in the past. I can only imagine what it feels like to NOT have flashbacks! I still have them, especially during my sleep. They drive me insane, and I just… feel insane. 😡

I’ve started to ask, “Will it change anything?” when people say certain things to me. Their answer is typically, “Well, no, but…”, so I reply with, “Then stop talking. We’re not talking about regrets. I don’t regret it. It made me this way. I’m doing what I’m doing now because of it.” It’s not necessarily a step forward; it’s simply self-awareness that I can’t change anything. It’s taken me about five or so years to realize this.

I like what you’ve said here, because I can really relate.


12 Sherry Riter April 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

“They drive me insane, and I just… feel insane.” Well, mine DID drive me insane quite literally.

You’re right. We can’t change what happened in the past, but we CAN change the future by coping with the present. I wish there was a set answer that was the same for everyone, but you know that isn’t the case. Every person is different, but it does all boil down to losing control. Just try to remember, you DO CONTROL your present and future. It CAN be happy. I promise you that if you hang in there, do the work to heal, you WILL heal and feel happy.



13 Carlos April 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

The problem with constantly looking at the past is that we don’t allow ourselves to see the future. I too have tendencies to ponder about the past… Acceptance is the best therapy.


14 Sherry Riter April 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

For control freaks like me, it is hard to accept that we don’t really have control. Man, did I really just say that? LOL See, I have come a long way. Thank you for your comment, Carlos. I’m sure it resonates with many people.


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