A Very Personal Journey
This is not something that I like to talk about. It’s very hard for me to find the words that I’m trying to write, and it’s very hard for me to not end up in a heaping mass, drenched with tears on my bedroom floor. I have been suffering in silence with PTSD for about 50 years now. I always knew that I felt “different,” I felt “separate from,” and that I felt that something was definitely wrong. That feeling of an “impending doom” has carried on with me for all of these years, it still carries on today, mater of fact, almost everyday. It’s been a good day when I can stay distracted enough to engage with life’s daily monotony, let alone certain challenges that we all face from time to time. I feel overwhelmed most of the time. I spend a good percentage of the day mentally talking myself through the most mundane tasks, trying not to get overwhelmed, staying emotionally regulated, checking and re-checking my emotions and behaviours “It’s exhausting.”
What is PTSD Anyway?
The Canadian Mental Health Association say’s;
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness. It often involves exposure to trauma from single events that involve death or the threat of death or serious injury. PTSD may also be linked to ongoing emotional trauma, such as abuse in a relationship.
Something is traumatic when it is very frightening, overwhelming and causes a lot of distress. Trauma is often unexpected, and many people say that they felt powerless to stop or change the event. Traumatic events may include crimes, natural disasters, accidents, war or conflict, sexual violence or other threats to life or safety. It could be an event or situation that you experience yourself or something that happens to others, including loved ones.
PTSD causes intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing the traumatic event. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere. They often avoid things that remind them of the event—for example, someone who was hurt in a car crash might avoid driving.
PTSD can make people feel very nervous or “on edge” all the time. Many feel startled very easily, have a hard time concentrating, feel irritable, or have problems sleeping well. They may often feel like something terrible is about to happen, even when they are safe. Some people feel very numb and detached. They may feel like things around them aren’t real, feel disconnected from their body or thoughts, or have a hard time feeling emotions.
People also experience a change in their thoughts and mood related to the traumatic event. For some people, alcohol or other drugs can be a way to cope with PTSD.
For me its been a “revolving cycle of Hell” for way too many years, too many decades. I go through bouts of anxiety that slow, or even stop me from my daily routine, and that causes my depression, and very soon I get a sense of total frustration that this will never end, and that causes more stress, more anxiety, and the cycle is repeated.
When I’m completely dis-regulated it has led to a few Dissociative Episodes, were I have unleashed a “Holly Hell” within myself and negatively affected all of those around me. I have had four of these episodes in the past 14 month that have varied from, “Loss of Time” accompanied with “Total Black-out,” to outbursts of anger and no memory of the event.
I’m not a soldier, or a first res-ponder, I’m just a middle-aged man who try’s to work when he can, that writes a blog, does photography, and is a YouTube creator. I have childhood PTSD.
I had “Self-Medicated” for decades to cope with what might seem to others as a totally irrational feeling about a given situation, but to me these feelings are all to real. I no longer “self medicate,” as a matter of fact I don’t “medicate” at all. I have even forgone the endless regime of prescribed medications, for a holistic approach of psychotherapy, and almost daily sessions with one of my counsellors.
So How Does It All End?
Well it doesn’t, to put it bluntly. This is a disorder not a disease. There is no cure, the best way to describe treatment for PTSD in a nut shell is, to learn how to cope with it.
So what the hell does that mean?
There are options that have helped me to cope with my form of PTSD. If you’ve read this far you have, or know of a friend or family member that is suffering from this disorder, or are seeking some general knowledge of the subject.
I see a psychotherapist that specializes in PTSD accompanied with opiate addiction issues and I include my family, friends, counsellors and spiritual advisors into my life for guidance and support. I try to remain positive and mindful of my emotional state, and I try not to be too hard on myself.
There are also some “Non-Conventional” treatment methods that involve psychedelics that are promising for some. I have a “Shaman” and I have undergone several sessions utilizing psychedelic mushrooms that have given me some insite, and periods of reprieve. MAPS is currently doing a whole host of research in this area. But what ever is chosen as a means of coping with this disorder, the important thing is, to make that personal choice for yourself.