Sunday, June 10, 2007

How Do You Survive PTSD?

NOTE: This blog contains strong language and potential triggers for anyone with PTSD. If this bothers you, stop reading. Otherwise keep going and thanks.

Sometimes my therapist and I talk about surviving and healing from PTSD. There is no perfect cure. Everybody's different and heals at different rates. However that's hard to keep in mind at the worst times.

If you have long-term severe abuse, you'll probably develop multiple personalities. Remember that PTSD is NOT schitzophrenia. Instead it's a survival mechanism that looks strange to the untrained eye.

Right now I have 25 personalities. I'm having meetings with them so everybody can talk and start to heal. Like any meeting it's a mix: shy, aggressive, questioning, curious and others. I try to reassure everybody that this is the right approach. But understandably they argue. Why should we believe that? These people treated us like s**t for years. Why the f***k should we trust them now? I try and listen and convince them that this will be ok. But many times it's a endless fight.

Imagine you try to wake up and you have hyperarousal. A million thoughts are running thru your mind and you have to fight to focus. Then it takes a couple of hours before you can concentrate and not dissociate. After that hypoarousal and more dissociating start. Every small action is a huge battle. Your fight-or-flight response is stuck. On top of that some personalities are battling for control. You feel like you're losing control of your body. You're shape shifting in some bad sc-fi movie. How do you walk from your front door to your car? You think you'll disappear. If the adrenalin surges and dissociating are really bad, you feel like you can't walk. You feel like your body will shut down.

If you're in a crowded place or driving, what do you do then? It's like a bad alcoholic blackout. You disappear and then when you come back you have no clue. Where am I? What did I do? What did I say? Did anybody see me?

I've had this routine 24/7 for 35 years. And most people don't understand and don't want to understand. Instead it's your fault. You're "handicapped." Just shut up and go away. You try to tell them you're not. You know something's wrong but you're not sure exactly what it is. It took me 20 years to finally find the right therapist. Still, if people find out who I am my life will still be severly messed up. So then why write this blog? I guess one answer is that I (and other PTSD sufferers) are sick of being treated like s**t. Repeatedly being raped is not something that you ask for or enjoy. Dissociating, adrenalin surges, flashbacks and nightmares are things that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

That's the ulgy truth about PTSD. Most people don't have time to listen to you and don't care. Instead it's go away. Or, I'll use you as a political football to help me get elected. I don't understand how this works. So odds are our viewers/listeners won't either. So just go away.
If I'm wrong, prove that I am and I'll apologize. Until then that's the ulgy truth.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

You don't survive it all. You survive one minute at a time.

Anyone who wasn't there, can't know. Anyone who don't know, don't really care. They pretend, for a while, and then it's 'get over it, it was a long time ago, don't give me that past life s***.'

I was told, 'Don't WALLOW in it.' How the hell do you answer that?

A got a dog. I don't sleep, but she don't sleep either. I walk the perimeter in my house, but then I can lay slack for a while and let the dog walk the perimeter. She understands.

The dog gets me through. That, and knowing that all these miserable civilians and wannabees couldn't have lasted two minutes in my life.