• Living

    Essential Reading – The Choice by Edith Eger

    unmade bed coffee and reading mornings

     

    ‘Being a survivor, being a ‘thriver’, requires absolute acceptance of what was and what is […] Healing isn’t about recovery, it’s about discovery’

    So many quotes that an be chosen from The Choice, by Edith Eger. Beware there is life before reading The Choice and after reading The Choice. I think I wished I had read it before. I think I would have listened to its lessons, because she has been through hell, and you can only be in awe of what she has achieved. But the book came when it did, and helped me move forward and embrace my grief, but also gave me permission to thrive.

    When I first started talking about my PTSD on my instagram page, I asked for book recommendations. The Choice came up a few times, I had not heard about it. I had to wait quite a while before getting it out of the library (clearly I was the only one who had not heard about it). I probably could have bought it, but if I am honest I was not that keen to read about Auschwitz and concentration camps – I try to stay away from really sad (and real) stories. I was SO wrong. It is about SO much more than that, and it is SO liberating. I read it within a week, and spent another week copying all the quotes I wanted to keep from the book. It is about PTSD, but everyone will get something from it, way beyond reading about a part of the European culture that shapes the world we know today.

    Edith Eger was just 16 years old in 1944 when she entered the gates of hell – Auschwitz. I won’t go into any more detail, but Edith shares her experiences in Auschwitz , and when liberation finally came, she was discovered among a pile of bodies barely alive. Edith went on to become an eminent psychologist, someone who helped people come to terms with traumas in their lives (and she shares a wide range of cases with us) but she also needed to exorcise the ghosts of her own past too.

    “Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief”.

    If you have PTSD symptoms it will make you feel normal, in fact Edit, refreshingly, disagrees with the term ‘disorder’ as it gives a negative connotation of reactions that are totally normal. I cannot see an ambulance without freezing. The sound, the rush, it brings everything back to the time Leo was me in one and got worse in front of my eyes. Louise is sick, my first thought is that she will die, every single time. I do try to look at the symptoms with a more clinical mind, knowing that she is not Leo. But still. And yes I put myself in this position by deciding to have Louise.

    Coming back to the book, the ones who were fortunate enough to survive the death camps, didn’t just need medical intervention for their extreme malnutrition and other physical problems, but more importantly it was the huge psychological scars that would prove the most difficult to heal.

    ‘Suffering is universal. But victimhood is optional’

     

    The Choice by Edith Eger and quotes

    This is not a self-help book or a TED Talk (she would have been brilliant), and yet it is. You can hear the carefully chosen words, and cases put before you, by a psychologist to help you recover. It does not judge your suffering, your trauma, she insists on not comparing traumas – you do not know how many people have said to me that my trauma is greater than theirs. And if I am honest I thought that Edith’s own trauma was in on another league compared to my own. But she will tell you that there is no hierarchy of suffering. And that is how I feel as well.

    I am not sure I am doing any justice to the book, as the aim is to make you read it, right now. I have no affiliation to any book store, I just feel anyone would benefit from this book. It encompasses everything that you hear about now, being vulnerable, being grateful, releasing the patterns in your mind that do not serve you anymore.

    Desmond Tutu said that this book would leave you forever changed- I agree. Thank you Edith for sharing your courageous and inspiring life story, it’s not something I will forget any time soon.

    ‘I want you to hear my story and say, ‘if she can do it, then so can I”

     

     

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