PTSD Is A Part Of Me
PTSD is a new diagnosis that i have been figuring out myself.
They say that the first step to overcoming any obstacle is admitting the problem.
Truthfully, I never knew a problem existed.
It wasn’t until just this last year when I started going to therapy on a regular basis. After several, I mean several weekly sessions with my therapist I finally started to feel a bit more comfortable opening up .
Stories throughout my childhood that I never thought to think about before started to spill out of my mouth. Soon I began to realize that my problems lied far beyond just anxiety.
Then the dreaded result came out that I had all along been suffering from PTSD.
I didn’t want to believe it to be honest. I refused to talk about it with anyone else because I feared that I would be misunderstood. After all , most people think that people like me don’t have PTSD.
Recently it has been laid on my heart to dig deeper. I want to understand more.
So I started to take on some hard self development work.
I’m realizing that this will be a lifelong mission to combat, and that I will always be in battle with it. This is me. This is my life. And I accept that now.
Because after everything I have been through and the terrorizing thoughts that have gone through my mind, I’m still here.
I have looked into the meaning behind PTSD and have found mostly articles written from a perspective that I haven’t really been able to relate to.
I’m not a solider or a veteran. I’ve never been to a war zone.
But feelings are feelings, and they deserve to be validated.
I’ve never wanted to compare my situation and why I am the way I am to anyone else but the truth is that I do. I admit that comparison takes me over, all of the time. And I absolutely hate it. But I have been working hard on overcoming that, too.
When it comes to PTSD, I found that there are several components when diagnosing someone. There are four categories total when it comes to symptoms. They are:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Negative thoughts/mood.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in order to be diagnosed correctly you need to have at least one symptom that falls in line with every category.
For me physiological reactions has been a tell tale sign. Especially when having even the smallest reminder of what hurt me before. Talk about panic attacks. And until about 5 years ago when my health triggered it all, they went overboard pushing me into the abyss of PTSD.
Anxiety is something I’ve always known I had. My mom and sister, and like everyone else says in my family, they have it too. I never thought much into it, or at least I didn’t want to. Never even wanted to talk about it.
The thing I am just starting to fully grasp is that all of our anxiety is played out differently in our lives. And most of us struggle with it in one way or another.
I have always been the anxious, overthinking, worry wart who always has a stomach ache.
(All joking aside). Ever since I can remember anxiety induced nausea has effected my life.
We all have different support systems, our bodies react differently, we have different coping mechanisms and our experiences are all very much different no matter how similar we think they are to someone else’s.
PTSD can create changes in the body when confronted with a person, place, situation, or conversation that brings up any memory of the trauma, and that’s just inevitable. I am determined to find a more comfortable way to live.
Individuality is so important to realize when it comes to understanding who you are and what your body is doing.
Judging ourselves for what has happened to us just makes the damage thats already been done, way worse.
PTSD is a part of me, but PTSD does not define me.
There has to come a time when we just have to accept what is and have faith in what will be.
No one else needs to understand, or even has to. No matter how bad someone wants to tell you that your feelings are invalidated, just know they are always always wrong. We can support one another without having to understand each other.
The memories are extremely vivid when it comes to remembering the traumatic things that have happened in my life. And I think that’s why it’s been so hard for me to express my full story the way I have truly wanted to.
I don’t always remember the full story and that makes it harder to get the words out.
Which has held me back from ever even wanting to, until I started this blog.
My concentration gets easily distracted so writing at my own leisure is a sense of release and control for me.
Some times I feel like I have complete control and other times it feels like I’m barely hanging on.
They say that after a traumatic event takes place that sometimes some will develop unrealistic beliefs about the world, or even themselves. This one really hit me.
Being the positive person I am perceived to be sometimes, deep down there is a woman who is in constant battle with herself. And no one else ever sees that.
What people don’t know is how bad my thoughts tell me every day that this world is full of danger, and always making me full on aware of it. Stressing me out until I hide away and remove myself. And making me not trusting of very many people.
Hyper-vigilance has always had a hold on me.
I have cancelled plans last minute because of a “gut feeling”. I’ve refused to make dates after begging my friends to hang out with me, and I literally stress every single night about someone breaking into my home. Every night.
and I have never been robbed before.
I felt so stupid about it before, but now that I understand it.. I don’t beat myself up as much. This is me.
These situations have all left me feeling misunderstood and like no one will ever understand. I have felt like my problems were my own fault for so long that i have full of shame. I can’t even accept myself, let alone accept that others accept me.
This has to change.
I want healthy friendships that turn into family. My kids deserve it, my husband deserves it, and I deserve it.
I WILL take the work it takes to get there. No matter the cost.
Loving myself more and more everyday & accepting who I am has literally been life changing. It feels good to get the poison out of me that’s been tainting my life for so long.
Those of us who are suffering have to stop believing the lie that we aren’t good enough because damnit, we are!
Not going to the ER for my panic attacks in over a year has been a huge accomplishment for me. I found control in many aspects, but I still have so long to go.
It’s our choices and our actions we should be focusing on having control over, or at least do our best to.
I never realized how bad my childhood would have affected me. Most things I went through became and were so normal to my everyday life, including my mom and sisters, that we just went about. And we have never spoke about it before, so I will share just a smidge.
Truth is, my moms ex husband literally haunts me everyday.
He is the reason why I have hated the way I look, the way i walk, the way I talk, and even the way I eat. His thoughts of telling me that I was useless pretty much every day has made me believe that I am.
And that was just the emotional abuse.
This didn’t include the many times he would cheat on my mom, abuse her, isolate her, and make her feel like we couldn’t live without him.
Of course living with him and his two sons since I was 5 months old I quickly began to believe that I was the issue. At least that’s what he wanted me to believe, well that’s how I feel.
Everything I said to him was annoying so eventually I just didn’t talk much when he was around, but I found out with time that when I would clean the entire house for him and do all things I could to make him happy, including letting him kiss and touch me in awkward places, he was happy. And when he was happy.. everyone was happy.
Anything we could do to keep the fuse longer, we would do.
I can’t even believe I’m sharing this and I can’t even imagine how my mom must of felt. We were never allowed to leave, especially when things were bad.
He would break windows out of our vehicles if we tried to leave.
He broke multiple phones, locked us out of our own house in freezing cold temperatures with absolutely nothing until we were begging for his forgiveness just so we could be warm, or have keys to leave.
The he would stalk us, even when we drove over 200 miles to get away from him.
And every time he would win us back.
I never realized it until recently; but we were trapped.
It wasn’t until writing a blog post about being alone that i knew I needed to make a change in my life. As I was writing I started thinking about how much I depend on Jordan’s presence. And wondering why the heck I do.
The sweet man he is he said “baby, I’m here for the long haul.. I just think your trauma is truly effecting you and you need me to be around all the time. So that’s what I will do”.
Although flattering, it made me upset with myself.
So I need to admit these things so I can move forward from them.
In fact, I’m so afraid of being alone that I panic when he’s getting ready to leave the house. Getting out of the house and interacting with others I don’t know hasn’t happened in a long time, at least not without major anxiety.
I have always just hated to be alone. Abusive relationships can truly be SO traumatic.
All of it has effected me and the relationships I have and have had. Not many people truly stick by my side without throwing stones and/or stabbing me in the back which has also made it really hard for me to trust anyone.
So, somewhat changing subjects..
Right when Jordan got me pregnant I flew off the handle. I did whatever I could to push him away because I was SO scared. There was a 5 year bad relationship that i was still trying to get over an i was young.
I was mean, I told him I couldn’t and would never be with him and I did my best to do it on my own.
Deep inside I knew what I needed, but it was my ‘reaction’ to not trusting his intentions.
I felt at the time like my heart was too damaged to love another person.
And I honestly didn’t believe anyone would ever love me; having ptsd makes it easy to feel alone.
We are 8 years into a relationship and now marriage and raising 3 amazingly beautiful children, and Jordan has seen the worst of me.
(Keep in mind that it can take people decades before people see someone’s true colors.)
My health has been through the ringer these last 5 years with several misdiagnosis that led to me not being able to work and him having to quit his job to start his own business.
It wasn’t because he wanted to leave his career and why I wanted to quit mine, it was so we could survive.
And now we don’t see any other option. He wants a better life not just for himself, but for all of us.
Because of this privilege of always having him (my safe place) around, I hate to admit it. But I have noticed that I am only really my happiest when he’s around. And now that I accept that and realize it, I realize that it’s not healthy. I truly want to change this.
Whether I make the right or wrong choices isn’t for anyone else to decide because I am doing my absolute best and that should be all that really matters.
We’re all doing the best we can.
I can’t tell you today exactly why I am suffering because I feels like it’s a multitude of things.
What I can tell and share with others when reading this is that there is hope.
Don’t let what others have blind you and keep you from getting the things that you want.
Including freedom, peace, love and acceptance. The first step is to validate your feelings with someone you trust.
Whether it’s a therapist, your soul mate, a parent or a friend.
I haven’t had anyone in my life like Jordan before, ever. He protects me, he loves me unconditionally and unselfishly. He proves that to me every day. I don’t tell him enough, but my life is 100% better because of him.
People might say he shouldn’t get the credit for the work I have put into growing myself and who I am, but he has been right behind me. Making sure I don’t fall, every single day. Self growth does does take a lot of individual work, don’t get me wrong.
But, I know I wouldn’t be right where I am today without the support and love from him and our kids.
He doesn’t get enough credit for what he has done for me and for our family. I know his dad would be so proud of the man, father, and husband he is.
Because of one person I have finally had the courage to open about all of these things.
And maybe help open the door of realization for someone else. Sometimes all it takes is talking with someone else who understands you to feel like you are human again.
That’s why the thought of community is so important to me.
Its your story that can change the life of another human. No matter how and where you tell it, Even if you only share it with one person or the world.
You have the courage and i have the faith in you.
You own the rights to everything that’s happened to you, not anyone else.
PTSD is me, and I for the first time can faithfully say that I accept that part about me. I’m not perfect and I never will be. But I will always strive to be better than the person I was yesterday.
Do you have or know someone who is struggling with PTSD?
If you are the one struggling, I highly encourage you to say thank you to your loved one who supports you the most. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental health illness then I highly encourage you to give that person a hug and tell them you are there for them and that they aren’t alone.
Your encouragement and support can change their life.
Comment below, email me, or share this with your thoughts. I would love to hear them, and i know my readers would too. Together we can help eachother. Your PTSD diagnosis doesn’t have to determine your future.
Thank you for writing such a raw and accurate description of PTSD for those of us who are not Vets or have survived a single tragic event. It’s hard to wake up in the morning feeling cloudy and unease and then compare yourself and say, I have nothing to complain about, I didn’t go to way. I didn’t see those horrible things. But we need to remember that a constant state of stress changed how our bodies respond to everyday normal things. I feel the most normal when everything super busy. Then when the calm hits, my panic sets in. The stress hormones haven’t leveled out yet. I’m teaching my body to stop preparing for me fight off the next Bear attack as my therapist says. Hang in there. We’re all in this together.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my experience and to comment your thoughts. It means so much to me!
It’s so important that we understand one another so we that we don’t feel so alone when going through new things.
Trauma is so much more than what society thinks it is and it’s why Mental Health has become so important to me. I understand the way your explaining how you feel so well. Have you ever heard of EMDR therapy? It hasnt made things go away, but it has made things better for sure.
You hang in there, too! I am always here for you if you need someone to talk to. Email me anytime ❤️
I was just reading about a lot of what year talking about in the PTSD workbook on using. It is a very tough battle but facing it head-on working with your clinician you taking it one step at a time and not rushing it I see is the key to recovery
PTSD is quite something, but don’t assume it has to become part of you. You might find interesting to consult Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work. That might really help you understand what is happening in your brain and body and mind, and work a way to free yourself of that. I read his book Breaking The Habit Of being Yourself and it totally clicked. I started some meditations and WOW. On my path to recovery, nothing has been as powerful. I’m healing ulcerative colitis at the source now. Because PTSD was making my body really sick has you can see. Good look in your journey!
In my own experience, even as much as i have healed now, i have learned that living with any sort of trauma becomes a part of who you are. I absolutely love Dr. Joe Dispenza and have listened to his teachings before. I’ve also done 5+ years of intensive trauma therapy where i was able to do multiple sessions of EMDR that changed my life (i’ve written a post about it here https://www.mamaingrace.com/anxiety-and-emdr/ ). I’ll have to check out his book you mentioned, too! Anyways, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and share some resources with all of us here! Its always helpful when others are willing to share. Thank you for being here and good luck to you as well! xo
Sarenna A Miles
I’ve recently been diagnosed with COMPLEX PTSD and was diagnosed 10 yrs ago with PTSD. Turns out, I’ve had PTSD since I was a child. I’m learning as much as I can. Overwhelmed and overloaded. #Method2myMADNESS
Sarenna, I am SO proud of you for taking the step in trying to understand and learn as much as you can! Take a deep breath. Don’t get overwhelmed, sister. There is a lot to learn and everyday is a new opportunity to learn something new. Xo
Sarenna A Miles
Hello, I’ve cried the entire time as ive radio this. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010 and rediagnosed about 3/ 4 months ago with COMPLEX PTSD . I am struggling so hard. I understand myself now, but still I am alone. I dont want to be but as I’ve been told ” i am too difficult to handle and i dont know my place. I’m so very lost right now. Thank you for your blog. I used to pray for a husband now i believe that I’m not good enough or important enough or worthy of any thing good. Anyways enough selfpity
Sweet soul, you are never alone. You are not too difficult to handle and you have a place in this world. I can promise you that God has a purpose and a plan for what you are currently going through. I pray right now that you feel the comfort in knowing who God says you are; loved, valued, and known. I am always here for you! xo
Cody W Joiner
I have suffered with PTSD for 6 yrs at its worst. Its so hard to wake up with a positive attitude or a smile. People like us are not recognized or talked about BC others think you have had to be at war or military. Sometimes its just our own family terrors we have seen or have been through in life. Im going to get to my story of why I suffer with PTSD my brother almost killed me by beating me and cutting my throat I just knew I was done while gasping for air while choking on my own blood. I kept thinking you cant hurt your brother but I had to get him off of me well my survival mode and the good lord overcame me and I managed to get him off. I looked up while holding my throat together and I could see his shadow coming around the back of truck towards the passenger side of my truck hollering he is going to kill me. We were at my ranch so I usually take a few guns just to shoot or hunt with. I had three in my back seat as he opened the door I pulled my Henry 22 L rifle out of reaction and just pointed it at him as he asked what are you going to do shoot me ? Yes I replied don’t move as he said again im going to Fucking kill you and he started to move i shot. He spread eagle and fell backwards. One of my neighbors was a sheriff I newish need to get help. I drove holding my throat with my shirt to the sheriffs house he asked where is he are you ok. My brother was flown out and I was in an ambulance
Going to hospital. Well im home recovering and my S/O at time was telling me that the sheriff had to revive your brother and that I shot him in the throat hit spin then shoulder blade then back to spine. Weeks went by then months without any family coming to see me or call to see how I was. Come to find out after a year without any family stopping or asking anything about me as I would watch them literally drive right past my house. Come to find out when my brother was able to somewhat Communicate he was telling family I shot him for no reason. So my family shun me for Almost three yrs. I went down hill fell in a deep depression my dog would literally come and nudge me to take him outside couldn’t get up to shower , brush teeth went to doctors counseling they diagnosed me with PTSD all sorts of pills where thrown at me and couldn’t get better and still to this day cant get this playback out of head i cant watch and dont watch tv. I have these terrible break downs and just cry asking god why me. Terrible night terrors to where I dont sleep. Im terrified to be outside i hear voices see shadows. My brother passes 11 months in. I dont want to live life anymore I had no hope. Finally 5 yrs in im making progress talk to family very little taking things slow min. By min. Things are gradually coming along after rehab of substance abuse. I was trying to work but just couldn’t stay or be around anybody I have no trust for people and I would have bad breakdowns while at work missing days on in so I couldn’t keep jobs and still don’t work. What I am trying to get threw is that PTSD will slowly kill u and its not recognized enough in none military people. Also people think before you speak out at others you never know what they are going threw and dont try to make a person that suffers with trauma life worse than what it is its not a joking matter. Its a very serious mental disorder. Save a life dont put them six feet under.
Cody, I am so sorry to read this. First thing i want you to know is that your feelings are validated. No matter how hard and impossible things may seem, there is a greater purpose above it all. Keep moving forward, one day at a time, step by step, and day by day. I have faith in you! Xo