PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The name is very straightforward as it happens after a traumatic event that caused a great amount of stress, however dealing with it is the least straightforward thing in the world. PTSD symptoms are very similar to depression, anxiety and paranoia. The only thing separating it from those mental illnesses is the fact it was caused by an exterior problem and wasn’t just created in your own head.
I started to suffer from PTSD when I was 16 after a very traumatic attack. At that time I didn’t know what was happening to me mentally. I put it all down to the fact that I had been through something horrific and that it would go away soon, but it just got worse.
The first signs that I was suffering from this were the stages of self-blame and suicidal thoughts. But it was still early days, just several months after the event, so I was still hopeful that it would all just go away.
I found myself in a new relationship around this time too and a war began to start in my head. I had the problems PTSD was causing me present all the time, but I had the persona I had to create to seem “normal” to this new person in my life. I thought this denial of what had happened and what it was doing to me was helping.
Opening up to him about the event was very difficult and I deteriorated even more after that. I didn’t have to hide the panic attacks, the bouts of anger or the periods of bad days. Not having a reason to control them made them spiral to a point where I considered suicide.
I started counselling with a person who specialised in the area of the trauma I experienced, and she told me that many people who experienced what I did suffer with PTSD. I have never looked for medical help, and maybe I should. I have been dealing with the disorder for almost 3 years now and it’s been a series of ups and downs.
At the moment I am dealing with triggers and the episodes that come with them. Throughout my journey I have experienced extreme fear in irrational situations, suicidal thoughts, nightmares and sleeping problems, flashbacks and physical memories, extreme states of depression and panic attacks.
Flashbacks are hugely associated with PTSD and my experience with them has been draining. They usually happen to me when I am triggered by a feeling or thought. Sometimes it’s in the form of dreams which are much harder to deal with.
From my experience, this disorder affects so many aspects of my life. I have social anxiety, panic attacks, periods of hopelessness and fear.
It has given me huge trust issues too which affects my relationships and making friends.
To anybody going through this disorder the first call of action should be pin pointing the trauma causing it. From there you can go down whatever route you want. I have never tried medication for it, but I’m sure it will work wonders for some people. Tell the people you can trust what’s going on, because if you don’t they’ll just think you’re being moody or rude to them, when really you’re struggling.
I am still on my journey to acceptance and hopefully recovery from PTSD. It’s a long, long road and it’s far from easy. Dealing with the disorder means dealing with a trauma head on and at times reliving the experience, but in the end it is totally worth it to have the chance to live a fuller and happier life.