Flying With Broken Wings: Pain, PTSD, and Pressing Onward

 Dear Henry,

The last few weeks have been an interesting dive into places I'm tired of visiting. You see, I would love to get a regular following for my blogs and continually read tips, tricks, and all sorts of books about how to get your blogs noticed. The last book I picked up swears that writing your own book is the way to do this. 

This isn't the first time the suggestion of writing a book has popped up. I've lived a long time for someone who has had the physical trauma I had with "the accident" and the subsequent pregnancy (read about that here), and I am "surprisingly healthy" for my history. Many people feel this is the making of a good success story and think I should tell the tale. After reading this latest suggestion, I seriously began to do the groundwork of writing a book about my miraculous survival and how I navigate daily life.

But then I got into the research.  

I picked up a few books about those who had miraculous survival experiences. Then, I began delving into the stories they told and realized, very quickly, I would need to tell the whole story. I would need to talk about more than just "the accident." I would also need to discuss the wounds my parents left. Because the neglectful, highly sexualized, and violent atmosphere of addictions that I was raised in caused as many, if not more, of the day-to-day "demons" I face as "the accident" has.

I'm tired of it all, especially of giving press to people who don't deserve it.

The research caused its own problems. By delving into the stories of others, I ended up opening the door to my own closet of skeletons and realized that I can't read stories such as these without picking a fight with the voices inside my head (this is also why I watch so little television.)

My go-to method of dealing with the "visions of sugar plums" is the same method I use to cope with pain. I use the noting technique. This means I briefly acknowledge the existence of the thought or ache and immediately find something positive to think about or something productive to do (usually both). Despite my relative control over both conditions, I can't stay in the weeds of traumatic stories, not my own or others, without starting to struggle. Unfortunately, I didn't catch my struggles fast enough during the research, and I spoke to several people from my pain, not my person.

I had to accept that I couldn't write a book about my life, at least right now. The story is too real and too raw, and the wounds inflicted by having parents unable to love are wounds that still bleed profusely. 

It was a disappointing revelation.

I have often felt that my reason for living as long as I have is to share my tips and tricks of survival, and maybe offer some hope that chronic pain and PTSD are conditions that can be peacefully lived with. Now, I wonder if I can convey enough information through the shorter and more condensed format of blogs and just accept that I won't reach as many people. It's disappointing.

You see, I want to be successful at this. Not so much for financial gain (although the extra money would be nice) but because, after I had to give up my career, I felt like I was drifting and without purpose and hoped that maybe I could find a purpose in writing and through my photography.

And I can. Birds don't necessarily have a destination in mind; they just fly to fly, and maybe my purpose is to have a story, even if few people know it.

xoxo a.d. elliott


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at, you can also read her book reviews at and US military biographies at

Her online photography gallery can be found at


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