What is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a set of reactions that can develop after someone has been through a traumatic event.
Any event that involves a threat to life or a serious injury has the potential to be traumatic. This includes natural disaster, war, a serious accident, physical or sexual assault. Most people will experience at least one of these types of events during their lives. You can't stop the thoughts and you can't make them disappear. You can however, stop them from affecting your life. Anxiety, Anger, and Depression are three of the main symptoms that are developed from someone who has experienced trauma.
A sound, smell, or vision that comes without warning can trigger anxiety and panic and we may find ourselves upset and shaken over the memories that haunt us. Previous memories of severe trauma will rear its ugly head without any warning at all. Nightmares come and remind us of the tragic event that occurred in earlier years and then we are left to deal with the emotional side effects.
There many types of PTSD. A person like myself who suffers from childhood trauma has a tendency to unintentionally self-destruct as an adult. For most of my life I could not understand many of my actions. I would have remorse and feel ashamed but I was not able to stop the behaviors. It wasn't until the age of 39 that I discovered how.
- First, I had to seek help and therapy to reveal some of my darkest childhood memories.
- Second, I had to go through all of the emotions such as happy, sad, angry and mad. The hardest part was actually feeling. I had become numb to emotions in order to keep myself from feeling anything. My protective instincts were to build a barricade and keep people at arms length to avoid getting hurt. I lived my teenage years and early adult years feeling isolated because of the 'armor' I would put around myself. You would never catch me crying because that was a sign of weakness and I was determined to prove to the world just how strong I was. The stronger I pretended to be, the more I was falling apart inside.
- Third, I had to learn self-love, self-respect, and most of all self-worth. As a child I was not taught these three very important qualities. How can one learn to love others when they do not love themselves. You are not born to have respect for others. You are taught to respect yourself and others. Your worth is not how much money you have or how big your home is or what social status you are. Self-worth is feeling empowered to do great things in this world. Self-worth is setting a positive example and being respected, reputable and an accountable being.
For the first time in my life I feel free! I still have memories but I am able to manage the emotions.
I do not want to be remembered for all the "bad" I have done. I want to be remembered for all the good I have done.