It took a very long time for me to understand the above statement. I was one of those who thought that something was wrong with me. Through many counseling sessions, and Doctor visits, along with conversations with family and friends, I have now come to accept that it IS something that happened to me. I also accept that I DO have P.T.S.D.!
I thought that P.T.S.D. was something that happened only to those in the military. Boy was I wrong! Everyone, and I mean Everyone is susceptible to the Hell that is P.T.S.D., and it is a terrifying thing to live with.
As if the trauma that got you there is not enough, they throw in Flashbacks, anxiety, Depression, and a whole boatload of other things. This is what you have to look forward to, AFTER, the trauma!
Now, not all people (even those sharing the same traumatic experience) develop P.T.S.D., some people’s brains handle stress, violence,etc., different. But there are those whose Hippocampus (learned that from my Doctor) and Amygdala don’t communicate well (my words, not the doctors…it’s what I took from the conversation). You see…the Amygdala is the part of the brain in charge of Emotional Memory…and especially Fear related memories. But, in cases of P.T.S.D., the persons Hippocampus (the portion in charge of placing memories in the correct order and placing it in a safe place), is suppressed. And that…in simple terms is what causes the person with P.T.S.D., to have Flashbacks. Those lovely things that put you right back in the midst of the situation that got you here…fun…right….NOT!!!!
That being said…again, anyone is subject to acquiring P.T.S.D., given the right (or should I say Wrong) circumstances.
Of course we know that Military personnel suffer the effects of being in war situations, and can develop P.T.S.D., but so can the people who see these things, those who are living in areas where war takes place. Also, those who see live footage on T.V., could possibly acquire P.T.S.D., if what they see makes them afraid.
Victims of Bullying, Abuse, Shootings, Bombings….first responders who see the aftermath of violent or destructive events, are also prone to P.T.S.D.. Those who work in hospitals, who see traumatic things…you see…anyone and I mean ANYONE, is at risk.
It took me a long time, as I said to admit that the Abuse I suffered could cause me to have P.T.S.D., I guess, I just thought it was anyone who was Brave, and withstood horrific things in war, that were ok to have it…. as if it were a badge of courage that they earned. Not so…it is your own living Hell…with no escape. You can’t wake up one day and it is gone. There is no cure…much like some medical diseases.
You need to seek help if you have P.T.S.D., and here are some of the signs to look for…
If you have P.T.S.D., or know someone who does…HANG IN THERE!!!
It may not be curable, but there is hope to subdue some of the effects.
I was afraid to talk to anyone about my Abuse at first…I guess I thought that my abuser would somehow know that I was talking about it, and come back and follow through with the threats made against my life and the lives of those I Loved.
I know that he is capable of following through, because he has in the past. But I will never heal, if I don’t talk about them…The Nightmares will never stop, if I don’t talk them through and find a place for them. Because my Hippocampus was suppressed and did not allow the amygdala to do its job. You see…it’s something out of our control. The only way to get any relief, is to talk to those who have been trained to help, and the ones who know what you are going through.
I know that therapy helps…I know I need to get back to it. I have been away from it for some time, because I could not pay for it. There are places though that help without you having to pay..you need to ask your Doctor…they have avenues you can use.
Let me tell you one of the ways I know that Therapy helps. I have many recurring dreams, about things that happened…some are not real things, just something my brain makes up. But they all seem very real, and I never fail to wake up in a sweat!
My counselor said that if we talked about them in our sessions, he felt they may subside…it’s that amygdala/hippocampus thing again…where your brain needs to process it, so it can be put in the proper place where it will not jump out and bug you again, and again.
So, he asked me to pick one of the worst dreams, and we would talk about it the next week. Of course, I have a hard time talking about anything that happened, and dreams are no exception…I couldn’t bring myself to go into one of the worst…so I picked a “funny” one…of course it is in Quotations, because it is not really funny, but when I tell it you will understand.
In my dream…I drive a bus full of school children, and my friend is driving a bus that is following me. We drive down the street to the house where I lived when the abuse took place…now…I don’t know why I would be driving a bus load of school children to a house where an abuser lives, but the dream goes on. I stop across the street from the driveway, and suprize…I get the children out of the bus…my friend comes up with her bus children and puts them on my bus. I ask her to stay with the children (my bus kids) while I walk across the street. Now…I don’t know why I’m even walking across the street…I don’t even want to be there. When I get to the other side…all the sudden a huge tree comes crashing down, and falls on his Truck!
Well…I start to laugh hysterically (those who know me know that if I’m afraid, I laugh) and then the hairs on the back of my neck stick up, I turn around and there he is…..That is when I wake up, sweating and laughing.
“So, Doc,” I say…”what does it mean?”
He then proceeds to discuss with me, that he thinks the bus children represent my own children, and that having my friend stay with them is my way of protecting them while I face something scary (not his word). The fact that I crossed the street…he said indicates my willingness to confront some of the issues I’m having, even if it is hard…the tree falling, he said, may represent the Abuse and it hitting his truck could indicate that I want to smash his control over me. Of course him being behind me after it happened, could indicate that I still fear him (of course) and always feel as if he is behind me no matter what I do.
Well…all of it seemed to make a little sense to me, but when I left the office that day, I was a little more than skeptical, as to whether it would make a difference in my dreams.
Wow…I did not have the dream that night…nor have I ever had it again! So, I must say there is a method to his (my therapist) madness. It did work…but unfortunately I have been unable to test the theory further, as it was the second to last visit I had with him….and we were making such good progress.
I know I need to get back to counseling, and to my Doctor for the pills I was taking to help reduce the stress (yes they were working…didn’t realize till I did not have them). It all helps, and I know I need to find a way to get back to it. Because my symptoms are increasing ten fold.
Things need to change, because it affects everyone in your life when you suffer with P.T.S.D., not just you. So in my NON-PROFESSIONAL opinion…Get Help! It really does Help!
You can live with P.T.S.D., it may be a long hard road…and an ongoing battle. But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel…Maybe even living outside of my cave.
Good Luck to all of you living with P.T.S.D.! Feel free to comment and share your experiences.
Thanks for listening!