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In My Eyes with PTSD

What It Truly Feels Like to Live with PTSD, My Own Experience

By Carol TownendPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
'Dolls with eyes that are supposed to see, but do not.'

I am walking down the road, and there are a lot of cars about. I want to cross over, but my body shakes and my feet do not move. I stand by the road as everything from the car crash, the sounds of an ambulance, fire brigade, police go through my head. Visions form of the one I love laying in the front seat not moving, and then I hear the echo's from my past, me screaming and then being told "We are so sorry for your loss.'" Suddenly it stops, and I am back in my own reality, I am disoriented, shaking, distressed and sweating. People ask me what is wrong with me, and I cannot tell them, because that means "lifting the mask" and they will see what is beneath it.

The scene above also happens in crowds. I am walking in town and it is crowded, impulsively and unaware of it, my breath quickens and I am running to get away. I am shaking and crying, feeling scared that I may be attacked. I can only see me being attacked in my past, as it is happening now. I no longer feel safe, and I try to make a desperate attempt to get to the bus stop. All I can hear is shouting, and I can feel the blows of the people who attacked me. "Is it happening again?" I hear myself say, followed by "I'm being followed" even though I'm not. I try to find somewhere to hide, but by this point, all my cognitive reasoning has left and I'm unable to remember where I am. When I'm at this stage, someone usually stops to ask if I am ok, and I can only stammer and repeat the name of the town and the people who attacked me, and often I'm told that I am repeatedly telling people not to hurt my children, even though this is not happening now. People cannot comfort me, and often they walk away because they do not know how to help me.

These scenes are true facts about what happens to me when I have an attack of PTSD. I have trauma based PTSD, and even though therapy helps me to cope, things always trigger my memories which in return trigger an attack. PTSD makes it very hard for me to go out. I often find myself wanting to close myself indoors, and when my family are home, I close myself in my study to avoid being with people or outdoors and triggering an attack.

I cannot work in crowds or large groups where there is a lot of cheering or shouting, because this raises my anxiety and cause an attack too, and many employers are cautious to employ me, which is why I chose writing for my career path.

Writing helps me deal with my PTSD because it helps me to talk about it, and also I can be "creatively mindful" which can take my mind of it. Sometimes if I can, I will write about my dreams and attack episodes in a journal to help me make sense of what is happening.

Exercise, particularly boxing exercise, helps because they release the stress after an attack, which is important when trying to prevent a relapse which happens to me often when dealing with PTSD.

From my own experiences of having PTSD, the best thing a person can do when trying to help, is do not tell the person it is "not real" because you will make that person frustrated. To them it is real, because they can see it, hear it and feel it, even if you cannot. Try to stay with them, and once the attack has ended, offer them a warm drink. Do not force them to talk about it, they may not want to, and they may not remember it. Many people walk away from people with PTSD because they are like "Dolls with eyes that are supposed to see, but do not." This is my own quote, and it means that we are only treated like "real people" if we behave as what societies version of "normal" is but we can't because our trauma often stops us and puts us in a "doll-like state." Dolls have eyes, and where people have eyes that can see, dolls do not, and are blind to the world around them as they are inanimate and not "real people." People with PTSD, as I found, often do not get treated like "real people" because they often relive their past, even though it is not happening now, they are traumatised by things that happened to them, and during that time, they cannot see the "real world" around them, just like other people cannot see what they can.

PTSD is a very hard condition to live with. It does not make us unloving and it does not always make us violent. It can in fact make the person feel scared and alone. We often need patient friends and supportive people to help us through it, but sometimes that can be very hard to find. However friends and support always helps to get me through it, so if you know someone with PTSD, be there for them, and if you look up websites like mind, time to change and rethink, you will find some very supportive articles here and also help to understand the stigma attached to the illness.


About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

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