These are the things I have learned. As an adult I possess the power to choose.I may often forget this or dislike the idea that I do, but I know that I have the power to make decisions that affect my life. I may prefer to place the blame on those who hurt me, but my adult life is of my making. I can choose not to choose but that in itself is a choice. I can choose to go to work even when I don't feel like I can face the world. I can choose to be kind and listen to my patients even when I feel like I want to lash out or when I want to switch off. Even now, I can choose whether or not to go home and I have the power to decide how much power I give to others over me (though I'm right now choosing wrongly, it's still a choice...) I choose every day to live even though many days I feel like I wish to die. I choose not to hurt those around me. It is my choice when I decide to speak honestly with my physician and equally my choice when I decide to be avoidant. I may not choose the correct path, but I choose all the same and nobody can take that away from me. Only I can quit the race.I learned that even when everybody else has given up on me, I will make it if I don't join the crowd. It was predicted I would flunk in 10th grade after I overdosed. I was suspended from school for that and threatened with expulsion. My teachers didn't think I would make it. My psychiatrist told me she thought I would ultimately kill myself within two years. Well, evidently I didn't. I finished high school, was accepted into medical school immediately after, and became the youngest person in my university faculty to graduate medicine at 23. I am still in the race. I am blessed.Even though it sometimes felt I was cursed, I had many things that many others did not. There was always at least one person in my life at any point in time that believed in my ability to succeed. Even if it was only one person, I had that much. I read somewhere once that in a study of juvenile delinquents that looked at what happened to them, ultimately it showed that if there was only one person in that delinquent's life that had a positive influence on them and that he/she could talk to, the outcomes were startlingly more positive than if there was nobody. I can't run from my shadow forever.It sucks because I don't really like the looks of my shadow but it is always going to be there. I know I have to learn to accept it. I haven't succeeded yet but someday I hope to. Pre-tending is often useful, but must be followed by tending.As in, tending to what it is that makes me afraid of being real. Right now I continue pre-tending but I know it lies ahead of me to tend to my fears and hurts. And I have learned that when I am with friends, I need not pretend. I can attend to myself in safety. Healing is optional.Just as life is optional. Obviously both are certainly the preferred, socially-acceptable, morally-responsible options. But they are options nonetheless. I opt for both but by god it is hard and sometimes I regress into deciding that healing is something that will either "happen" or "not happen" and treat it like a big Healing Lottery Ticket.So anyway those are the things I think I have learned through living with the aftereffects of the past. Did I mention that I have learned these things but need not necessarily always practice them?