Living With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder brought on by trauma. Unfortunately, I have first hand experience and am still working my way through it all.

Helpful Links:
National Center for PTSD
National Institute of Mental Health

Recently About PTSD…

Russell Armstrong Is Proof That Killing Myself Would Be Final Stair Rail In Hell I Hesitate To Let You See This Much Of Me I Am A Jet Fighter Pilot Now Tell Me Something Good The Road To Suicide – A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

sherry redhead 2 d

When life happens, you have three choices. Three. The three choices are the same for everyone and you don’t have more than those choices regardless of the following:

  • political party
  • location on the planet
  • job
  • language(s) you speak
  • color of your skin
  • spiritual or religious beliefs
  • size of your penthouse, home, condominium, apartment, townhouse, shack, igloo
  • number of educational degrees or business credentials
  • amount of money in your bank account
  • number of friends
  • affluence and power
  • type of automobile you lease or own
  • brand of your clothing
  • marital status
  • sexual preference
  • type of food you eat
  • number of times married or divorced
  • talents
  • dreams
  • goals
  • type and number of pets you own or have owned
  • physical health

Those three choices SCREAMED at me the last couple weeks. You might have also experienced an epiphany one day and it changed your attitude forever afterwards. Well, I will tell you about the three choices in just a minute because understanding them and the power that I have to make the choice has changed me.

A couple weeks ago my niece barely escaped death which is why I was spending nights at the hospital watching, waiting and praying. As I watched the members of my family, it was not only easy to tell that each were traumatized at different levels from the experience, but I also became more grateful for my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) recovery than I have ever been. Because of what I’ve already been through, I was able to hold it all together while offering assistance whenever needed.

Gratitude that she lived.

Gratitude that I’m no longer plagued with complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

So I stayed in a positive frame of mind by living one day at a time. I don’t believe that my family can truly grasp the full impact of living the Serenity Prayer. The first part that really packs the punch is as follows:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
~ Reinhold Niebuhr ~

Although my family can read it, maybe even recite it and understand it, putting it into practice daily and really LIVING it is more than they have done in the past. The reason I say this is because they are not only worriers, but they worry about what might happen five, ten or even twenty years down the road. During the hospital experience recently, one family member said to me, “I don’t want to hear that prayer again!” and someone else said, “You’re driving me crazy with that one day at a time crap!”

Realizing that they were extremely stressed and had not experienced the intensive chaos that goes on in the head of a PTSD victim, I remained patient. I didn’t stop repeating both the “one day at a time” mantra or the Serenity Prayer because repetition teaches the willing. As I have learned, those in pain are usually the most humble and willing to accept comforting concepts.

I must tell you though that it felt strange not to be feeling insane with catastrophic thoughts while several people were mourning the future might’s and maybe’s. What a wonderful confirmation I felt that my healing and therapy were both well worth the effort I put forth to get to this point because even during the whole thing, I had a sense of peace.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a terrifying, heart wrenching experience, but I was able to dwell on the fact that Brittany was still alive instead of constantly dwelling on how close she came to dying.

Spending the nights with Brittany also allowed the two of us to rebond. Remember, my niece and sister lived with me for about eleven years, so all those quiet nights were peaceful, reminiscent and uplifting for us. I worked hard to keep her comfortable, positive and laughing. I spent about twelve hours a day at the hospital and since I had the longest shift with her, I feel grateful for all the time I was able to spend there even under such terrible circumstances.

Lesson 1 – Therapy is a good thing if you totally apply yourself to the principles of healing.

Lesson 2 – A person can recover and eradicate PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Lesson 3 – Laughter and positive thoughts are vital to healing and sanity.

Lesson 4 – I would not have been able to help as much as I did if I had already found full employment.

sherry redhead 2 e

When Brittany was able to leave the hospital and go home, it was time to readjust to my normal schedule of sleeping at night. Well, that has been slow and I decided that when I was tired, I would just sleep. My health was going to be first on my list of things to accomplish and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

Lesson 5 – Take care of your health because you only get one body and one life.

During this time, I finally decided that I needed to clean up my contact list. So I sent out an email about Swagbucks to everyone on my very, very, very old contact list after I had posted the same message to my Facebook page. My contact list is five years old and hasn’t ever been updated because I’ve never sent an email to everyone at one time. Needless to say, there were LOTS of email addresses that no longer existed.

Because so many emails were flagged as non-existent, my email provider thought that I was a spammer and blocked me from accessing my email account until I called them. That was kind of funny. I’m not going to constantly send newsletters because it drives me crazy when people are insane email senders, so if you want to sign up for my email list, just hop over to my contact page and I will add you. I may not send more than one or two emails a year, but at least you know I won’t be emailing you insanely. I know people and companies that send three emails everyday of the year and that is just overkill! Even my mother doesn’t send me emails that often!

Do a contact email list right the first time so that it automatically updates as people unsubscribe or change their email addresses.

Then Thanksgiving came and we had a lovely meal together with hearts that were filled with gratitude for not only Brittany, but for each other. There were plenty of opportunities for all of us to give service and it was with happy, grateful hearts that we volunteered our time and energy. I didn’t tell my sister and she doesn’t read my blog so it will remain our secret, but while helping her lift something heavy one day, I told her to just let me do it alone because I didn’t want her to hurt herself. After I got home late that afternoon I had a good laugh because I ended up hurting my own back! The next day I couldn’t hardly walk or stand up straight.

Lesson 6Love is a a beautiful thing and there isn’t anything better. I’ve known this for a very long time.

Lesson 7 – Although I think of myself as only 25 years old, I am really more than twice that age physically and can’t do the same things I used to be able do as a young woman. (rolling my eyes)

sherry redhead 2 a

In the midst of trying to get my schedule back on tract, I cleaned out emails and reorganized documents on my computer. Unfortunately there were a lot of documents, pictures and emails that brought me sadness. I guess that’s what led me to having terrible nightmares night after night. Each morning I woke up just about as tired as I was when I went to bed and I’ve had such a terrible cloud of depression hanging over my head. I’ve been unable to shake the thoughts away.

A long time ago I wrote this:

When you are in love, life is full and there is never enough time together. People need to be needed. They have the basic need of loving and being loved. So often there is the mindset that “something is better than nothing” or in other words, being with “someone” is better than being with “no one.” Those relationships are lonely.

Sunsets are depressing.

Sunrises feel hopeless.

You sit beside each other, so close you can feel the warmth from one another, and yet you purposefully never touch. It is like the very popular Eagles song, “Lying Eyes”…

    “Late at night that big old house gets lonely.
    I guess every form of refuge has it’s price.
    And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
    given to a man with hands as cold as ice.”

She settled. She gave up real love for a man with money and she is lonely. A marriage without love is the loneliest form of being lonely. It is deafeningly silent. Your heart aches with emptiness especially when they are near.

Alternately, when you are in love, your heart aches with happiness…

In the beginning there is excitement at the mere thought of the other person and as the months fade into years, it becomes a relaxed peacefulness interspersed with overwhelming love and passion. Love is not lonely.

I also found the rough draft and notes for a very heartfelt post I wrote. Here’s a part of it that is very applicable to where my emotions were during my nightmares:

The choices other people make DO affect the lives of those around them and especially people who love them. Saying otherwise means that you don’t want to think about how your choices affect the people around you because it might make you feel regretful, guilty, selfish or basically bad. Honoring the love we receive is our responsibility. I always think that a good check is to ask, “Am I treating those I love in a way that I want to be treated?” or “Am I treating the one I love in the same way I want someone to treat my son/daughter?” If you can’t wholeheartedly answer affirmatively, then you DO need to change and whack yourself up side the head because you are hurting people who love you! I think we all fall into this category to some extent or another.

When you matter, count, and are loved by someone, YOU WILL FEEL IT. The emotion of love can’t be faked for long. Real love is not only long suffering, but is obvious in words and deeds.

Let me repeat that for you again. Love is OBVIOUS in words and deeds.

Sometimes people love you, but you can’t feel it. Maybe they take you completely for granted. Maybe they love another person more than you and can’t let them go, so their love for you is diluted and can’t grow stronger. Maybe they don’t have time for you because they don’t want to make the sacrifice of their time. Maybe they love you selfishly for the things you do for them and they are unwilling to reciprocate. Maybe they love you with all they can, but it isn’t the same kind of love that you give or need. Maybe their love for you is weak and you are living in a fairy tale in your head. If truth be told, maybe they don’t love you at all. There are so many scenarios, but it all boils down to one thing….If a person loves you, they show it and live it. If you can’t see it because they don’t show it and live it, then it means the same to you as if they don’t feel it. That’s really the important thing…If someone loves you, it is THEIR responsibility to love you in a way that you can feel it.

Lesson 8 – Love can bring about an abundance of sadness when it isn’t reciprocated.

“The hunger for love
is much more difficult to remove
than the hunger for bread.”
~ Mother Teresa ~

sherry redhead 2 c

All those memories crowding my head made it really hard to think of something positive to write about and I didn’t even want to write about what I was doing each day. My mind and those thoughts have been tormenting my mind during the day and night. I’ve just been shoving them away, smiling and trying to accomplish everything I need to do.

So this afternoon I decided I needed to write a blog post or you would think I had dropped dead or lost my mind. I knew I had made the right decision because Mom called me twice to ask me if I was going to write a new post. Mom never calls me for that reason. As you can tell, I’m writing the post and being my too honest self.

Maybe the nightmares and heavy cloud will disappear now that I’m writing everything down. The weird thing about all this is that most of this stuff I’ve already resolved in my mind and heart. The only reason I can think of for it to torment me now is that it is too closely related to some angry, painful feelings that I haven’t fully resolved or forgiven yet. The mind and heart are so interwoven. It is truly fascinating.

Lesson 9 – Talking or writing about your thoughts, happiness, sadness, fear and pain with a therapist, furry friend, human friend, family member, partner or blog can be therapeutic.

Even with the risk of possible sadness and disappointment, I still believe love is worth the effort.

“Love is a symbol of eternity.
It wipes out all sense of time,
destroying all memory of a beginning
and all fear of an end.”
~ Author Unknown ~

The only three basic choices you have in life are quite simple:

  1. Wholeheartedly live and love!
  2. Exist, but waste your life away, give up, wallow in self-pity, don’t love, and/or remain selfish.
  3. Die.

That’s the only choices we all have, my friends. We can live, exist or die. It’s really that simple and complicated. I’m choosing to live and love and live and love some more!

Now that I’ve caught you up on my gloriously, fabulously, interesting life, I’m going to try to let go of all the muck in my head and have a good night’s rest.

Lesson 10 – Some relationships last.
Some relationships end.
Some people are selfish, ungrateful and foolish.
Some people are unselfish, grateful and wise.
Some people are givers.
Some people are takers.
Some people are independent.
Some people are needy.
Some people know how to love.
Some people are clueless about love.
Some people have a relationship that brings them happiness.
Some people sabotage their relationship.
Some people love you.
Some people don’t love you at all.
Some people don’t love you enough.
Some people hang on tightly.
Some people let you go.
Some people you let go…

sherry redhead 2 b

14 have RITTEN comments ★