Before I say anything else, I want to say there is life after surviving PTSD. Trauma comes in all shapes in sizes, all ethnic groups, genders, economic groups, anyone any where is vulnerable to trauma. Trauma can occur in so many different ways. The most prevalent cases are our combat veterans, victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other acts of violence. PTSD occurs when your brain can’t process that act or acts that were committed or viewed. It shuts you down. It makes you feel guilty. Guilt is one thing I believe all PTDS survivors have in commonl. ALL of us. We question what we should have done differently, if we could have been stronger, if we should have told someone, if we hadn’t obeyed commands. But none of it was our fault. We got into a shitty situation that we didn’t ask for. You’re not a bad person deep down, you just were so traumatized that your brain couldn’t process the information correctly. Some people go through things and end up with no after effects. People that are prone to PTSD are just wired differently. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or broken. Your brain just works differently.
With that being said, it’s all therapy talk. I know. You’ve heard it before 100 times. But it’s true. You just aren’t ready to be at that place yet. For a very long time neither was I. I was sexually abused for a year when I was 15. It was a terrible act by a terrible coward. The details aren’t important. When you tell people you have PTSD, the first question they as it, What happened? You don’t owe anyone an answer. Don’t let anyone push you to a place that will trigger you.
PTSD is a dark terrifying place. Filled with triggers, flash backs, self hatred, feeling of completely loneliness, guilt, and feelings of wanting to die. But the thing that caused the PTSD is gone now, and if it’s not, please seek out help immediately. It can’t hurt you any more, but it’s haunting you. It haunts me still to this day, 18 years later, but thankfully not in my everyday life. For a long time, I felt like it would never get better, that I would never live a normal happy life, that I would be alone and scared and that the flashbacks would never stop. For me, it also caused me to have Dissociative Identity Disorder. So I had alters to contend with too. I went to therapist after therapist, medicine after medicine. It would get better for a little while, but would always come back. I was lucky enough to find an amazing trauma center in West Virginia where I did intensive therapy. Art therapy helped me the most. I didn’t have to use words. I used the terrible thoughts in my head and got them out of there with sculpting and drawing. It didn’t fix everything, but a lot was resolved.
I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, but I suffered for a long time. Yet, I never quit. I clung on to that tiny piece of hope and I prayed to God to keep me alive. I found people that I could open up to, that I allowed myself to trust. I laid it all out on the table. Once it was out there it didn’t just live in my head anymore. I had outted the demons. What the honest answer to living a life after a terrible trauma is time. It takes a lot of talking, writing and time. It’s a crappy answer. It doesn’t help in this moment, but the light will slowly come. Just don’t give up. Find one thing every day to hold on to. Find that one person you can call anytime you feel scared, do that one healthy thing that makes you feel better, hang on for dear life and know that you are so special and that the world needs you. It has plans for you. Amazing plans. Things you can’t imagine could ever be possible. I have an amazing 2 year old son. I never thought I could have a family, never thought I would be well enough. But I did. I worked with my therapist, overcame DID, the triggers lessened and the flash backs stopped. But I had to work hard, so damn hard. But life is worth it. Living a new fresh life is more beautiful than you can see right now.
There’s strength in everyone. Even if you don’t feel it right now. There is always hope. I want you to see that I survived and have over come so much, and I was weak, I gave up 1000 times, I quit, I failed, I lost control, but that small amount of hope kept me going. Also find a support system. Even it’s it just one person, that’s enough sometimes, but you would be surprised that when you put yourself out there how many people care about you and would help you. Even people you meet on the internet. 🙂 I’m here for you all. I want to share my story to make what I went through mean something, to know that I can make something good out of all those hard times. Keep strong, go to your therapist, take your meds, and never give up hope. It’s a long path, but I know you will get there.