What Happened To The PTSD Blueberry?

by Sherry Riter in PTSD

Other than the far off look of spaciness or what I call my foggy brain, I wanted a visual of the dramatic difference between who a person is before PTSD and who they are after PTSD. I’ve been trying to think of “a picture” to express PTSD for people who do not have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Before PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

As long as I had at least one person who could understand EXACTLY what was happening to both my body and mind, I didn’t feel so alone.

Loneliness during the suffering of PTSD symptoms is the worst type of loneliness I’ve ever experienced.

Before PTSD my brain was fully functioning on a normal level. Thought patterns flowed, emotions were understood, memory was great, and I didn’t have any adverse physical ailments. Although I had problems in my life, I still felt that I could control my destiny.

My glass was full.

before PTSD

After PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

After PTSD my brain became a jumbled mess. I couldn’t focus on one thought because the flashbacks were continuous. Two therapists didn’t know what to do to make them stop. I only slept two hours a night and my heart raced all day long. My startle reflex, the one that makes you leap when someone scares you, was in overdrive and even the slightest movement caused me to nearly jump out of my skin. My thoughts were often irrational. Relationships suffered as well and often ended because I no longer was myself. The sick me caused people to feel uncomfortable, so they avoided or ridiculed me.

My glass became not only nearly empty, but many parts of it were destroyed and totally smooshed.

after PTSD

Before And After PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Obviously this analogy is very simple. The glass was full and then became almost empty. It is hard to go from full to empty. It is hard to be full one day and wake up the next day empty. Waking up with PTSD is a terrifying experience.

As I am healing from this horrible illness, what remains of my life sometimes feels like the devastation that is left after an explosion. It is impossible to find everything or put it back together again. During the war against PTSD, I have suffered many casualties physically and mentally. I discover and mourn those losses daily.

Having PTSD after the horrible experience was not something I chose for myself. No one “wants” to have PTSD. So if you don’t have PTSD, maybe my full glass and empty glass analogy will help you to understand the dramatic difference that occurs with the onset of PTSD.

It’s not a pretty sight.

The difference is dramatic.

The mental pain of PTSD is devastating and completely terrifying.

Think about it…

How would you like to wake up tomorrow to find that in many ways you felt totally insane?

Scary thought isn’t it?

PTSD. Going from full to devastatingly close to empty in a matter of seconds.

before and after PTSD

“Of all the things I’ve lost,
I miss my mind the most.”
~ Mark TWain ~

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.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandy Rawlinson July 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Once I again I can identify with the dreaded “glass”. I don’t know how many times I’ve been called negative and a pessimist. The glass analogy has been used on me until I think my ears will bleed. The worst insult of all was by my ex husband. “You’re crazy and everybody knows it but they’re just too nice to say anything.” This ultimately lead to a divorce after 27 years of marriage. It was a regular occurrence for my ex to tell my friends and family that I had changed. Although I worked hard at hiding my pain and had become a good little actress, I noticed the nature of my unsolicited trauma caused people to avoid me, including church friends and coworkers I had worked with for years. Because I rarely smiled and often sat in the living room aimlessly staring at the television, my then teenaged daughters avoided me. I was in therapy for four years to help cope with severe emotional lows, panic, feelings of low self esteem verging on self hatred, and the “what ifs”. The one word that has recurred for the past 10 years is “fear”. The loneliness and fear threaten to swallow me up and spit me out to this day. It is a dark place and IT IS FRIGHTENING! I had to live with my parents for a short time after my divorce and I remember sharing with my mother that I may never find my way back. My parents have since shared with me that they cried in bed together at night for fear they would lose me. They were right. They were losing me. I was losing myself. My thoughts were clouded and ran wild like gusts of wind stirring the dust. There were times I entertained thoughts of suicide. I am cognizant that my thoughts and feelings are often irrational and illogical. Maybe that is the worst part of having PTSD, being aware that my brain has been altered by something I had no control of. Little things that go wrong in life, like our refrigerator recently going out, is a BIG thing to me. I rarely allow myself to get excited for fear of disappointment. Yesterday I had a disappointment. It ruined the rest of the day and is still lingering like a bad cold today. I wish I was Samantha Stevens and all I need do is twitch my nose and all will be as it was before PTSD. Again Sherry, thank you for sharing. I had my husband read your last blog and it really opened his eyes to some of my behaviors, and most importantly that they have nothing to do with how I feel about him. With all the gloom and doom I just shared, I want to say that I am fighting. I’ll go to the movies and see a comedy. I’ll allow myself to enjoy a meal out with my husband. I am in love with my two year old grandson who “entertains” me twice a week. I can now laugh and smile. The battle continues. ~HUGS~


2 Sherry Riter July 29, 2013 at 12:28 am


Thank you so much for sharing with me and everyone else. I’m so glad that my blog has helped your husband to better understand you.

Don’t stop fighting although it is often a very dark and frightening place in your head. Just know that there are many others in that same dark place. There is a way out as long as we keep trying to heal. {{{{SUPER BIG HUGS}}}}}

Have you read this post? 14 Reasons That You Should Read This Post About PTSD Now


3 Sandy Rawlinson July 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The main picture of you on this site is stunning. You are a beautiful woman inside and out, but I can see it in your eyes. We do not suffer alone.


4 Sherry Riter July 29, 2013 at 12:24 am

Thank you so much Sandy. {{{hugsss}}}


5 Joan July 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

You explained what it is like to not have PTSD and what it is like to have PTSD. Keep up the good explaining. You are helping everyone understand PTSD, whether they have it or not! 🙂


6 Sherry Riter July 29, 2013 at 12:21 am

Thanks Joan. {{hugss}}


7 Peter Spenser July 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Dear Sherry,

While I love the fact that, through therapy, you are getting better, I’m not sure that “totally smooshed” is a clinically accurate term.

Your analytical pal,


p.s. Love you anyway.


8 Sherry Riter July 29, 2013 at 12:20 am

😉 Maybe they will add “totally smooshed” to the new book of sophisticated words for doctors and therapists especially because it would work so great in many different circumstances. For instance:

1 – (surgeon) Ma’am, your finger is totally smooshed so I’m going to have to operate.
2 – (dentist) Little feller, I think you totally smooshed your brother’s lip and broke his tooth with your out of control fist. Let’s see about repairing that mess for him.
3 – (therapist) Sir, your life is a mess. Every part of it has been totally smooshed to smitherines. Maybe you just need to start all over from scratch.




9 kimmy March 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Sherri, i love your blog, it’s very helpful. I just want to know what kind of therpy did you get to help you recover from ptsd. i have had a battle with it for 20 years. I need help really bad. I had so many traumas in my life, one right after the other for many yesrs. I need to heal. Im so tired of feeling crazy and wierd and hopeless. At first I didn’t even know what was going on w/me.
Thank you,


10 Sherry Riter March 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I had several kinds of therapy and therapists. I’m so sorry that you have suffered for so long. There is hope and you can overcome PTSD and the crippling effect it has had on your life. Stay determined to be whole again and you will find the “cure” and the right therapist. The right therapist for you is truly key in your recovery. {{{hugssss}}}


Leave a Comment

"How rare and wonderful is that flash of a moment
when we realize we have discovered a friend."

~William E. Rothschild~

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
I respond back to all comments.


Previous post:

Next post: