The Other 11% of the Time.

Dear Friends,

Five years ago I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To me it was just another label that had been given to me by therapists and psychiatrists who couldn’t understand why  a young woman like myself had such ‘low self-esteem’ they would say. As I got older and more sucessful and still sad and feeling a failure they called it bi-polar disorder.  For years I had to take blood tests to determine if I was taking too much of a dangerous anti-seizure medication which I took for my “bi-polar disorder”.  So five years ago, it was just another label.  Also, PTSD was not impacting my life or so I thought. I now know that  post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life, your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is  triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include combat exposure,childhood neglect and physical abuse,sexual assault,physical attack, and being threatened with a weapon. Other traumatic events  that can lead to PTSD, are fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threatening events.

Having PTSD also may increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, issues with drugs or alcohol use,eating disorders,suicidal thoughts and actions.  I have experienced some form of all of these manisfestations of PTSD at varying degrees at different times of my life. Before I researched how this mental condition manifests I thought you had to have the symptoms  at the level of a returning war veteran. Since my PSTD did not occur this way, I figured I’d just ignore it. After all, I was so high functioning and creative and successful 89% of the time. 
The other11% percent of the time I felt that I was a failure; that I was unlovable and that nobody loved me. Other symptoms of PTSD include negative feelings about yourself or other people; inability to experience positive emotions; feeling emotionally numb; lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed; hopelessness about the future; memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event; difficulty maintaining close relationships and bizarre swings in my emotional reactions.  An example of symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior, always being on guard for danger,overwhelming guilt or shame, self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping and being easily startled or frightened. I experience or have experienced all of the above symptoms at various times of my life. I can say that after a few therapy sessions (3)  designed specifically for people with PTSD my out look at life is brighter. Please don’t wait  five years to seek therapy specifically designed to treat PTSD. There is so much violence in today’s world that PTSD is probably on the rise. Living a life where you don’t emotionally connect with yourself or others is a life of “grey.” Seek treatment. You will be happier and your life will become as if someone started coloring your once grey life.

Signed,

The Addict Writes

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