It’s The End And It’s Over – Revealing The Secrets

by Sherry Riter in PTSD

the end at the concrete wall

I’m ready to tell you my two secrets because the words are flowing much easier now. The past few weeks my emotions have gone from panic stricken grief to hopeful happiness. The fact that my emotions have experienced that range is nothing less than proof. I would say it was a miracle, but usually miracles just happen without a clear explanation. This has an explanation.

The Explanation

A person with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) lives in fear at all times. Fear of the past. Fear of the present. Fear of the future. Fear of what’s been lost. Fear that the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) might not ever go away. Fear that the flashbacks won’t quit. Fear of rejection. Fear of pain. Fear of self. Fear of others. Fear of accusation. Fear of job loss. Fear of failing. Fear that there will be more horror to come. Fear of the phobias that the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) brings with it. Fear. Fear. Fear. It is a lonely world filled with fear and pain.

For a person afflicted with PTSD, it is a very dark, misunderstood and lonely world. No matter how hard the sufferer tries to pull people into the world to help save them, it is still lonely. For the most part, those who understand the pain associated with PTSD because they’ve experienced it or are experiencing it usually can’t help anyone else or don’t want to admit they have PTSD. Those who never experienced PTSD cannot imagine what the sufferer is going through, so they react in several ways:

  • It aggravates them to discuss the problem constantly because they think the person should just “get over” it and “stop dwelling” on it.
  • They simply want to ignore that it ever happened to the person because it is painful and/or uncomfortable to see the change in the PTSD sufferer.
  • They don’t believe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) exists.
  • They are oblivious to anything about PTSD and don’t really care to learn about it.
  • When they talk to the sufferer, they associate PTSD with their own unrelated problems to minimize the seriousness of the PTSD Hell.
  • They get mad at the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferer because they want the “old” person back.

I guess all the reactions are just human nature because PTSD makes people uncomfortable – not only those who have it, but also those who don’t.

My world of “thinking and being” before PTSD was the same way my whole life. I had never known anyone with PTSD or really been close to anyone with any type of mental illness. Yes, PTSD is a mental illness. My world was small before PTSD and in many ways got even smaller after falling prey to the PTSD beast. My knowledge of these types of things was practically nothing especially compared with how much there is to learn about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

When that horrible experience happened to me and my family, we all suffered in our own way. Because no one else ended up with PTSD, I felt like the weakest person and “less than” the rest of my family. Looking back now I realize that I was not only fragile, but in many ways I met the criteria of someone who was insane. My thoughts were irrational OFTEN. I could not move past the moment of pain, grief and panic.

No one in my family knew how to help me or understood what I was going through and some didn’t even care to reach out. That fact alone added to my turmoil and trauma. I turned to the only source I could think of to cure my brain…psychological therapy. There is no shame in seeing a doctor for the mind just like there is no shame in going to the dentist for your teeth, a cardiologist for your heart or a optometrist for your eyes.

I had already been blogging for a few months and found that by writing, I was able to express things that I couldn’t speak. When I typed, I quieted the PTSD demons within me. I also turned to my blog to give myself a voice because most real life people didn’t want to listen to me talk for hours and hours as I struggled with my sanity. Even if no one left a comment about the post I had published on my blog, I still felt like I was speaking. I found that my social media activity offered comfort and relief for my brain as it focused on the letters, words, pictures and people. Since I only slept two hours a night for about 1.5 years, I was able to accomplish much online.

Other people with PTSD also connected with my story and it helped me feel like I wasn’t so alone and that I had not done something wrong to cause PTSD. Everyone kept telling me to continue therapy even though they had been PTSD sufferers for many years. Some had been “uncured” for thirty years! I listened because even during my PTSD flashback insanity I wasn’t stupid. However, since so many people were still suffering, I felt hopeless that I would ever be whole again.

I went to my job everyday and people could not tell that I was slowly, but surely losing my mind or that I was having flashbacks CONSTANTLY that first 1.5 years. Every minute the SAME moment of horror replayed before my eyes and was the scene I saw between me and anything else in the world. It was a total nightmare of an existence.

Over the past 3.5 years while I have diligently worked to relieve myself of the trauma within, other terrible things have happened to me. Those things just added to the stress of trying to recover and take back my brain from the dark abyss that it had been swirling around. I felt very unsupported except for a few people who I knew did not understand my pain. No one really “got” that it has been the fight for my life.

I have to interject something right here in the telling of the story and you will understand why in just a moment.

I will be laid off from my job soon. Yes, I am losing my job because the company is downsizing. Since I am a “single mother,” you have to know that I felt grief and panic all the way to my core. For three days after hearing the news, I was shocked and traumatized. On the fourth day, Alyssa and I spent the day together in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. When I awoke on the fifth day, I was happy. What? Yes, I was happy.

The happiness baffled me, but I truly felt and feel happy. Thankfully, I had a therapy appointment that day. I walked into the office and said, “Please explain why I’m happy. Am I going insane? I should still be crying and panic stricken.”

My initial panic, anger and grief were “normal” and the happiness is the reaction of the strong woman that I have become – the woman that believes she can conquer anything because she beat the savage demons of PTSD.

Yes, you read that right.

Until I went through “another” traumatic event, nothing tested my “wellness,” so I didn’t know how far I had come in my PTSD recovery.

The bad news is that I’m losing my job. The good news, in the words of the uncompassionate and self-centered people in this harsh world we live in, is that I am “cured” and have finally “got over” my PTSD. To those same people let me say that I won’t EVER stop talking about it. I have SO MUCH to tell because so many people suffer just as I did and they need help and hope that their nightmare can end.

I am a PTSD survivor.

Those five words are so beautiful.

I am a PTSD survivor.

I have the intelligence of the old Sherry and the emotional/mental health of the new Sherry. I am the best of both. I am a fantastically whole Sherry who is healthy and happy. If I can conquer PTSD, surely I can find a new job!

I am a PTSD survivor.

If you want to heal your PTSD, I am proof that it can be done. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to remain in the dark Hell of terror and pain. You can heal and become a PTSD survivor too.

I’ve reached the end of this part of my journey. I hit the wall, climbed over it because my PTSD is over and I’m starting a new life. First adventure on my horizon is the need to find a new job!

Even more importantly is that I am living healthy and happy.

Yes, I am a PTSD survivor.

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.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara Spencer October 29, 2013 at 9:12 am

I love you. I never knew you went through so much agony. Still cannot imagine it all because I have not lived it. I always knew you were a strong woman when you did not think so at the time. I am glad you found your inner self and fought with all your might. But now you can help others who are still living your once pain. Sorry I was not there to help you, I really did not know the extent of it and cannot. I have not Lived it. I knew you were hurting deeply when you called to talk. I read your blog today and felt some of your pain. You will find a job. You will not give up. Uncle Billy is still trying at age almost 70. That used to seem old, but not anymore, because now we are there. Besides daddy told me, “Never stop and do not retire because who can know with the government, they want it all.” Worse than IRS is on taxes. By the way, finally got all mine done and will never be late again. I am Proud of you, but also as important I LOVE YOU! 🙂


2 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thank you Barbara and I love you too. {{{hugsss}}}


3 Kathleen Lupole October 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Glad to see it is finally behind you. I know a few people that have suffered from PTSD and it is not an easy thing to deal with. Like you, they have dealt with it, and gone on with their lives.

Sorry to hear about your job though. Hope you are able to find a new direction that may include writing in it.


4 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thank you and thank you for being so sweet to me on some of my most awful days!!! {{{hugggsss}}}


5 Kristi October 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Girl, I can’t believe how much time has passed since you’ve gone through all of this. I know that the things I’ve seen you go through–the things you’ve let me see through the computer screen–have been extremely difficult and I’ll never know the extent of what you’ve had to survive. You are pretty amazing! Now, if you don’t already know this song, go to YouTube and look it up because it describes you: “Overcomer” by Mandisa.

I’m sorry you lost your job and pray that you will find a new and better one very soon!


6 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Thank you so much Kristi! I love the song! You know, I DID overcome and I’m soooooo glad I made it through the horrible mess. {{{hugsss}}}

Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You


7 JS October 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Sherry – thank you for your courage in sharing your story. I work with a person who suffered from an auto accident as a youth and as a result, is a partial amputee and now, in his 40’s, still struggles with PTSD. I believe this is still a very misunderstood condition and I have great respect and admiration for you and anyone who has struggled to overcome this in their lives.

I myself, suffered from a very traumatic situation two years ago that was preceded by several years of a very extreme and intense work-related situation. I have since experienced many of the things you describe. When I attempted to communicate my experience and feelings with some of my old friends and colleagues who used to be very interested in my life, they literally disappeared and abandoned me when I needed them the most. It was a very surprising and isolating feeling. It was as if I was suddenly “radioactive.” I am still making an effort, but something still seems to have been lost which at one time was the love, acceptance and appreciation they had once shown toward me. I now feel as if I made a mistake in sharing my concerns with them. But they were ones who had also gone through the situation as well, and I thought of all people I could turn to, they would be ones who would have understood. I now feel as if I was so very wrong and as if I made an error in judgement to share my feelings with them, as I feel even more isolated now because of it.

I believe there are many more of us who have experienced this at one time or another in their lives to greater and lesser degrees. I have always believed that by talking about things and sharing our stories, we can all come to a greater and more compassionate and kind understanding of each other.

Thank you for sharing your experience.


8 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm

You’re welcome and thank you for sharing your stories. My daughter and I especially loved your description… It was as if I was suddenly “radioactive.”

That was such a PERFECT description!

I don’t regret that anyone knows what happened to me. If they suddenly disappeared from my life, it was their issue, not mine. I don’t run from people who are hurting or need help whether I understand it or not. I try my best to do “the right thing” and then I have no regrets.

I totally believe in talking about PTSD and that is why I’m going to write a book about the whole ugly journey that eventually ended triumphantly.

Don’t feel like you’re totally alone. I know the pain and the loneliness. You can beat it. YOU CAN beat it. {{{{hugggssss}}}


9 meg October 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

2 words,— Peace—-Strength.


10 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Thank you Meg!!!! {{{hugggssss}}}}


11 PJ October 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Hey Kiddo! I was sooooo happy to read this post! You hit the nail on the head. I truly don’t think that unless a person has ever gone the PTSD, they don’t really understand it. My hubby has it from his stint in Viet Nam. He DOESN’T like to talk about it. I do know how it affects him though, and it is really sad, because I forget at times the reason he acts the way he does and lose compassion. I honestly forget and just think he’s being the way he is because “he’s ornery”. Then, when I step back and remember part of why he is on disability, I feel guilty for showing attitude. I am so glad you have “overcome” it. I don’t like the word “cured”. I think this type of disorder isn’t cured, because it takes work to “overcome” your fears, and such. I commend you, love you and again, am so happy for you. I have NO DOUBT that you will find an even better job than the one you are losing. I will keep you in my prayers.



12 Sherry Riter October 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Thank you so much PJ for your friendship and constant inspiration. {{{{huggggsssss}}}}


13 Young Werther October 31, 2013 at 12:20 am

Congratulations on surviving but sorry to hear about the job. You will get over it, I did, three layoffs in my still ‘young’ life. Add that to me having to turn off the lights and being the last employee.. It was hard but I got over it.

Good luck on your next endeavor !


14 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:57 am

Wow! That does sound very hard. I’m so sorry that it happened to you, but glad that you got over it. 🙂


15 DonnaForeverserenity October 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Oh Sherry, I read this with happiness because I’m so glad you’re happy that you are cured!!!!!! I’m so sorry you’re losing your job. It sucks but I’m happy you’re able to handle the news with such adeptness. You are going to be alright because you have come such a long way. I’m learning from you with all your writing so do. not. stop!!! (((Sherry)))


16 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

Thank you Donna! I’m glad that I can help. {{{hugsss}}}


17 Joan November 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

You truly are a PTSD survivor and I can hardly wait for you to write your book. It’s going to help so many people who are suffering with PTSD and I know your story will give them hope that one can recover.


18 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:51 am

I hope the book will help many people. I really hope.


19 Trauma and Dissociation January 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Really inspiring, you’ve given me much to think about. Thank you – and well done on your healing.


20 Sherry Riter January 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

Thank you very much. 🙂


21 Hollee December 13, 2014 at 11:36 am

Dear Sherri,
Thank you for your brave recount of your struggle with PTSD. I too am a sufferer of this often, at least for me, debilitating disorder. I have found so much comfort in your words. It is nice to know I am not alone and it can get better. And it already has in so many ways. But there is still a long way to go.
Thanks again,


22 Sherry Riter December 14, 2014 at 4:23 am

{{{hugssss}}} You can heal your PTSD, so don’t give up.


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