If you see me you won’t think a thing odd about me, I look fairly average as human beings go.
You could never guess I am in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) since autumn 2011. Shock after shock after shock did it. This one was just too big for me.
Some days I wonder if I ought don a “cast hat” so I won’t wind up stammering or running out of an office or store because I am triggered.
I have help and if you suffer from PTSD or any other mental health disorder, I hope you do, too.
It’s been a darn hard road and a lonely one at that. You would think humans more supportive and tolerant but apparently they can only manage a few weeks of support, on average, before they just don’t want to know about it any more. On average.
Some days are better than others but even the slightest stimulation (noise, lots of movement, traffic, etc) can tip me some days.
The fact that I require lots of rest, lots of quiet and lots of down time does not mean I am a bad person. I am doing the best I can.
The thing is, as I said in a piece on this a while back about PTSD, we don’t lose our intelligence, we only lose our coping skills.
Again, there is a great shame/guilt I have come to learn in having an invisible disorder that leaves me longing to carry a cast hat around with me that I might don in answer to anyone who mocks, questions, blames or shames for that which I cannot control any more than they might control physical injury, accident, illness or battery.
Sometimes I say to people, I can’t listen to you talk anymore, I’m sorry, it is hurting my ears. Because it does. On average, I am doing a lot better than rocking the hours away or stuttering so that one word could take the time of uttering an entire paragraph. Friends skittered in all directions. Some came back. Others never will. People fear change and if you mention mental health, many shun you as though you asked for PTSD, asked to change your role in the relationship(s) from helper to the hurt needing the help.
Sometimes even turning the computer on can trigger me, it’s so bright and so many images and I can’t take it for long at any given time. Post scheduling is good for this.
Other times I chastise myself for not participating in life as I once used to. Then, in better moments, I know I am participating best I can in life: my life.
There is no such thing as average mental health. Were we all to experience the trauma others have endured, I daresay our ability to help others heal would be extraordinary. Were the world to look inside the mind of anyone’s pain, for all the similarities we humans have, I believe we are all very, very different when viewed from the inside out.
(c) Aurora Morealist