PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a disorder brought on by triggers from a traumatic event in one’s lifetime. Every trauma is as individual as the person that experiences it, and it can affect everyone differently.
As someone who suffers from PTSD, the hardest part can be accepting your diagnosis. When thinking of PTSD, most associate it with war veterans, but believe it or not, anyone can have PTSD. When I was first diagnosed, I was in denial. I’ve never been to war. Nothing has happened to me that someone else hasn’t gotten through before. However, we are all affected by situations differently, and it took me entirely too long to accept that.
From what I’ve gathered, my PTSD manifested from feeling unlovable, not good enough, and replaceable. When I was a child, my father was not a consistent part of my life. He would come and go as he pleased, and I never felt like I was good enough for him to stay; there must’ve been something wrong with me to make him leave. If my own father couldn’t love me and didn’t want me, how could I ever expect anyone else to?
Adding on to that, I was in a very abusive relationship with my son’s father for 7 years. Emotional and mental abuse are just as traumatic as physical abuse. He, also, cheated on me many, many times throughout our relationship, which triggered and added to my childhood trauma, therefore reinforcing my negative thoughts on my self-worth.
Although things are much different now than those really dark times in my life, I still continue to struggle with triggers. With counseling, medication, and slow healing, I’ve gotten better, but my triggers are still there.
No matter what happened to you, do not let someone else make you feel less-than. What may seem ridiculous to some could actually be emotionally detrimental to someone suffering with PTSD. Not a single person has a right to tell you how to feel based on your trauma.
For many years, I was told that I was “over-reacting” or “crazy” for how deeply I was affected when my son’s father cheated on me. He made me believe that it was my fault. I was a bitch. I no longer lived up to his high standards in a wife. All I did was nag. He couldn’t just go hang out with his friends without extra bullshit. No matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough for him, and it was always my own fault.
Leaving him was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but I soon realized, it was also one of the most courageous, proud moments of my life.
Even though I’m in a much better place than I was back then, what I endured for those long, horrific years will always be a part of me. They have definitely made me stronger, in many ways, but they are still the root of many of my triggers today.
I’m in a wonderful, healthy, committed, loving relationship for the first time in my life, and I still have triggers. It’s not something that goes away over night, but I continue to work at it every single day. With the love, encouragement, and constant support of my loving boyfriend, I know that I can get through this — even when I feel as though it’s impossible.
If you or someone you know has PTSD, or experiences any of the symptoms, please know that you are not alone. There is help, and you can get better. Do not give up on yourself or your loved one. Reach out and take the first step in your recovery. It’s the hardest one — accepting your diagnosis, but I promise it feels like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. If your loved one has PTSD, please be patient with them. Love them, support them, and always be there for them, but do not give up on them, and DO NOT make them feel as though what they’re going through isn’t a traumatic event.
Do you suffer with PTSD? What are your triggers, and what helps you to get through them? Feel free to reach out to me at any time, even if you just need someone to talk to.