Good Morning fair reader!!
Today's Friday Five is going to focus in on what PTSD looks like for ME. The interesting and equally annoying thing about mental health issues is that it rarely looks the same for everyone. If it did then we wouldn't have an issue with mental health because treatment would be universal. The thing is that trauma affects everyone differently. Our minds deal with it in the best way to protect us at the time and it will be completely different from your battle buddy or neighbor's brain.
So here are 5 manifestations of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in my life. Don't worry if yours is different or not as bad or worse, we are all fighting this battle and no one is better than another.
1. Startle reflex
My startle reflexes are either horrible or great, depending on how you look at things. I can be in my own home and know everyone is home and walk out of our bedroom and come face to face with one of my family members and jump 3 feet. When I was younger all you had to do was turn the knob on my door handle and I was wide awake. There is nothing that makes this better. My husband thinks it is funny. It really is and isn't because I have no control over it.
The doctors get lost in thinking that if I don't have nightmares about the trauma then it is not connected. This is total crap. While combat veterans or crime survivors may have nightmares about their ordeals, many of us have suffered multiple traumas and just have nightmares. I had trauma both as a child and an adult so I do not have specific nightmares about the trauma, per say. I do have nightmares about falling from high places and that was one of my traumatic incidents but really I didn't have nightmares before the trauma.
3. Personal Space Issues
Here is the thing, EVERYONE has personal space. Even the very huggy people have boundaries and times when they do not want to be touched. I cannot tell you when my personal space issues will rear their heads but it has happened and if my request for space is not requested then I will lose my temper. There was a guy in Kroger one night, who was weirdly buying like 10 pounds of grapes, who was almost up my butt. When I asked him to step back he copped an attitude with me and told me to chill out. I told him that stepping back would be advisable or I was going to move him back. I am not sure, to this day, what it was about him but everything in my body screamed, "FLEE!". It doesn't only happen with strangers but sometimes I have to tell my family not to touch me. Sometimes it is the PTSD and sometimes it is the Fibromyalgia. When a hand on your leg hurts.... weird stuff.
4. Panic Attacks
My PTSD is what started my panic attacks and stress is what feeds them. The thing is that I am often stressed but I have managed to get my panic attacks down to a minimum. When they do come on though I begin to really look at things because high stress feeds them puppies like Thanksgiving Dinner feeds your entire family for 3 days. I will go more into detail about how my panic disorder works in a future post because everyone is different.
I am always assessing the situation. There are some places that I feel safe enough to relax but not too many. If a car takes more than 2 turns with me then I am on edge. I do not like surprise visitors at all nor do I like strangers in my home. I really do not take well to people covering my eyes and saying, "Guess Who?" and you will probably get a very hard and painful reminder of that if you do it. I do check on my kids a lot and the first few days after my older boys go back to their Mom's house is the hardest. I often have to remind myself of where they are so that I do not panic. It doesn't make sense but it is just how it is. It is how I am.
I very much hope that this helps you to feel better about your own quirks. You are not alone no matter how individualized the symptoms can be. Having mental health issues does not make you less, it does not make you broken, and it does not make you untouchable. It just means that you were very strong through bad things and your mind protected you.
Have a beYOUtiful weekend!
Don't forget to join us on August 14 for our 2nd annual White Friday! Go to your Facebook search bar and search WHITE FRIDAY to find our page. Facebook is not working on my laptop today so I cannot post it here. The even is on the page though. All you have to do is take a selfie wearing white and post it on the page with the #WhiteFriday and you will be helping us bring awareness to ending the stigma of mental illness and starting a healing conversation.