I watched the emotional press conference today and listened to several of the victims list their horrible physical injuries as well as the fact they’re suffering from PTSD.
I lost many years to PTSD. My incident, as I refer to it, occurred about 15 years ago. It took a lot of time away from my career and my savings to get back to what I would deem my new normal.
Their lives will never be the same and I feel for all the victims and their family members. I feel the same understanding and compassion for our soldiers that return home with PTSD.
I sincerely hope anyone suffering from PTSD will seek treatment and ask for help.
PTSD affects the way you see the world. It affects all your relationships and your daily life. Things as simple as a person innocently invading your personal space can send you into a panic and in some cases, agitation and rage.
Large crowds or cramped, small spaces used to be an issue for me. It’s a situation that you cannot necessarily control and that helplessness can send you into a panic.
It turned me into a hermit for quite some time. It also had a positive result, because I created my own home-based business out of necessity.
You can have the most understanding friends and family members, but no one can truly understand. How could they?
They will listen, support and comfort and then they go about their daily lives. PTSD is something you take with you everywhere. It doesn’t leave you.
I heard one of the victims expressing something similar and how they felt they could no longer walk the streets of Boston without suspecting each person.
You walk around in a constant state of anxiousness.
When my incident first occurred, I went into survival mode. I tried and attempted to live the way I had lived before even though I was not sleeping at all. You know how out of it you are and crabby if you don’t get 1 good night of sleep? I went months.
I did not immediately seek help. And that backfired and caught up with me.
At the same time, all I wanted was for things to be as they were before. I wished I could erase it from my mind and memory and return to another time. I could not imagine where I am today. I thought it would never happen.
The reality is that after a traumatic event, you will never be the same.
However there are people that knew me before and people that know me now that would be quite surprised that I went through any of this.
Because there is hope! You can get beyond this.
I’m not a fan of medication, because it’s a band-aid in my opinion. A pill can knock you out and help you sleep, but it does not address your thoughts that prevent you from sleeping.
I did eventually seek out counseling and after a few that didn’t quite fit, I tried to find a support group. I also could not seem to find a support group that was specific to my circumstance.
I had a lot of 1st appointment consultations and none of them seemed right. One in particular, an older man had 2 hearing aids & it seemed he only heard or understood me when he was looking right at me.
Each time he looked down to write something, he didn’t hear me correctly & I had to repeat the same thing 10 times. Nice man but that situation only stressed me out further.
After quite some time of not sleeping, not being able to hold a job and the thought I was losing my mind, I found some solace.
I was on the phone with a woman who ran one of the support groups and I have to say, the phone conversation with her changed my life.
She was yet another person who was telling me they didn’t really have a group for me. But…she spoke to me on the phone for almost an hour & listened. And then…
It was a matter of someone saying just the right thing to make everything click.
She told me to stop trying to be who I was before. I had to stop searching and reaching for normal.
And most importantly, whatever I had to do to make my home feel secure so that I could sleep, was okay. It didn’t matter if it seemed excessive to anyone else. I had to do whatever I had to do to feel safe in my own home so that I could sleep.
It was as if I needed permission to do those things. So what if I lived in a safe building, safe apartment but I also put locks on each window and additional locks on the front door. So what?
She enabled me to turn a corner. For the 1st time in years, I had slept with the bedroom door open. I even called my mom to tell her, because this was something I thought I would NEVER be able to do again.
When something traumatic happens, you cannot imagine ever being yourself again. You think you’re going crazy. It is so overwhelming and my heart breaks for the victims. And my heart breaks for our soldiers that are continuing to take their own lives because they cannot stop the images in their heads. They just want it to stop.
We often ask “why?” when something horrible happens and we may never know the answer.
For me, it was eye-opening how many people abandoned and judged me as I tried to deal.
I also had so many wonderful people in my life that were supportive and understanding.
This trauma pushed me to create my own business and it weeded out the people in my life that were not truly, true.
It seems like a 100 years ago.
Another result is that I did become much more private and guarded. Or discerning. This whole foray into the social media realm is incredibly anxious pour moi and probably why I took so long to do it.
But I thought it was time.
My hope is that everyone reading this will do something positive for PTSD victims. Volunteer, donate, whatever is needed. Even if you simply share this story with someone you know that suffers from PTSD.
My hope and prayer is that each person suffering with PTSD will have that moment where something clicks and allows them to move forward as their new self.
There is hope. There is a new you waiting.
“ACTING…It’s Not For Sissies”