What it’s like to live with PTSD – why it shouldn’t define you

Yosemite, CA

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.”

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

What it’s like for me?

I came home one night ready to work on some songs when it happened. Just another episode.

The trigger caused an intense overwhelming sensation of heartbreak and fear. I started crying profusely and crawled into a ball. My thoughts ran faster than my mind could keep up with. I started listing every human being in the planet I’ve interacted with and how they’ve hurt me. I plotted how NOT to let anyone get near me again. I wanted to run away like a curious child who’s trying to explore new grounds. Except I wasn’t curious or exploring. I just needed to hide. I couldn’t stop feeling like someone was attacking me.  I was in danger and helpless. That fear was penetrating through my pores and I couldn’t shrink more than I already had. A grown woman curled up into a ball alone in her apartment.

I wasn’t being attacked. No one was threatening my existence but myself. But this happens from time to time. I’ve learned to understand it. Sometimes it lasts for a few hours. Other days it can last up to a week. No matter how long it lasts, I’ve learned that there will always be an end to it. I’ll eventually find tranquility in myself and carry on.

The recovery after an episode isn’t always the same either. Sometimes its drastic. I go to an MMA class and immediately after I’m high on adrenaline again. I’m not afraid anymore and life continues.  Other days it takes more effort to snap out of it. I become numb afterward and have trouble expressing happiness or excitement. I don’t feel love; for others or myself. My heart is boxed up with such a strong wall the if Trump were to find out about it, he’d manage to steal it from me.

Wow – first joke I’ve made since it happened so that’s a good sign!

Blogging is therapeutic.  Although not for everyone, it helps put your mind at ease when you release it onto a page. And if I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it again. Awareness is KEY. Its essential. It’s life. Its living. It transforms and helps you become the strongest version of yourself. Awareness means I am not PTSD. I am me.

Cancun, MX

I’m aware of the circumstances I’ve been dealt with. I think that if you or someone you know has similar issues, you can help in many ways. There’s this idea out there that bugs me to my core. The “good vibes only” and “surround yourself with positivity only” type of mentality. I think that’s great to an extent. If you yourself are having issues with negative surroundings, I think it is good to surround yourself with people who will enrich your light. However, I think it’s a mistake to shun those who are dealing with negativity. It means you don’t understand what that person is going through, and you rather secure your well-being than there’s. It means being selfish before lending a hand. It means contributing to an increase in suicides and violence. All because we as a society think that negative thoughts are poison and should be ignored or fought against instead of understood. For some situations, that may in fact be the case. But expressing hurt and pain almost always has nothing to do with the receiving end. There’s deeper entail in that process that people need to pay attention to. It’s all around us. In political affairs, international diplomacy, medicine and technology, warfare, education, on the streets etc… our children are growing up in that same pool of diversity.

Awareness in yourself is the first step and the “end game” is having awareness around you. Understanding what a stranger or friend might be going through and helping in any way you know how. It can be as simple as showing support for the person who lost their first soccer game. You can call a friend and express interest on how they are doing. Help a stranger in line at the supermarket instead of giving them a nasty look for holding up the line. Pull up a chair for the elderly. Stop the gossip. Don’t just hear but listen. Little acts of kindness bring us closer together, the damaged and the non. That’s all most of us want anyway. To be understood and be heard. Making a difference doesn’t have to be largescale. It’s a positive twist to the domino effect and eventually the more we know each other, the better relationships we’ll have.