I am only able to speak to my own experience, and that is what I try to offer you during these blogs. I feel like it is just baring my being to people that I may never meet, but possibly help them understand that they are not (and never will be) alone.
I always feel like I am at AA (alcoholic anonymous): “Hello, my name is Stephanie and I have PTSD, depression, agoraphobia, stressor/trauma disorder, and extreme panic disorder,”. Maybe that is just me, but it is how I feel. The only problem with my mental health is that no one can see it. It is just lurking in the corner of my brain, ready to be triggered sometimes. It takes a lot to trigger it, but when it is triggered all hell breaks loose. It is like I have lost my own being to the discrepancies of my past. My past does not define me, but it has molded my brain to react in certain ways. It is just the people cannot see my handicap. People completely question me quite often. You have no idea, or maybe you do, how many times I have heard ‘just get over it’. It is the most intolerable question to ask someone that struggles with mental afflictions.
I think that is the stem of the stigma: people cannot see your mental conditions unless they see a picture of your brain. I would love to hop into a PET scan (positron emission tomography) to show people that I do not make this stuff up. It is not me holding onto the past, the past will just not let go of me. This is so beyond frustrating. Especially during the time of flashback. I can look, and speak completely normal but I am no longer there. I am back to whatever event my lovely brain has selected for me to relive.
I do not know you, but I like to hold off my panic attacks as far as I can. I just never want to go to place, the dark place that can engulf me. The feelings, the shaking, the sweating, the need to hide, the want to communicate but not being able to. I do not know why, but when I hold them off I pay for it later. The attack is worse, I posture, scream, cry, flashback, I’ll be sore for a few days, and hypervigilant for at least 3 days. Now, try envisioning this with someone who wants to keep working.
I like working, they also pay for my college so I try my hardest to be present; unfortunately, I cannot always be present. There is trauma always lurking in the corner (well middle and front) of my brain. I cannot change it, I can only change my responses to it. However, I am still in the middle of a medicine change from Prozac back to Celexa. I find myself even more on edge, more vigilant of my surroundings.
A new thing has happened, well newer as it happened about a month ago. Someone said my biological father’s name, and I peed a little in fear. That was yesterday. The first time it happened was a couple months ago, I was walking and saw someone who looked like him and pee trickled down my leg. I was that terrified of him.
I have never been afraid of him. I do not want to fear him. I want to love him, and him love me like we used to. I long for the days when I called him every day on the way to work to talk about what was going on the day before. The conversations we use to have always gave me a sense of belonging, even when I felt ostrasized. Now, I fear him. I fear what he can do to me mentally. I fear what I can do to him physiologically. I am at a standstill. I become dizzy even thinking of him. I do not know why, or rather I do and just do not want to admit it to myself.
I peed from fear. Naturally I contacted my psychiatrist, who knows about what is happening, and told the nurse what happened after the second time. I told my counselor the first time. How could I fear someone who I love so much? The answer was simple and complex all at the same time. I will not go into further, as I do not believe that I am fully ready to talk about it. My psychiatrist’s nurse said that unfortunately this is normal for someone like me, someone who has post-traumatic stress disorder. It is the flight or fight. I would never fight my biological father, so I froze in fear.
Now, I am out of work due to muscle fatigue and posturing. I keep going over my reaction, and how I can change that reaction. Therapy of course is my saving grace. I can go there, be safe, vent, and come up with plans on how to proceed. Maybe even desensitize myself to fear. Maybe, one day, I can come to terms with it. I have worked past so many things in my life, and I am still standing. This will not hold me back.
Thank you as always to Jenn Bovee for always putting up with me, and for more support you can always request to join the Facebook group I run The Evolving Lotus where as a community we share hope and stories about healing.
Light up the Darkness,