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I thought I would put a picture a picture of a storm coming over the mountains. Seems like a fitting start. At this point I do not want to go into too much detail, however; I am sure that some people are wondering how I could have PTSD. PTSD is widely known as being an effect of military service.

I wish that were true. My PTSD (along with many other people who I have met over the years) came from abuse in my childhood. Not one isolated incident and not the spankings that some people received and were quite “normal” in the 70’s and 80’s. My abuse went on for years and occurred daily. I was also abused during my marriage, yet if you would talk to me ex-husband everything was great.

As a result of the abuse as a child, I have PTSD. I have flashbacks, I am hyper-vigilant, I have nightmares, and I have symptoms that I am still working on in therapy. If I am to be perfectly honest I have self harmed and I have been inpatient in a unit that specialized with PTSD. Flashbacks are moments where I feel like everything from the past is happening all over again. I feel/experience the world around me as if I were back in that time period. A flashback can be triggered by a noise, a smell, or seeing and object that may remind me of a time when I was abused. Hyper-vigilance means that I am always scared or on the look-out for something to happen to me or around me. Just those two symptoms make it hard for me to go out in public.

My doctor feels that my fibromyalgia was brought on by the years of stress and anxiety of the PTSD. The fibromyalgia is exhausting and caused pains. Unfortunately it also causes me to feel off-balance, maybe because the pain is triggering memories.

All of this makes it hard to leave the house. I am lucky as I have said to have friends and family that are understanding. This was one of the hardest posts that I have written. I am being as detailed as I can be at the moment and hope to share more as I become more comfortable with this format.

In other news-I received an email last night that a black lab is being looked for at this moment to be my service dog. This is going to be a huge undertaking and I am up for the challenge. In the end, I am going to have a service dog who can brace me when I am unstable, help me to get up out of chairs on days when I can barely move, and assist with my PTSD symptoms. So much to look forward to. Not the nursing degree that I thought that I would have at this point, yet life does not always work out in the way that we planned. Who knows, maybe I will advocate for others with my illness one day!!

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One thought on “A Little Background (Not Pretty)

  1. Jen, thank you for writing this post. I know it took a lot of courage to get through every word. I am sure that this post was not written without a tear or two, or even sobbing. You are a wonderful person and I am sorry that your life experience has trapped you inside your own head. I completely understand and sympathize. I’ll be honest, I know you better than some and even I was unsure of the origin of your PTSD. I think your explanation is as detailed as it needs to be; both to protect you, and your family. Thank you for taking the time and emotional strain it must have taken to write this post. I am your friend, even if you and I rarely see each other. We both know that our mental illnesses are what bind us and at the same time put physical distance between us. Just know that I am here for you – no matter what.

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