My experience of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

I’ve grown increasingly frustrated this week by a lot of things, things that wouldn’t normally bother me, and… things that should bother me. I’m not too sure how to explain this but I feel as though certain emotions and feelings haven’t really been accessible to me for a while. It’s not as though I’ve been holding back, it’s more like I’ve been ‘accepting’ of a lot of things, when really I had every right to get annoyed, frustrated and a little angry. It’s almost as though my ‘people pleasing’ response to situations has been so ingrained in my actions that I’ve not been allowing myself to feel negative emotions toward anything but myself.

I’ve also begun to accept how okay it is to say no to things. How okay it is to not be able to deal with things, and how okay it is to admit that you’re not the best person for certain jobs.

The past few weeks I’ve started to grow increasingly frustrated at those closest to me, not because of anything they’ve done but because of how afraid I am to tell them when I need help. My friends and my family, fortunately, feel very comfortable coming to me and seeking support, and I would never turn them away, but (especially the last week) I’ve found that I’ve started to get very annoyed, at myself and almost desperately wishing that I could ‘break down’ in front of others… It’s weird.

I love my friends and my family, but the thought of them seeing me ask for help is apparently too much for me to handle. Yet, I’m so open both on my blog and in other aspects of my life which I make public. It’s a little strange!

It’s taken a while for me to feel comfortable opening up in front of others; even around those who I feel comfortable with. I also find that somehow I’m holding back information, even though I cannot ever stop talking… I don’t know if this means I need more time, but I definitely find myself wishing that 50 minute or 60 minute therapy sessions or mental health appointments could last forever. I’d love to spend a good solid day just talking through everything and making sense of everything with those within my support network. I can be very logical at times, while my mind likes to block things out, or throw in some walls every now and then… which is when I get very overwhelmed, confused, scared or just a little blank… and by blank I mean my mind turns into some sort of abyss, where I have no idea what I think, feel or want to do.

I’m really tired and I want to type forever, but I want to quickly mention something else that’s really been bugging me this week (before I fall into a coffee-induced sleep on me sofa).

PTSD doesn’t just affect veterans… though it is an all too common psychological disorder which is synonymous with war, it affects others who have been through traumatic experiences. Initially I was diagnosed with PTSD, I am very aware that my symptoms are intertwined with depression and general anxiety, it just so happens that certain things in my past have led to me dealing with (or not dealing with) certain things.

When I was on the bus the other day (buses and me are apparently not friends at the moment)… there was a young man (late twenties maybe) who was very drunk, he had a little dog with him, with an old tie as a lead. This man was shouting at his dog, swearing and stating that the dog wasn’t the soldier, he [the man] was the soldier… it was my understanding that this man had recently (or a few years back) left the military after returning from war and falling ill… I don’t know, I really don’t, I could be jumping to conclusions but it was clear how distressed both this man and his dog was. I felt awful, I could see that the dog wanted to help the man, but he was also a little frightened (he actually jumped up on the seat and curled up beside me)… what struck me was how helpless the man seemed… he kept saying that nobody cared, when a young lady asked him what support he had he stated that he was receiving support, that he had family who cared and so forth… it was just pretty distressing to see as I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wished this man was receiving some form of round the clock 24/7 treatment… but it’s something that just doesn’t seem possible. Our minds are terrifying at times, we can have sessions where we talk about things and wonderful people who support us but the trauma doesn’t leave us, it follows us around, much like any mental illness, we carry it with us 24/7, and the only thing we want is to be able to wipe the slate clean.

The man on the bus left me questioning whether war-related trauma and PTSD is a completely different type of PTSD, then I released it is and it isn’t. The symptoms, the way our minds work can be very similar no matter what the trauma is, and a traumatic situation is a traumatic situation… it just so happens that it’s more widely accepted that PTSD is associated with the military, and I found myself hopelessly thinking and feeling that I needed to support every veteran, especially with Armistice day leaving this type of stuff very prominent in the media at present.

I read an article earlier about research that suggests exercise is as effective as psychotherapy when it comes to treating Post-traumatic stress disorder… the only thing that I found frustrating was how the research only gave reference and drew upon veterans. Reinforcing my need to remind people that mental illness can affect anyone, and PTSD doesn’t just affect those who have been in combat.

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6 comments

  1. I’m on Prazosin which is a medication for PTSD which they just started a couple years ago for non-combat ptsd. It’s helped with night terrors and some anxiety/hypervigilance. but when I started it it was brand new for non-combat PTSD which implies they were using it for vetrans with PTSD before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so strange, it’s as though they see combat and non-combat to be two different categories of PTSD, which yeah it does make sense, but it does at times leave me feeling ever so slightly as though I’m not ‘good enough’ to have PTSD… which is ridiculous!

      Like

  2. I can understand and relate to mossy of what you have written here. I feel like people don’t take seriously the idea that i could have ptsd because they only hear about it in terms of Veterans. And yet it has most definitely had a huge impact on my life and my health. So i feel ya. ..
    Just as a side note, i have been reading a wonderful book my therapist recommended about ptsd, called “The Body Talks”… most of the research that exists involves war veterans but the book is very well written and had helped me understand many aspects of ptsd so much better. Much love to you. ..

    Liked by 1 person

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