Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is usually something people associate with war.
Pain, agony, distress, blood and gore are all present.
When the soldiers who experienced this get back, things trigger them such as loud noises, fireworks, bright flashes, etc.
PTSD occurs in civilians too. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017 after my relationship with a narcissist.
*Disclaimer* I am not writing this blog for myself- I don’t need to vent, I don’t need to express emotions and I don’t need to whine about some boy- writing these things triggers me and brings back PTSD symptoms- it doesn’t benefit me at all other than letting me help other survivors relate to someone and bring awareness to those who can’t relate. I am writing this blog solely to help others and raise awareness about mental health.
I was placed in a psych ward once I could no longer function at work.
Having 30 panic attacks in a day and being found hiding in a corner of a bathroom in a pile of your own saliva and tears rocking yourself back and forth doesn’t reallllllly make you look super competent as a human.
After I had an initial shock recovery, I would get triggered by things that reminded me of my precious situation.
I was always on edge. I had to barely enter a room and then inspect it for a minute before I could actually enter- I had to make sure he wasn’t there even when I knew for a fact that he wasn’t. It became a compulsion and I couldn’t stop myself.
Just trying to walk home from work I’d panic because anytime a care passed that resembled his car in color or style, I’d hyperventilate and almost pass out.
When I got triggered, it was as if everything else got blocked out and all I could see and feel was the flashback that I was experiencing. Sometimes, I’d find myself curled up in a ball in the corner of the room and not know why I was there. Other times, I’d just start shaking too violently to concentrate. Still other times, it would just feel like someone had wrapped their hands around my throat.
I was literally scared to leave my home because if I got triggered, I might not be able to get back on my own.
Constantly, I would ask friends if my actions were normal because somehow, I’d forgotten who I was before. I had no idea what was normal. I’d even ask if someone else saw or smelled or heard something that I had because hallucinations came when I got hit with a trigger.
Scent hallucinations. Weird concept. It’s like having a scent shoved inside your nose that you know doesn’t exist because you’re in a room alone. You try to shake it out or blow your nose or just tell yourself it’s fake but you can’t stop smelling it and every single damned time you inhale, you’re transported to your old world- I world of abuse and pain and torment. You need to escape so you go to an empty room and hide under a desk and just wait it out. You wait for the waves of panic to wash over you and hope that the tide goes out soon.
Intrusive thoughts are a weird development that happens once you’ve started to recover a bit but aren’t anywhere near healthy or normal. It’s less bad than hallucinations but it still fucking sucks. These thoughts are in your own head, but you didn’t put them there.
Little insane thoughts bubble into your head out of nowhere. Sometimes, my intrusive thoughts would play out in front of me- as if they were on an opaque screen in front of my eyes, while the rest of the real world continued in the background. The thoughts don’t stop until they’re over- you can’t talk yourself out of them or shock yourself out of them.
The thoughts were small, but they would create an avalanche of turmoil in their wake. Questioning reality, questioning if any of it ever happened, questioning who you are.
The thing is, is that I was so ashamed of having PTSD that I was afraid to reach out to people. I isolated myself because of the victim-shaming attitude that exists today.
Firstly, we aren’t victims- we are survivors.
Secondly, we have NOTHING to be ashamed of.
PTSD is just a ton of crazy neural pathways that the body creates so that the brain is literally wired to avoid any traumatic situations that are similar to previous traumas. This is why it’s so much easier to be reminded of bad times or sad/difficult/stressful times and less easy to recall good times- it’s evolution’s way of helping us out.
PTSD is just the body reacting to make sure that you don’t get into the same traumatic situations- your body goes into fight or flight mode so that you can escape whatever had caused the original trauma- with time, this effect can be overcome. With support of other survivors, this effect can be overcome even faster.
It’s time that attitudes and pre-conceived notions towards victims of abuse change.
It’s time for mental health to change.
It’s time for us to be who we are, accept who we are and love ourselves.
Embrace the emotions. Let them happen. Denied negative emotions have been shown to resurface down the road and manifest in different ways so the fastest way to overcome any sort of PTSD is to let it happen, embrace it, find others who have or are experiencing it and love yourself. Remember that your brain is just protecting you.
Accept. Love. Move forward.