Friday, September 20, 2013

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Each day I grow more concerned with the stigma associated with PTSD. So I thought I’d take a few moments and write a few words about it. I firmly believe that PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Not only veterans can suffer from it. Victims of a horrific car accident, victims of rape, or anyone that has had a traumatic life altering experience may be affected by PTSD. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of the terrible stigma associated with it.

I originally created this blog to share my struggles with survivor’s guilt, anxiety, and depression all related to my experiences in combat. My hope is that if a fellow veteran reads this, it will help them realize that it is possible to rise above your struggles. In some way, I hope to inspire others. God knows, I have many inspirations in my life, and it is because of them I was able to defeat my own demons. So I decided to put it all out there. In fact, I’ve found that writing about some of my experiences has been very therapeutic. I even recommend it. Whether or not you decide to share your story with anyone remains up to you.

I do hope that you’ll continue reading. And even like or share a comment.

I’ll be brief and describe just a few issues.

Acting out and feeling numb. Do you think it is possible for someone to do something so completely out of character just so that person can feel “something?” PTSD not only hurt my emotional state, but also those around me. I acted differently. I treated others without respect. I stopped being the friendly outgoing person I once was. I once yelled at my daughter for standing on a piece of paper! I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was nearly 5 years ago. She asked me: “Daddy, why are you yelling at me?” I didn’t have an answer. But that one event unfortunately wasn’t enough for me to seek help. I’m so glad she doesn’t remember it.

I felt disconnected from my family, like I didn’t belong there. When I left the Army, I was not surrounded by friends that had similar experiences. I felt like I couldn’t just talk anyone about my experiences. I didn’t trust them with my own heart or emotions. I was afraid everyone would call me “crazy” or worse. And because of it, I became withdrawn. I isolated myself. I didn’t want to leave my couch. It was safe there. The couch never judged me. And it gave me support.

All of these things impacted the way I work, eat, socialize, sleep, and have healthy relationships with people. It was a dark time in my life. It lasted for years. Some nights, I’d wonder what it would be like if I wasn’t alive the next morning.

Today, I’m so grateful for my life! So happy to be alive and to have so many wonderful people in my life!

Someone once told me: “PTSD never heals.” I’m not sure about that. But I do know from experience it does get easier! There is help out there! You are not broken! You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. You are stronger than what happened to you! And that is why you live today. I urge you that if you are struggling with PTSD or know someone that is, please seek help. You are not alone!

No comments:

Post a Comment