Now You See It, Now You Don’t – PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

by Sherry Riter in PTSD

Now You See It, Now You Don’t” is the name I’ve given one of my daily frustrations caused by PTSD. Yes, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD for short, stubbornly remains in my life. Although I have done GREAT and accomplished monumental tasks while afflicted with this stigmatized disorder, PTSD hampers my abilities to totally flourish.

I’m not sure which remaining symptom of PTSD aggravates me most, but here are the more obvious ones that I have to not only cope with, but also work on daily:

  • Startle Reflex – For someone who doesn’t like watching scary movies, having surprises or being frightened, constantly having my startle reflex take over is unnerving. For instance, the scenario might be that I’m sitting in my office working and someone lightly taps on my open door. A normal reaction would be to look up and recognize the person. Right? Yes, right. My reaction is often that I hear the tap and almost at the same time I jump/jerk as if someone just leaped out of a closet while yelling, “Boo!!” Not only does it “frighten” me, but it usually scares the other person terribly. Embarrassing and aggravating symptom? Oh yeah.
  • Memory – Who am I? Okay, that is a bit dramatic because I never forget who I am, but I forget so many other things constantly. Once I go to sleep at night, well, give it up if you expect me to remember what happened the day before or something you said. On a good day, there is only about a fifty percent chance that I’ll remember, but on a bad day it is a futile effort to even try having me remember anything. Frustrating? Oh yeah.

Those two symptoms alone could be enough to drive someone insane, but wait, there’s more! LOL Actually, there are a whole bunch more, but the next one is the Now You See It, Now You Don’t symptom. It is important to me that you actually understand what it is and how it affects my life.

  • Now You See It, Now You Don’t – This can happen with any object, at any time, in any place. Your brain knows it is there, but your eyes can’t take what you see and make your brain understand it. So I see it, but I really don’t see it.

Let me explain it more visually.

Granted, I have a lot of keys and multiple key rings, but that is really irrelevant because the desired key is easy to recognize. So with all my keys laying together, my BRAIN knows that the key I seek is on the key ring. My BRAIN also knows that the key is a small silver key with the numbers 69 stamped on it. My BRAIN also knows that the key is not on the little round key ring or the “Fake It” key ring. My BRAIN knows that the key is on the key ring with the burgundy ribbon. Do you see the key?

many keys on key rings

You are probably saying, “Oh yeah! I see the key! It is the one in the front on the key ring that is on the right side of the photo!”

You’re right. That is the key and when I looked at all the keys, my brain and eyes both saw it too. However, the existence of the key didn’t register as THE KEY that I needed. I couldn’t RECOGNIZE the key.

This same scenario happens over and over and over again during the day. It happens with things like determining which car is mine in a parking lot, where my cell phone was last placed, keys, lunch bag, camera, purse, silver mixing bowl, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.



YES!!!!!!!!! FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!! AGGRAVATING!!!!!!!!!!

I describe the confusion like my brain is a snow globe that someone has been shaking for the last ten minutes.


Nothing settled where it should be.

A mess.

That’s why there is the dilemma of being unable to associate the objects with the thought in the brain. So after I fight this kind of symptom all day, I’m a bit exhausted.

And aggravated.

And frustrated.

And sometimes I’m depressed and feel sorry for myself.

But guess what?

I’m better and I keep getting better every single day. Eventually this symptom will be in my past too and I know it.

Yep. Then it will really be “Now You See It, Now You Don’t!” because some day soon I’m going to be totally rid of PTSD!

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is 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 }

1 teresa1944 March 18, 2013 at 8:38 am

You said that so well! When I’m under stress, extreme stress, I do those kind of things. I cannot find my car and get turned around and for a split second. I do not know where I am or I cannot find my keys to get into the house and I get so upset only to find them dangling on my ring finger for the last 10 minutes. I used to think I was getting dementia, but the doctor cleared that up for me.

I get lost too which is the very worse of all. I get lost in places I have driven for years and I can’t get home. I once got lost in Texas at 2 in the morning in the fog for 30 minutes on the block I lived. I remember crying when I drove in the driveway. Once the garage door opened, I sat inside my car for a long time in the garage.

I know you suffer and it has been something you have to do alone. Only you can fix you and with the help of God, you will. When this is all over, He will show you the why to it all and your growth from it too. You will look back one day when all is healed and say, “Did I dream that?” It will not stay raw as it is now. It will diminish with time and work.

You took your mamas breath Saturday in Williamsburg. You are so beautiful and so talented. Be strong, be brave, be consistant, be you and all will end well. Mother loves you and am proud of you and all you have accomplished. I have watched you stumble and falter and get up and come out shining.

You are Alyssa’s mother. She will always need you and that is such a beautiful kind of love. She will give you a little one some day and oh the joy your heart will feel. Her soul is delicate and she is breakable just like you and me. Protect her when you can and the rest of the time ask God to do what you cannot. I feel blessed to me a mother of you and Audrey and oh to be a Nanny. To get a second time around has been a bit of Heaven. I would take all the hurt and pain the four of you have had or will have if God would let me. He won’t because it is for your good to experience it. As a human that is nonsense to me, lol, but I trust Him with the best part of me. When I have to leave earth I will miss you four, and no matter how beautiful beyond the veil is or even Heaven itself, without you girls it will not be Heaven.

By now you know this is just for us, lol. I knew you would read this post even if you do not check your email box!! Sneakie ole ma aren’t I? Now have a great day, for we are eternal, working on our earthly degree, so to speak. Soon I will graduate and boy I pray I pass with honors, lol. This school of Earth has been hard on ole mom, but I have loved being here. I am blessed for I have been a mother and what a beautiful word that is. I think it is royal to be a mom. We are partners with Our Heavenly Father. What greater blessing could we ask for?

I will be thinking of you reading this, knowing you did it today, lol and feeling like the cat that got the birdie. lol kisses


2 Sherry Riter March 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Well Mom,

I don’t ever want to forget this comment, so it is going to be public. LOL

Thank you very much. I love you too.

Yes, you do know that if you leave a comment on my blog I am much faster at reading it than my email. LOL


3 Simone @Greatfun4kids March 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Wow, Sherri… It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by (I have you in my blogroll) but today your title caught my attention.
I’ve just finished posting a “back in five” post… needing to take a week off blogging as I’m simply not coping. Those first two symptoms of your really resonate with me. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety ten years ago, as a result of prolonged chronic stress (youth work). Apprently my symptoms were very like PTSD. I’m working through all this stuff with my most excellent counsellor, but it’s such a long (and frustrating) journey.
Honestly, I am rather encouraged that someone “like you” battles this… does that sound wierd?
I mean, it gives me hope.
Cos you are pretty awesome.


4 Sherry Riter March 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Thank you, Simone, and I’m sorry you are having to cope with yucky symptoms too. You can be successful too even though it IS VERY HARD. Hang in there! {{{hugsss}}}


5 Skip_D March 19, 2013 at 3:02 am

I’ve had something like your “now you see it” symptom from time to time, & yes, it’s very frustrating & aggravating!!! …so is not remembering why you got up & went into the kitchen, or forgetting something you just thought of 2 minutes before, both of which happen to me frequently! I’d be more concerned if the same thing hadn’t been happening all my life, but that makes it no less frustrating… anyway, here’s to you leaving all those yucky symptoms behind you very soon!



6 Sherry Riter March 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

Thank you! {{{hugsss}}}


7 Rescuing Little L March 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Wow, I was right there with you….PTSD sucks the life out of a person…yes, being startled at any given moment….but like you, I’m gonna ditch this thing and soon! Blessings to you!


8 Sherry Riter March 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Thank you! Yes, I’m all for ditching it soon! {{{hugsss}}}


9 Liza March 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

This is very true! It happens to me a lot. I get hallucinations with my PTSD, though. D; They often seem so real. I also have trouble with zoning out, which is different from what I refer to as “Zombie Mode”. It used to happen a ton. I blogged about both of them on a now retired and expired domain, Seek Liza, but I have it and all of my other posts in my archive.

I’ve come to realization, though, that the more people talk about it, the more awareness spreads. Hopefully this post will help people understand a little bit more. :3


10 Sherry Riter March 24, 2013 at 7:51 am

The zoning out thing is reeeeeeally aggravating!

I think more people should talk about it too because PTSD is SO misunderstood.



11 Teresha March 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I hope your writing is helping with your treatment. HUGS!


12 Sherry Riter March 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

Yes, it does, although it is painful and kind of blows me away that I have shared so much since I’m a private person. I guess I can’t say I’m that private anymore.


13 David - the real me is Davey April 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

This Is What I sat to search for
at work I can use a tool – set it down – and it vaporizes – not to be found until IT is ready
YES!!!!!!!!! FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!! AGGRAVATING!!!!!!!!!!
Crazy Making


14 Sherry Riter April 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

That is the perfect word for it…VAPORIZE!!!! 😀


15 jim September 26, 2013 at 12:50 am

The love of my life has PTSD derived according to her from her previous marriage. I have tried to make our relationship work for 7 years. She imagines that I’m messing around on her when I’m not and progressed over time to the point that I don’t feel loved anymore. She used to show affection and evidence of love but now that is gone. I have suffered along with her PTSD and she has dumped me more times than I can count and even starting seeing another man at one point and I’m not so sure this isn’t the case this time. I tell myself that I can’t do this anymore everytime but I think maybe I’m at that point this time. I do love her very much and it hurts sooo bad but I have been accused of things I havn’t done and now with no affection and not feeling loved along with out of the blue ditching me, it has become a broken record. Any suggestions?


16 Sherry Riter October 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

I’m so sorry Jim. Please seek therapy. If she will go to therapy, go together also. She will not be able to heal herself from PTSD. She needs help.



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