“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?
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.
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 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!