Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is usually something people associate with war. Bombs explode and guns fire so when the soldiers who experienced this get back, things trigger them such as loud noises, fireworks, bright flashes, etc.
PTSD occurs in regular people too. I was diagnosed with PTSD around a year ago after my relationship with the narcissist.
If you’re someone who is reading this and thinking that PTSD is impossible to have from a relationship or if you have the opinion that I’m just whining about some boy- please open your mind and continue or stop reading.
*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 actually had to be placed in a psyc. ward for a bit to recover, although psyc. wards are more like prisons but with less activities available to inmates, which doesn’t help very much (a rant for another time).
After I had an initial shock recovery, I would get triggered by things that reminded me of the situation that I had been in. For example, I would almost pass out if I saw a blue car (my ex’s car color) for the longest time. 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 scared to leave my home because if I got triggered, I might not be able to get back on my own. I had to ask close friends to come with me to go anywhere so that I felt safe. I mostly sat alone in my dark apartment while I watched Netflix to numb myself while the tides of panic washed over me. I didn’t know what was normal anymore, let alone who I was.
At a turning point, my PTSD morphed into a weird conglomerate of PTSD, intrusive thoughts and hallucinations (YES, hallucinations!!!). Intrusive thoughts are weird because the 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. Even if I asked my brain to stop playing this opaque movie before my eyes, it wouldn’t. The thoughts were small, but they would create an avalanche of turmoil in their wake. I questioned reality- I literally had to ask friends whether or not certain things were true. I experienced scent hallucinations- literally, it was like my abuser’s cologne was shoved up my nose and wouldn’t leave even though I knew it wasn’t real. (We will re-visit this topic as I lay out my story with PTSD and domestic abuse chapter by chapter.)
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 America seems to have today.
Firstly, we aren’t victims- we are survivors.
Secondly, we have NOTHING to be ashamed of.
PTSD is just a neural pathway 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 hard 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 the attitude towards abuse, assault and victims changes.