I think the hardest part of having PTSD is telling other people. Many people have misconceptions about what it is, what it looks like, or who it affects. PTSD is not reserved for combat veterans. In my case, it’s from multiple and prolonged instances of sexual assault and abuse. Being open and honest about it is the only path to healing for me, along with being brutally honest about it.
The biggest part of this illness for me, is that I felt ashamed of it for the longest time. I hid it from everyone, including romantic partners. I have no desire to hide anymore, because this is my story and my truth. I didn’t ask for the trauma. But healing from it is up to me. I had an episode yesterday when someone unknowingly triggered me, and I dissociated. Everything about the situation, the words, the location, even the person, caused a flashback and sent me into a dissociative state. The scary part about this is, I don’t know it’s happening when this happens. My brain and body shut down to protect me from the trauma. Dissociation is defined as : disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions, and identity. AKA: scary shit. I couldn’t communicate what was happening, so I removed myself from the situation entirely. I spent the day in bed recovering from the episode, which leaves me emotionally and physically exhausted. It’s not pretty, but it’s real, and it’s my life. I have stopped feeling sorry for myself, and started being honest with myself instead. The next step in the process is being honest with others. Starting…now.