The Thing About PTSD

The thing about PTSD —
it’s silent.

It waits. Until you’re in bed — until you close your eyes — then it assaults your sleep, leaving you lying awake, waiting for danger. If you reach precious sleep, it reminds you of its control by plaguing you with nightmares. While you’re awake, you listen. Every stifled noise, every movement out of the corner of your eye could be danger.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s loud.

It screams endlessly in your head. It whispers constantly on your ear. Danger! It calls. Beware! It demands. Remember! It screams. It reminds you of the past. It throws into chaos the future. It reminds you so that you can’t work, you can’t sleep, you can’t concentrate. All you can do is listen.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s omnipresent.

It doesn’t just happen to soldiers, though their pain is never taken seriously enough. It can happen to you, to me, to anyone. It is indiscriminate. It doesn’t care about your race, gender, or religion. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It can happen to you.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s something I have.

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I thought it was just anxiety. “It’s pretty normal to have anxiety,” I remember thinking as I booked my first therapy appointment. I just needed help managing it. It was starting to affect my marriage and my day to day life. I had struggled with it for years, but I knew I needed new tools to handle it better.

After my first session, my therapist dropped the bomb on me. Yes, I have anxiety, but I have PTSD also. I felt like a train screeching to a halt. What? How? Me? Why? I was confused and couldn’t understand. I only came for my anxiety. I didn’t ask for this.

My therapist explained the filing cabinet theory. After seeing and hearing her explanation, I swallowed my initial thoughts and made a second appointment. My therapist sounded like she knew what she was talking about. I recalled in the moment that she specialized in trauma, and I knew I was in good hands.

Piece by piece, we’re going through each event that has led me to here. We’re tearing down each intrusive thought word-by-word. We’re reopening old wounds so that they can finally heal correctly.


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Because the thing about PTSD —
it hurts.

It hurts you. It hurts me. It hurts loved ones. Like a hurricane, it hurts everyone in its path. In the moment, it’s hard to stop. It can be uncontrollable.

The thing about PTSD —
it takes.

It takes your happiness. It takes your sleep. It takes your concentration. It takes your energy. It takes your memories. It takes your breath. It takes your quality of life.

The thing about PTSD —
it robs you.

It robs you of feeling safe, and of your sense of belonging. It robs you of music you can no longer listen to, places you can no longer visit, and hobbies you can no longer love without remembering the trauma.

The thing about PTSD is —
it can be beat!

You can beat it. I can beat it. With the right therapy and the slow progress of attaining a new mindset, it can be beat. I will beat it. You will beat it!

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Design & editing props for this post: Matt @ Normal Happenings.

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30 thoughts on “The Thing About PTSD

  1. I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish I could be of more help to you. One thing I do know for sure though is, you’re right you will beat it. You are the strongest, smartest, and bravest person I know. You are the best parts of your mom and dad and you’ve got this. Love you always❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, you’re post is brave and no doubt will be helpful for anyone who reads it and is in a similar place. Glad to hear you are getting the support you need from professionals. Always good to see awareness of mental health being raised, I’ve just recently come to a point where I’ve took the step to get support with my own anxiety and its been thanks to posts like yours that I build the confidence to take that step! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so proud of you for sharing this and also incredibly grateful. I was waiting to see what you were going to post because I remember you mentioning it, and honestly this was kind of a shock – not because you did anything wrong but because I’ve actually been wondering if I have PTSD. Wow. That’s actually the first time I’ve admitted that to anyone other than my fiance and I actually couldn’t say it to him, he found out totally by accident – I had a memo saved on my tablet and he went to save a memo about a game and saw it. I realised he’d seen it and spoke to him, and he said he wasn’t actually surprised. I guess it just never occured to me until I saw someone with ptsd describe exactly how I feel and act because I’ve never suffered a big traumatic event, just lots of bullying and an emotional abusive relationship. I almost feel like it’s not enough to justify it.

    I’m sorry for coming to your post, a very personal post that I know was a big step for you and looking like I’m just dumping my issues on you. I’m not explaining all this to turn make it about me, I wanted to show you just how much of a difference you being open about your PTSD has had just on me, on one person. And I wanted to thank you for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for coming here to my past and unloading! For real. That’s what I wanted when I decided to share this. I wanted people to come and share and understand. So thank you. I’m glad my post resonated with you. ❤️

      Like

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