(Previously posted to USFRA.org this is post is a reminder for PTSD Awareness Month)
Breathing in the night air I lean back in the chair on the patio to look at the stars in the sky. They are numerous and beautiful, each of them winking in their own rhythm at me. Relaxing outside while my dogs play and explore has become a new routine of my day to day life. It’s something I couldn’t conceive of doing 2 years ago. Before that time I would lean out to call them back, hoping against hope I would not have to take those few steps outside the door into the yard. Now, I smile, I laugh at their antics in the shadows and I finally feel safe in my own backyard.
It’s a result of hard, hard work in therapy with a specialist in PTSD.
I have come so far in a journey which has taken over a decade to resolve inside myself and to come to a place of peace day to day. It is an ongoing journey and is not a perfect road by any means. But the overwhelming drive deep in my spirit has been that I was unwilling to fail myself in this. I would not let ‘them’ win. Because in the end this ongoing journey is about my personal path towards a place of wholeness. So to step back into the house and get online to discover the ongoing stigma about PTSD again directed towards me was astounding.
No, it’s not about ‘stress’. No I’m not going to share ‘what’ happened to ‘cause’ my PTSD with a stranger who is only trying to agitate me. No I am not depressed and was not depressed. I can go on and on about this particular soapbox.
It only causes a mindset of curiosity. It creates an environment where people think all they’ve read in the news about horrible things which have happened and people who Pare tagged with the term ‘PTSD’ is truth. It was online in the news it must be true right? We have become their train wrecks they can’t look away from and gain a secret enjoyment from agitating. We are perceived as weak, unemployable, explosive, unstable, and perhaps worst of all we are perceived as not enough.
People with PTSD do get better. People with PTSD heal, they grow and learn to cope day to day with the ongoing onslaught of off hand comments and their personal triggers. People with PTSD do not always without fail have depression. The ‘D’ in PTSD does not stand for depression.
People with PTSD do get better.
I am a PTSD survivor and I have worked hard to get to this place of healing, of continuing growth and to this incredible place of…happiness.
The journey has finally attained the status of living my life in spite of my PTSD.
I have become a survivor.