PTSD and Me
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which forms after being involved or witnessing something traumatic. Most people know of it as it’s common for people in the army to form after going out to war but anyone can have PTSD and anything traumatic can cause it.
When I was eighteen I was diagnosed with PTSD. I grew up in a very abusive household for eighteen years. It started when I was born and it ended before my eighteenth birthday. My PTSD started at at young age but because I directed my trauma onto another part of me I was able to deal with it and thus my OCD started. When the trauma ended that was when it all hit me like the biggest ton of red bricks. I felt detached as all these emotions and feelings came to the surface and I started to make sense of my life and that was when the “oh shit moment” came up and the way my head dealt with it was a breakdown.
Living with PTSD is awkward, hard and frightening. Daily life can be a struggle at times because of the effects. Flashbacks are a key part of PTSD. They are where you relive the trauma throughout the day. The best way I can describe them is it’s like a black cloud covers you and something inside your head turns on a video of your past and you are made to watch it. It’s like a memory is stuck on repeat but not in a way where you can escape or stop thinking about it. You have no control or choice. It’s just stuck and you are left there watching.
Nightmares are another part with PTSD, you can’t even escape when you are asleep. It’s the same as the flashbacks but you are asleep and you find that when you wake up you feel detached and it takes awhile to remember you are safe and it was just a dream. Sometimes I will wake up and I have no idea where the hell I am which is scary and strange because everything in the room is mine and I know that but I feel like I’m stuck between worlds.
Reliving trauma isn’t easy and this leads me now onto triggers. Triggers are something that reminds you of a trauma. This can be anything depending on what has traumatised you. Movies with violence are something I find very hard to watch and I will always try and avoid an argument where there is shouting because I know that it will remind me of a time in my life and I will start to relive it again. I could be eating the best food in the world but maybe the smell reminds me of a time where something bad happened and “flash ahhh” I’m back at a time in my life reliving it. Avoidance is a big part because who wants to relive something awful?
My PTSD is complex because it wasn’t a single trauma, it was multiple so everyday my nightmares, flashbacks and triggers can differ so life is very unpredictable. Because of this I have a phobia of being alone in-case something bad happens. Of course having OCD with PTSD is a recipe for disaster because my OCD likes to make me analyse the past (I loath it).
The treatment for PTSD is medication and therapy. I have had CBT four times but because you don’t look to the past I couldn’t unravel or learn from it. I did learn some amazing coping techniques such as mindfulness. Talking about my life helps me heal which is strange considering the triggers but I’m in control so I’m okay with that. I just don’t go to far!
I push myself everyday to get better and I try my best to keep myself in the now. I see it as it took a long time to form so it’s going to take a while to go. It’s funny because I wouldn’t take my life away because I have learnt so much and I know I’m so strong. Of course I have learnt so much wrong with my life but I can relearn it day by day. Some days are good and others worse but I know I will get there in the end.
Trauma can affect anyone from anything and the main thing to do if you notice these symptoms is to talk to someone. Get the help that you need. Your GP can offer you medication and talking therapy, the best that will suit you and mindfulness can help massively.