I started writing a book about living with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and all I keep hearing, is “you’re a brave soul.” ...Why do people think I’m a “brave” soul for talking about it?! Are they worried I will be alienated (even more) for coming out about my mental illness? Well I don’t care, it’s time we started talking about it. I’ve had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) most of my life and I need to share what it’s been like, and how each day is still a challenge.
I’ve been alienated from people I believed would always have my back and going outside to do simple things like pick up a bag of milk is a daily challenge. I live how most people would call caged up (like an animal), and I have my curtains drawn most days. I used to think it was because I was afraid he’d be standing there when I opened them, but he’s been dead for months. And part of me knows it would be impossible for him to be standing there, waiting to finish me off, but another part of me just can’t get over the fear.
Everyone keeps telling me to get over it, that it all happened a long time ago and I should leave it in the past. What they don’t understand is I suffered a trauma, in fact I suffered multiple traumas and my brain doesn’t work the same anymore. So for me, “getting over it,” isn’t an option.
Recent studies have shown that victims of things like sexual abuse, combat, or crime, experience a brain injury, and the structure of their brain changes. The hippocampus, which is involved in handling stress, as well as learning and memory, actually changes physically. Furthermore, the medial prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that regulates our emotional response to fear and/or stress, can also be impaired.
So the next time someone tells you to “get over it,” first of all tell them you are trying - with every beat of your freakin’ heart! And second, remember you are worthwhile and if “they” aren’t willing to accept you aren’t the same person anymore, turn to someone that will.
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.