This isnt a blog asking people to feel sorry for me or apologizing for something i dont need to apologize for, but it is simply giving a bit of insight into what goes on in my head sometimes so that as my friends you can understand me better and also shed light on something that isnt really talked about much and very few people actually understand.
I suffer from chronic post traumatic stress disorder and have done so for a number of years even though i was only formally diagnosed in 2008 by a psychiatrist who had a special background in treating ptsd in war veterans ( more on that later) This comes as a result of a range of predominantly sexual abuses ranging from the first in 1997 (my 14th birthday) till the last in late october 2010 when i ws attacked on my way to a friend’s party by a stranger.. Most days i am fine.. I would say a good 6 out of 7 days of the week my symptoms do not bother me.
Sometimes they do. There are situations i cant handle, places and people i cant be around because they remind me too much of things i dont want to be reminded of.. I had to awkwardly ask people to stop sending me birthday cards because they would remind me of that particular day. A typical reaction includes visually reliving the event to feeling as though im being followed to as much as visualizing the perpetrator from the corner of my eye or at the foot of my bed. My symptoms are often unpredictable, severe and can occur either nightly or daily. They manifest themselves in extreme anxiety often at their worst an inability to leave the house and a terror at being alone. I have had at times friends take turns in staying with me because of my abject terror. This makes relationships work study and productivity in general extremely difficult. Concentration is almost impossible at times and during the very worst days i am completely bedridden. Like today.
In society we conceptualize ptsd as something that return soldiers experience, that with enough working through the symptoms will simply evaporate over time.. I have seen countless psychologists and counsellors over the years and although i am seeing excellent people at the moment – trauma does not simply evaporate. It remains. It diminishes and often flickers like a lightbulb but it never just goes away…
But then again i consider myself one of the lucky ones. I have access to therapy. I enjoy creativity and my life is full of relationships that give me joy. I have learned over time that things will get better that the distance between good and bad days will get longer. Ultimately it is hopeful. It is just waiting that hurts.
If you see me looking a bit unsettled please ask. Id do the same for you.