PTSD Sucks is the understatement of the year. I wish there was a word that would relay just how bad it is.
I’ve been dealing with PTSD for going on 26 years now and I know many others who suffer with it as well. I applaud the spirit of this post, but for most of us this isn’t how we need help.
First and foremost we need people to understand what it is. We’re not “overly sensitive”, “crybabies”, “special snowflakes” or any other term that gets used to diminish the horror we deal with regularly.
Believe me when I say that I really wish I could “just get over it”. I’ve learned to accept that this is my life, and that there are times when this will be triggered and out of my control. The best I can do is to continually remind myself that this is a cycle and cycles pass…well, until the next cycle is triggered.
As I learn what things will trigger it I can attempt to avoid them, but there’s no getting away from it unless I want to live in a bubble by myself with no tv, Internet, flashing lights, loud sounds, certain smells, fireworks…..
We aren’t all triggered the same way either, it’s personal, unique, just as unique as the trauma(s) that we have all suffered as individuals. If you really want to help, please ask us if we can help you understand what we’re going through then be willing to listen and learn.
One of the biggest things you can do for us is as simple as being our “bodyguard”. To have someone that we know we can trust, really trust, take over for us while we can’t think or function in the moment, to be a buffer to keep the rest of what’s happening away from us and get us out of that situation. Knowing that we can depend on you for that is a gift unlike any other. But please don’t jump in and do this without having this understanding with us first or you could make things exponentially worse for us even though you don’t mean to do anything other than help us.
PTSD doesn’t discriminate, men, women, kids, young and old, civilian and military. It’s the result of being in a situation out of your control and your brain decides that you can’t handle anymore and the slightest thing that reminds your brain (not even you consciously) of what happened before will set off a myriad of different things…night terrors, flash backs, panic attacks making you feel in that very moment that you are going to die right there and then. I wouldn’t wish this on my enemies (and only one ex-husband).
You may not be able to empathize with what we go through, but accepting the fact that this is what we go through, without judging us or our trauma is huge. There’s nothing worse than opening up and sharing this part of yourself with another person only to be told that you’ve been through worse or that happened to so & so and they don’t have a problem with it doesn’t help, in fact it makes it worse. So thanks for being willing to help and thank you for recognizing that what I go through is very real for me, even if it doesn’t happen to others.