Battling a Battle I Was Never Prepared for
When PTSD flares, it is scary.
When my PTSD flares it is scary for me. It is a raw, gut wrenching all empowering fear. Fear that drives me to attack because I fear I will be attacked.
I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in 2011 after a violent marriage. Since then I have faced that I was never prepared for. I was never given any armor or taught any skills, I was just dropped into the middle of the war.
My war has consisted of many symptoms that accompany PTSD: night terrors, flashbacks, anxiety, insomnia, hypervigilance and many triggers. PTSD can easily take over your life. A person with PTSD struggles to focus, is jumpy to the smallest sound and with all of that there is a deep battle with depression.
At one time these symptoms overwhelmed me and I could barely get out of bed. I was terrified to move and my anxiety was through the roof. Going to the grocery store was an overwhelming task that took great strength and courage to walk out my door. Once at the store I would be hit with a panic attack that threatened to cripple me for the rest of the day. It was debilitating.
Today my greatest hurdle is dealing with night terrors. They do not strike me every night, but will grip me for a few nights in a row followed by a few peaceful nights. It is a terrible cycle to be caught in. I wake in a cold sweat, edgy and scared. As I try to face my new day with peace I am often gripped with the fear from the night before. I am on the attack. My nervous system is on high alert, my heart is pounding and I feel dazed and confused. Unfortunately my new husband is usually the one who bears the brunt of all of this which causes us both pain. It is not a physical attack, but a verbal one. We try, once we are both calm, to talk through what we are both feeling, we try to go for walks when we need it and to practice self care. Still it is not easy. Reacting over the top when feeling threatened, with PTSD, is normal. Sounds weird that that is normal, but it is. When you are triggered with PTSD there is such an adrenaline rush that you often react to your trigger how you wish you had when that trauma initially happened. Your whole being is terrified that the same trauma will happen again so you have a heightened reaction.
My husband and I are continually trying to cope with and manage my PTSD symptoms. I have been vocal about what triggers me and he does his best to be mindful of them. If either of us feels like yelling or is yelling that person goes for a much needed "cool down" walk. Thankfully we have a farm so there is a lot of space to do that. It is a lot of work to battle the PTSD symptoms. There is a deep commitment on both of our parts to handle each flare up as best we can.
I have said often that PTSD is a monster. It is my monster. I wake each morning ready to slay it if it flares. I do wear armor now. I meditate, ground myself through grounding exercises, I pray, I write and do my best to verbalize what I am feeling. I also have a horse and find time with her is very calming and helps center me. This is far from an easy battle, but it is the battle I have been given and I fight it one day at a time. Until we meet again...