PTSD changed many aspects of my life – my body, outlook, emotions, relationships, thoughts and dreams. In many ways this disorder has robbed me of happiness, security, positivity, hope and love. Basically, it has caused so much pain inside of me that at times it threatened my very existence.
During the preparation work to move my blog to a new host with a design I created, I had to re-read or scan many of my older posts. There were two commonalities throughout most of the personal posts from the past year where I talked about PTSD:
- The posts were depressing and some of them were MAJORLY depressing.
- I don’t remember writing most of them or taking the photos for the posts.
It has left me somewhat shaken to know that so much of my life is lost somewhere between the gray matter in my head. So when I say that I was robbed of security, maybe you can understand that at times I feel as if I was snatched away by an alien who sucked out my memory and then returned me to a life that isn’t mine.
Everything about my life feels a little strange. At times I will have perfect clarity and a feeling will explode within my body, throwing peace into all the places consumed with pain. That’s when I am most aware that the old me is gone. I have mourned her loss. It grieves me terribly that in many ways, she died.
The current me has very little history, so every experience feels very new. I’m sure you have experienced walking into some place you’ve never been before. At first, you notice the big, bold and blatant things about your surroundings – the size of the place, colors, textures, smells and the overall feeling. After all that soaks in, you begin to pick up the smaller things that contribute to the emotion of the environment. Maybe there are candles burning, music playing, delicious food, elegant draperies, flowers in vases and interesting books on the tables. As you linger, the newness begins to soak into your psyche and a mild sense of comfort starts to take hold. It starts to feel familiar and more comfortable.
That is my life.
Everything I do, whether I have seen it, felt it or done it a million times before, still feels like the first time I am living the experience. If the PTSD symptoms are strong on a particular day, the next day I suffer major memory loss, meaning that I can’t hardly remember the day before. That is extremely aggravating!
To win the war on PTSD that I must constantly wage for only God knows how much longer, I have found a few ways to assist my memory:
- I take notes on the computer and put the file in the smack dab middle of the screen so it can’t be missed.
- I re-read my tweets on Twitter and my posts on Facebook.
- I sit quietly and stare out the window in the evening.
- I listen to the people talking around me and soak in the feeling of the room.
- I set alarms on my cell phone to remind me of important things that are happening that I will need to remember tomorrow.
- I look at all the photos I have taken – over and over and over again.
- I talk out loud to myself and our pets.
It hasn’t been easy and I often feel very alone. I don’t feel just alone – I feel very lonely, alone and not in control of my life. I am also often overwhelmed by a feeling of total worthlessness. During one of those dark moments, I was sitting right here in front of the monitor of the computer staring at my Twitter thread. A “Twitter thread” is all the tweets people had written to me since the last time I was on Twitter.
I had decided to read all of them first and then go back to reply to each of them. Usually I respond as I read and make my way through all the tweets. One message after the next scrolled down my screen and then I froze. My hand resting on the mouse was motionless as I read the tweet several times. A huge ball of emotion welled up inside of me and I burst into tears. All the pain I had been holding back all day, streamed down my face in a flood of relief. Suddenly I believed that the things I write about and say really did and do have value to people suffering with PTSD. I know many, many people have told me they enjoy my writing or that it comforts them, but on this day it was just different because of the low I was feeling.
My blog started out with the intention of adding value to my daughter’s life. With the battle of PTSD in my life, I also found myself wanting to help others with their journey. Unlike anything I have ever done before, I have publicly shared the pain and darkness of each day in my blog. Now that I am on this side of the darkness with light showing through at the end of the tunnel, I have been able to look back knowledgeably. My willingness to help others has in turn helped me.
By now you know that I am a Christian with a deep love for God and Jesus Christ. One scripture stays at the forefront of my consciousness. During the times that I was in the dark abyss and ready to quit all my writing, I would hear…
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them
How could I stop writing if some day it could help someone? The answer was clear – I had to keep writing for my daughter, myself and other people who have suffered. Obviously, I kept writing and still write from the deepest part of my soul. So when I read the tweet that left me a sobbing mess in front of my computer, I once again felt humbled and thankful. Humbled that my writing is helping people and thankful that I continue to press forward through the pain, sharing it all with you.
To a retired teacher and mother of three boys, I want to thank you for a tweet that validated my decision to remain public with my raw emotions on a day I was feeling very weak. Thank you for helping me to feel that I am adding value. Thank you for the effort you made to tweet me because it made all the difference to my day. You and I are going to be just fine. I know it.
Isn’t it wonderful how technology can help us connect with each other in meaningful ways? Obviously, I love Twitter, Facebook, my blog, my community and you with an emphasis on YOU. .