People ask me all the time about the traumas that brought me to a PTSD diagnosis. Like so many others, there is more than just one instance that led my mind to just overflow with things and eventually have a PTSD diagnosis. Having had a rough childhood with horrible events weaved into 90% of it was a basis for the adulthood traumas to take root and grow into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mental health was not good to start with and that caused a severe/chronic PTSD Diagnosis. Yet you will find people who had great childhoods and very little traumas until their military service/deployment situation led them to a PTSD Diagnosis. There are not foundational building blocks that can lead anyone to say they are more prone to PTSD than others. Each and everyone is different, we all handle traumas & stress differently.
I don’t talk about the individual events that I lived through but I do discuss the problems they caused. The problems are what project outward and cause so much disruption in our lives. The symptoms affect those around us and those who love us. The actual events aren’t needed for you to understand we are struggling with mental health disorders. What happened isn’t necessary to share with any who ask, how I have overcome the symptoms of PTSD to be here is what matters.
People with traumatized brains do not process information the same, no matter if you call it PTSD or PTS the outcome is the same. The brain is changed. All of the things listed in the graphic above happen a lot andfor many they never ease. If you know someone with PTSD, they are changed. Sometimes it is immediate and other times it is subtle changes over time. One thing to remember is that PTSD is not a cookie cutter disorder. Everyone is different.
PTSDers will not just come out and say ‘this happened and it causes me to act this way.’ No matter how many time you ask them to tell you what is wrong, they wont. Not because we don’t care about you, its just that its hard to pin point exactly what is wrong.
Often times with the PTSD diagnosis comes depression and anxiety. All of these symptoms shown in the graphic happen to us. Sometimes all at once and it is hard to just keep going everyday. If there is also physical trauma these symptoms are just worse. That is why you will often see so much medications being prescribed to the PTSDer. For me, the symptoms of PTSD, Anxiety, Depression and all the physical/chronic illnesses overlapped so bad I was on the maximum prescribed dosages of medications and still found no ease in the symptoms. Everything is just magnified when things get bad.
I think this graphic is one that shows what many of us go through. It is truly a life changing illness when you have multiple mental health issues as well as the physical health issues.
It is all so overwhelming and sometimes it is too much and we either cocoon ourselves into whatever it is we are most comfortable doing or escape to a more ‘safe’ environment. Again, everyone is different. You know that person with PTSD and know what they tend to do when things get bad, just remember that even if it doesn’t seem bad to you, it is for them.
The traumatic experiences I went through were only all shared with one person and that was in therapy. Not even my husband will ever know it all. He is my everything and I just cant bring myself to tell him everything but he knows enough. For the care givers of people with PTSD, asking what happened is not always helping. In time we do open up more about things you just have to be patient. We know you are there for us, we know you care and love us. It is always possible we may never share the experiences, that does not mean we love you any less. Sometimes it is easier to be with people who were there or know what we went through because there are unspoken understandings of the situations. It is why many Military/Veterans tend to be able to talk about things better with each other.
Look at all those graphics, read about each of the symptoms and just imagine all of that happening all the time. It is EXHAUSTING and truly overwhelming.
While I don’t have that happening all the time now, there was a time it was the only thing going on in my head unless I drowned them out with the medications and was a zombie. Now I have to stop all I am doing and find my way through it. With medications or without, none of this is easy.
Maybe in time it will be better and not so bad, who knows? All I do know is that today I am better than I was a year ago and lots better than a year before that. As long as I work hard at maintaining my safe zones and safe places I can thrive. It just took me a long time to get here.
Some people say there is a cure, I do not believe that. There are lulls in the symptoms but there are no cures. Of course, I am not a medical professional so you don’t have to take my word for it. I am just a 43 year old military veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who is fighting the demons everyday.