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Living with PTSD

by Alissa Otero 3 months ago in ptsd

living with PTSD

Living with PTSD
Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Living with PTSD is hard, but living with it from a childhood filled with trauma, and re-experiencing it in my young adult life is well... complex. It's hard to explain to people the things I have been though without them looking at me in horror after. When I do explain it's in layers. I start off with the least bad memories, and slowly say more and worse things that have happened to me. It sometimes happens like that, and I can't seem to ever control it once it starts.

I've noticed how I have coped over the years living with this mental illness. When something was too traumatic for my mind to handle my mind would completely shut down (could barely speak & would feel detached). I would push people away. I would also self-sabotage, because I didn't know where to place all the pain I was going through. Now I try my best to handle everything in a healthy way... even when my mind is overwhelmed. I still struggle with the symptoms, but I manage better. Such as now when I'm experiencing triggers or memories I try to ground myself. I slowly breath in and out. Tell myself "It's not real" or "It can't hurt you anymore". I still rest if it's too overwhelming, but I try not to fully detach.

Daytime living with PTSD is kind of like having a mask. I'm sweet and cheerful on the outside, but on the inside the fear & memories try to consume me. I try to clean while listening to a good tune to get me by. I try to keep busy with hobbies, and healthy habits such as writing, exercise, making art, cleaning, and cooking. I plan to see my therapist again, but until then I have a few close supportive friends that I talk to almost everyday.

Nighttime has always been really hard on my mind. For Example: I remember as a child laying in bed with tears filling my eyes telling my sister all the horrible things I was remembering... and that was not a one time ordeal. Another Example: Would be when my heads not in the right space, and I wake up from nightmares/twisted memories every 15min to 2hours. When that happens I also wake up feeling extremely hot & sweaty, my heart feels like it's about to beat out of my chest, feeling a bit disoriented, and I would feel an overwhelming amount of fear consuming me. Since getting my medical cannabis card about a year ago it's been a bit easier. I smoke in the later afternoons to relax my mind. Then before bed I have a little bit of a routine (I read somewhere it's healthy, and helps mentally to have a nighttime routine before bed). I'll also have a medical marijuana 20mg gummy before I lay down. Which helps me sleep better throughout the night.

It's not a walk in the park living with this mental illness. Some days are okay, and easier to manage... Others are filled with fear, and exhaustion. I was recently reading a book about Post Traumatic Growth, and honestly it gave me so much hope and motivation to grow & heal. I hope you found some tools or felt less alone when reading this to better help you or someone you know who suffers.

A List Of Things To Do When Struggling:

-TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL OR SOMEONE YOU TRUST: This can help when your thoughts or traumas are too overwhelming. Sometimes we just need a safe person to talk to so we don't feel so alone. Also could talk about skills, and tools to help.

-WRITING ABOUT YOUR TRAUMA: This can be VERY helpful when you need to vent, but don't have a safe person to go to.

-BREATH & MEDITATE: Sometimes breathing in an out slowly can help you feel more grounded. Meditation is really nice too because it helps bring peace to the mind.

-PAINT, DRAW, GET CRAFTY: Think of some things you enjoy making that's not to stressful on the mind... painting, drawing, maybe even making homemade crafts. Just like the writing this can also be a good outlet, and you are expessing yourself in a creative healthy way!

-EXERCISE: Did you know that exercise does not only help your body, but also your mind?! It can also help if you get more aggressive during trauma-induced episodes. For example: If you feel too hot headed you could go for a quick jog. Also I just recently read that exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells, and don't forget about the "feel better" endorphines that happen when exercising. So many healthy benefits when exercising, and if your not much of a hard workout kinda man or woman you can always start with a few min of yoga a day.

-READING: If your mind is not too overwhemed you can cozy up with a good read. A book for destraction or maybe a self-help book to help with what you are going through at the time.

-COOKING & BAKING: This is great when needing a good distraction that will keep you busy. You can make/try new dishes all while taking in knowledge, and learning new things. I find baking pies, cupcakes, and cakes help when my mind won't stop giving me a hard time.

-PETS: Sometimes we are lonely and just need more help at home. Dogs are great for that. There are trained therapy dogs that can specifically help with PTSD, but I know that it's a bit pricey. Sometimes just having an animal in general, and as a companion to keep good company around is enough. (Please note if you could barely take care of yourself you probably should not have an animal.)

-QUITE TIME OR QUITE SPACE: Sometimes we just need a quite spot to snuggled up with a weight blanket. When fear and thoughts are too much find a quite spot to relax your mind. (Sometimes the outside world can make your mind loud)

-IF THINGS ARE STILL TOO MUCH: If things are still too much, and you are in a dark place National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-628-9454.

Alissa Otero
Alissa Otero
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Alissa Otero

Just a girl with PTSD trying to get through life

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