Today is National PTSD Awareness Day. Those of you that have PTSD or think you may have it, I'd like to talk directly to you. There is a stigma that comes with this diagnosis especially for those that are in the military. I didn't want this stigma either. I felt because I wasn't in a war that my trauma wasn't as bad and I shouldn't complain. I didn't want to be known as someone that was weak either. Eventually, I decided that I could no longer live the way I was (living in fear, feeling chaotic, and stressed out to name a short list), I decided something better change and quick. I felt a deep depression coming on. I hated all the struggles I had on a day to day basis and if this was the best I was going to get I didn't think I could endure too much more of it.
The first step was praying. I prayed for answers out of this hell. I didn't have the money for therapy and I again didn't want anyone to know or to be labeled with a mental health stigma. I've dealt with a lot in my lifetime and I couldn't understand why I could no longer deal with things. Prayer helped me to find answers here and there and I worked my way out of my hell. This may not work for everyone. I spent years and years studying human behavior so I was able to correct those issues first but I still needed help in dealing with the symptoms of PTSD like, triggered incidences, severe anxiety, and chaos.
Now I'm able to manage my symptoms of PTSD. What I realized was that the fear surrounding the stigma boils down to that we are afraid of what others will think and/or if we admit we have a problem then that could mean we are weak or broken. We fear that we'll be perceived as incompetent, weak, and mentally not right. That fear of what others think including what we think is what is holding us back from healing. We fear that if we are broken that we can't be fixed. We aren't broken. We simply need knowledge and tools. I read a study. In this study, it suggests that those that have had trauma in their childhood is more likely to develop PTSD. If we've endured several things that were traumatic it's my belief that we weren't taught the right tools to keep from developing PTSD. It's not our fault and we aren't too weak. We are strong. We just need that knowledge and few tools. Therapist can help. We need to stop worrying about things like what others think or what we will be labeled as because getting well is what is really important.
Another reason we may not seek help is that it doesn't truly make sense in our mind. (This is for those less severe cases.) We feel fine in a lot of areas. We feel strong. We feel intelligent except when the symptoms rear their ugly head. Then the symptoms betray our true selves confusing us making us feel that we aren't strong. If we can deal with the symptoms and behavioral issues we will not be ruled by PTSD.
PTSD isn't a disorder that has anything to do with intelligence, weakness, or the like. It's more like having a brand new shiny car and with every life experience a "ding" here or a "gummed up engine with dirty oil" there. If you don't use proper tools and maintenance eventually it will not work at it's peak performance.
What I pray for now is that my book will be published one day to reach those of you that have had trauma in their lives. I've been there and know the struggles you go through. But until then, seek out knowledge and answers for the help you need. Your life is more important than what others think.