PTSD – Twitter Tweets That Help Heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Sherry Riter in PTSD

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

On Twitter people send messages (tweets) to each other – sometimes public and other times private. So what exactly does that have to do with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in relation to me?

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:

  1. The posts were depressing and some of them were MAJORLY depressing.
  2. 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…

Matthew 7:12

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.

Tweet on March 20, 10:20 a.m. by redrose479

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. .








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This post was written by...

Sherry Riter, also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Skip_D April 10, 2012 at 1:15 am

The more I get to know you through your tweets & blog, the more I realize how much you have accomplished, how much you mean to your tweeps, & how glad I am to have come across your writing!

Reply

The Redhead Riter April 10, 2012 at 1:28 am

Thank you Skip. You always say the kindest and sweetest things.

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Cindi April 10, 2012 at 5:09 am

As a wife and mother of people who I love go through this torture, it is helpful to me to try to understand what people who suffer from PTSD go through. As a wife, I saw my ex travel through time so to speak, and it was heart breaking to watch and hear what he was going through, and I didn’t have the tools to help him. All I could do was stand back and let him know I was there for him, but eventually that wasn’t enough. My daughter also suffers from it as a result of the military experience she went through.Thank you for your strong words.Keep on moving forward toward some peace.

Reply

The Redhead Riter April 10, 2012 at 8:07 am

Cindi,

I’m sorry that people you love have been afflicted with PTSD and you are right – it is torture. I know that people in general do not understand it fully or know how to help and hopefully my insight can continue to assist in the awareness. Thank you for your comment.

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Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) April 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

Hi Red – You are an inspiration to me. You are not afraid of the stigma of mental illness. You just put it out there. And this is healing for all of us. Your description of your symptoms of PTSD are just amazing. I never had a client tell me they couldn’t remember things based on the day/day after acute PTSD symptoms. They always just say, I can’t remember, I have a bad memory…but now I think you have given more insight into this…and it helps me understand what my clients are talking about, what they are feeling…thank you.

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The Redhead Riter April 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Kathy,

You know, after the trauma happened, I didn’t even understand what was happening to me. I didn’t even know that PTSD existed outside the realms of military personnel or victims of war. When I was finally diagnosed as having PTSD, it still wasn’t a big help because nothing the therapist did helped me and nothing I read helped. My symptoms were not like anyone else’s. I think I might try connecting with someone who studies and researches PTSD because I might be able to offer a different insight.

As far as the stigma of “mental illness” goes, well, it isn’t like I asked for trauma to affect me this way nor can that stigma be any worse than being a redhead LOL The STORIES I could tell about discrimination because I am a redhead and they are FAR WORSE than anything anyone has said about my PTSD!!! I’m really glad that I have gotten so much better and the easier it becomes, the more I understand that people don’t know enough about PTSD to help normal people like me.

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Andy April 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Please Listen
Author Unknown (Survivor)

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen!
All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.
Advice is cheap – 20 cents will get you both
Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can
and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you
and get about this business of understanding
what’s behind this irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious
and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense
when we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works – sometimes –
for some people, because God is mute.
and he doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn,
and I will listen to you.

Reply

The Redhead Riter April 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm

“Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s behind them.”

Thank you Andy. That was beautiful and so true.

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Sue April 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Hi Red Riter: Yes, you explain well. A close friend of mine has PTSD too. I have looked into a special shot being studied for the PTSD that the military men and women suffer from and it is helping them to get on with their lives. It is called stellate-ganglion block (SGB). It is the brainchild of a Chicago Anesthesiologist, Dr. Eugene Lipov, so I have read articles from the newspaper about it. The Navy is now in a study with it. It reportedly is actually effective. One shot and you are on your way. Look it up and see what you think. This Dr. Lipov is kind of in our area and we may give it a try someday. It is reportedly very good for severe anxiety too. One young girl who was traumatized by a horrible incident was unable to keep going to school. After the injection, she was able to return to school. But, don’t take my word for this, but it seems a promising solution. It sort of resets your nervous system, like the restart button on the computer. Keep-a-goin, you are an inspiration.

Reply

The Redhead Riter April 11, 2012 at 12:50 am

Thank you, Sue. It sounds very interesting and I will definitely look it up.

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Jaz April 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

You have made me sit up and take notice of having a blog and how it could be used towards the healing process…I am in my 11th year of PTSD and although I have progressed well (due to my own positive nature) I still have a yearning to write my story and I guess to help my daughter’s better understand what their mum lives with. Every time I have attempted to drag out those dreaded journals it usually puts me back a few days and into the painful past. Due to a recent miscarriage of justice by the Public Prosecution Department here in Australia, a lot of my pain has turned to a “healthy” anger which has enabled me to move on. That story of injustice could be a book on its own! I guess the best thing about blogging and meeting people like yourself is realising we are not alone.
Good luck and thank you for sharing. Jaz

Reply

The Redhead Riter April 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Jaz,

PTSD is different for everyone, but I find that writing about it really helps me. It frees my mind and it helps to vocalize all the wacky stuff that goes on because of the trauma. It happened to be me because I love my daughter so much. That isn’t anything to be ashamed of and everyone else with PTSD has it for a good reason too. Sometimes when I write about my experiences, I sit here crying and typing. When I’m finished, all the emotions have found a voice and I feel soooo much better! If there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know – I’m only as far as an email. Sending you {{{BIG hugggsssss}}}

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Ged Wilkinson November 26, 2012 at 6:01 am

Summer Bank holiday weekend 1996 driving my police car towards a pursuit situation when the stolen car hit me in my drivers door at 60 mph. 16 yrs on. Now my two lovely daughters won’t contact me. Marriage break up, divorce, remarried, affair, ECT, lots of drugs. Need my daughters back. What can I do? Nobody seems to know.

Reply

Sherry Riter November 26, 2012 at 6:40 am

Are you saying that you have PTSD because of the wreck? Have you sought therapy?

Reply

Ged Wilkinson November 26, 2012 at 8:10 am

Yes because of the wreck. Had CBT therapy had everything. Need to have my daughters understand that my moods and irrational behaviour really is part of the condition. I left them and there mum for a child hood sweetheart who got in touch when i was low, they only focus on this that i had an affair. So much more to it. Now after a few meetings and me being angry and saying horrible things they wont reply to text, email, telephone calls nothing.

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Sherry Riter November 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm

You may never get your family to understand what you have gone through or feeling ESPECIALLY if they are not willing to make the effort. Unless someone has been through the agony of PTSD, they can’t really KNOW how you felt/feel. The most that you can hope for is that your daughters will have compassion and that they try to understand many things you did/thought were out of your control. Have you tried EMDR therapy? It has a HIGH success rate. Focus on you and then after you have that under control, coping with the rejection by your daughters will be easier to sort out. {{{hugsss}}}

Reply

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