Be Who You ARE!

Most of my life I have felt like an actress, suffering inside mentally but playing “normal” on the outside. There is nothing worse than being someone you are NOT! We seem to try and conform our lives to perfection in person and on social media, that’s not life. Growing up in New York I would hang out in the city a lot, go to clubs, concerts, etc.. cause that’s just what girls did at that age..but I hated every minute of it. Nothing was more tortuous on my brain and body than the sounds of cranking music overloading my brain at a club, my body being cramped in a crowd with countless people. The last time and final time I went to a NYC club I stood near the bathrooms, going in and out of the bathroom trying to get relief on the sounds of bass filling my head. One of my friends joined me in the bathroom and told me “Just leave! You’re cramping my style” I stormed out of the club shoving people out of my way, hit the train station and headed home..Alone at 2am.

I love New York, it will always be my home state. However that state also reminds me of who I wasn’t. When I was there I was suffering so bad mentally and trying to smile through my pain wondering what was wrong with me. Most of my trauma occurred in New York, everything was a trigger..a reminder, I went through periods of depersonalization to help me get through each day. Inside of me is a country girl at heart that longs for a log cabin in the woods, a very wounded introverted soul, a much quieter life outside of New York is what I wanted. For 29 years in New York I suffered in silence, I played the “party girl” did things outside of my comfort zone and things that were outright damn stupid just to fit in. When I left New York it was like a weight had been lifted and I thought I was FINALLY free to be who I was, but the torment of my brain came with me and the act of “being normal” was continued in my new state. When I got properly diagnosed with Complex PTSD in 2014 it was like being handed a life sentence but I was thankful I had the name of what has tormented me my WHOLE life. I decided at that point I was no longer going to hide who I was and what I battled.

My life became REAL, my sister even cut me out of her life for telling others I had it, she wanted to continue to play “normal” even though she had it too. I decided to use my voice to raise awareness for PTSD, I spoke out about it to everyone I could in person and on social media, many never even knew you could have PTSD non military. When you tell people you have a mental illness you find out REAL quick who will be there for you and who won’t. I have lost “friends” and “family” for being who I was. Some people want things sugarcoated, they want to appear perfect and have a cookie cutter life. Never hold back on being who you are because you are worth more than you know. YOU are here for a reason…be yourself! Don’t hide in shame or feel the need to “play normal” there’s nothing better than being yourself. I take each day one day at a time, I came from nothing and I am thankful for everything I have. If people are not accepting of your disorder you need to cut people from your life! You only have 1 life to live..Please live it happy.

I do find myself posting on Facebook about  awareness or my battle with PTSD, just for it to be overlooked while someone’s picture of dinner gets numerous likes. We DON’T live in a perfect World not everyone will want to hear about someone that has PTSD, but to me someone speaking out about having PTSD is a real as it can get we need to raise awareness and stop the stigma. There are so many people that are suffering in silence feeling like I did, don’t waste all your years being someone you are not. I spent 30 something years being a stranger to myself, going with the flow. Life gets overwhelming when you battle with your brain every second of every day. I do say I am thankful I am the one that has PTSD, went through countless trauma’s….cause I was strong enough to handle it. I am here to help others, here to let people know they are NOT alone. Two of my brothers passed away. They lost their battle with PTSD, but I am still here and it is for a reason..to make a difference in the PTSD community. I made it through, and my words are read by many. I don’t want to be famous, I just want to be known as someone that made a difference in the PTSD community.

PLEASE feel free to reach out to me via email ljastoria@gmail.com, on twitter at @LJAstoria or leave me a comment. Stay Strong…

  • LJ
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