I was first diagnosed with PTSD about six years ago. Now, I know what it is and understand how it works. I have been battling it for decades. Along with a good unhealthy dose of chronic depression. PTSD and depression…it’s like having twins.
It seems to me you can’t have one without the other. They both know how to push your buttons, and slowly but surely they drive you mad.
A very dear friend of mine was absolutely gob-smacked when he found out that I had never done any research into my mental illness. I didn’t want to, because what if I had something wrong with me, and worse still, what if it had a name, and what if I was just a raving lunatic?
I grew up in the country, a small rural town, where everyone new everyone, and there was not a drop of compassion for anyone who showed the slightest hint of a mental illness. In fact, back then the only terms I had heard for mental illness was, she’s barking mad, a bunny boiler, nutcase, weirdo, and the men in white jackets will come and take them away.
For me…if only they had.
If you have been following My Story so far, you would see why I would have opened the door wide and said take me away. Anything would have been better than the life I was living. I was trapped in hell, with no end in sight.
PTSD is not something you want, it’s not something you catch. It is a symptom from something that you have experienced or that has been done to you. It is your brain’s response for prolonged abuse and trauma, of which there is no escape from.
In the olden days, they called it Shell Shock as most of the war veterans had PTSD. Now I have never been in a war, but I have over a decade of physical and mental torture.
PTSD is the legacy from that.
If you suffer from PTSD you feel frozen in time. Your day to day life feels like you walk a tightrope. You are concentrating so hard to stay on that line. You know that one toe over that rope will tear you open. A great big ugly painful wound that never heals and wont stop aching…and what it takes to start healing that wound again is anyone’s guess.
All of a sudden you’re back in your past and your future looks pretty grim. I have to keep myself constantly busy, so my mind doesn’t go there. I knit, I crochet and obviously I write, but whatever I do it has to be all consuming. If it isn’t, self harm, self doubt, my abusers (my family and the clergyman) and binge eating all come knocking on my door.
The worst part about suffering from PTSD are the triggers. You usually don’t know when the painful memories are going to be triggered into life again. The triggers can be caused by a colour, a smell or fragrance, a sound such as the tone of a voice…and heaven help me if somebody asks me about my family! Boom! Off comes the lid and I am in free fall.
Now I don’t use my PTSD as an excuse for my behaviour, but I have been dealing with this for a very long time. If I get angry and upset I withdraw. I want to be on my own where it’s safe. No one can touch me there. I don’t speak. I’m not in the “I’m not talking to you” huffy kind of way. I just don’t want to talk at all. It takes too much energy and I have no energy to pretend to be nice. I am too busy battling it out hard with my demons.
I break often and I have the coping skills to get through it. They may not be what you might do, but they work for me. If there is one thing that I have learned from suffering with PTSD it’s not about ‘the breaking’ that actually matters. It’s the things I do to protect myself and rest my weary brain, how I pick myself up and keep on keeping on that actually matters.
This old girl love’s the fact she keeps on going. She is a fighter, and so are you.
Be kind to yourself,
Love Big Fat Dee