I am going on 2 months being PTSD free after 33 years. In a strange way I am mourning the loss of my former self. “Mourning:f.” Everything I knew about myself was gone. I am beyond thankful I am not battling every second of every day, my healing has been hard work, a lot of research and determination. The moment I was healed I literally felt like I was born again. Everything in the World seemed strange and so new..but very exciting. I have never known life without PTSD.
*Trigger Warning* I wanted to give you all a trigger warning because I know some of what I write may affect the readers with PTSD. I am not going to go into details about my traumas, but just because I have been there I wanted to give a heads up!
My trauma began at 4, at least that was the first incident my brain can recall. I have always felt strange or off. I just figured it was the life I was given. I had my first panic attack when I was in 1st grade, I somehow got locked in the bathroom in the classroom. I started to bang on the door for help and my body went into full panic mode. I heard the screeching of chairs as classmates and the Teacher came to my rescue. When I got out of the bathroom I was so relieved, but confused and embarrassed by what just had occurred.
In 2nd grade my Teacher went to go get something down the hall and left the class, I had a MAJOR panic attack. I felt my sense of safety was taken away as she walked out the door. I couldn’t breathe, I was shaking like a leaf and crying. The whole class congregated around me by the door as I started to go to my knee’s begging several classmates to bring me to the nurse because I felt like I was dying and couldn’t breathe. At that point the Teacher came back in the classroom and pushed through the students to see what was going on. I saw her and an overwhelming sense of relief came over me. She helped me up, I looked at her like she was an angel. I got an evil eye in return. I didn’t know what was going on, so I didn’t know how to explain to the Teacher what was happening. She told every student including me to go back to their chairs. The Teacher went to the front of the classroom and told ALL of us the story of “The little boy that cried wolf” I was humiliated!! From that moment on I decided to hide all of what I know now were PTSD symptoms.
I didn’t get officially diagnosed and treated for PTSD until 2014. I let everything I was experiencing out to a former therapist I couldn’t take it anymore. Two of my brothers died tragically I didn’t want to be next. I suffered in silence out of shame and fear of people thinking I was “crazy”. In 2014 I knew the names of things that haunted me all my life, they were called triggers, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and hypervigilance, etc. When I had a name what I had battled my whole life I felt a sense of relief, I wasn’t crazy. I have heard of PTSD but always thought it was military related. When it sunk in I had PTSD it felt like a life sentence was handed to me.
I had/have an amazing support systems from so many people, including from up above. I never ever thought I would live life without trauma, but I do. PTSD was a huge part of my life, I didn’t like it but it was the only life I have ever known. Now that I have been healed I am dealing with a mixture of emotions for my 33 year battle. I try to name my emotions to understand how I feel, but overall sometimes trying not to feel is the best thing for me. I am just thankful I have made it through the storm and can just dance in the rain. I am proof that no matter how long you have battled PTSD, being healed IS possible. I have written about what helped me overcome my battle with PTSD in former blogs and feel free to refer to them. Not everything that worked for me will work for everyone but there are sooo many different effective forms of treatment. I did not respond well to and did not like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but love EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques/Tapping). The stigma of mental illness needs to be broken. There is no shame in having PTSD or asking for help. You CAN overcome PTSD. Stay Strong!