What it's really like to live with PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD for short. This is something that develops after a traumatic event or events in someones life. A lot of people know of this disorder because of war, it’s very common for people who are in the army who have been to war. The truth is, anyone can get ptsd from anything traumatic. abuse, birth, accidents and so much more. PTSD is a life CHAnging DISORDER that can affect each person so DIFFERENTLY. Me and some fellow ptsd warriors are sharing what it’s like to really live with pstd.
I was diagnosed with PTSD at the fresh age of eighteen. I remember having a little breakdown in my doctors room and he handed me a prescription for pills and said I was now on the waiting list for therapy. I guess you could say I knew it was coming. I had been struggling with trauma for years and when the family home changed it all hit the surface, it was going to happen and it happened then. The truth is trauma had been playing havoc within my head since I was little, I just didn’t realise it. I knew there was something wrong with me yet never thought it would be something like this. It turns out a few years latter that my PTSD is “complex” because it was multiple trauma throughout my life, and that my friends makes things, well, complex.
For me, my life with PTSD isn’t simple. Trauma has it’s ways with your brain and it can leave you feeling disconnected. That is how I feel most of the time, not here. Sometimes I’m just there back as a little girl feeling scared and trying my best to work out the reason why. Why did this happen, what is the meaning behind this, why, why why. Of course doing this drives me mad and sometimes to the point of no return and I’m in a big black pit of doom. Triggers play a massive part for me. A trigger, if you didn’t know is something that can take you back to that place or time of trauma. Smells, songs, food all affect me. Even the day of the week or time of year. I go back and I re-live it over and over. I don’t want to go back to that time, I don’t want to think about it in detail or go over it in a way that is obsessive but I do and it sucks, big time. My trauma has left me with dissociation, where I go off into another world of my own as a way to deal with what I have been through and to prevent myself re-living the trauma. Sometimes my dissociation is a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse.
Pixie shares what it’s like now after trauma
For years I didn't even realise that was what I was living with. I got abused as a child and little words or smells would trigger me off. I'd have nightmares about certain people and couldn't bear anyone touching me because I felt suffocated or like I was drowning... Now I can't cope with anyone sat by me particularly men. I used to love facials or beauty treatments but the thought of being touched by another person makes me feel sick
Megan shares what living with PTSD is like for herself
12 months ago I ended up in hospital and I had to undergo emergency major surgery on my lungs. The op didn't affect me, however the parts which came after have left scars on my mind forever since and set of my anxieties. I went to a counsellor and she said it was PTSD and gave me ways to manage it. I've always been a healthy active girl (I've been surfing since the age of 5) I don't smoke and I barely drink, and to find that one of my lungs failed me affected me terribly. It took me a long time to not feel like my body had let me down after all the good I had done to it. For a long time after my release from hospital, I couldn't go anywhere on my own, driving past the hospital gave me a panic attack, everything made me cry if it made me jump, I was too scared to do anything let alone half the stuff I used to do as an active teen. I've since passed my 12 month recovery mark and am living happily and healthily now, I still have some days where something triggers the trauma I went through though unfortunately.
Charlotte talks about her take of PTSD
I avoid sleep subconsciously as I dread the nightmares. Flashbacks can strike at any time when my head is empty so I’m constantly “busying” myself by playing music in headphones everywhere, kindle reading on the bus etc. I cannot wear things around my neck, visit Paris, or sleep in a bed with anyone. I avoid travelling through many areas associated with my trauma and abuser, and suffer heightened anxiety if I have to. Between avoiding triggers and not wanting to suffer a flashback in public, my world has shrunk. Feeling trapped triggers self-harm urges. I dissociate so long sometimes I forget to eat or drink for days as I’m not present in my own body. The only treatment is EMDR therapy which is not easily available on the NHS but is remarkably, provably effective. In my view is should be dished out as freely as Smarties especially to those most likely to suffer such as victims of violence, abuse survivors and emergency workers. I never really understood my condition until I read The Body Keeps The Score by Dr Bessel van der Kolk.