Now you have a name for your cluster of
Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
We have defined the problem. We know what causes it. We know why you were vulnerable. We know what it is not: It is not insanity. It is not weakness. It is not laziness. It is an illness, post traumatic stress disorder. You fell into a bucket of shit and no, you don’t smell like a rose. There’s no point in pretending.
The first step to healing post traumatic stress disorder is to accept that you really should not feel okay.
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t pretend everything was fine, and wear long pants to hide the bone sticking out of your skin. You wouldn’t smile through your pain. You would scream and cry about it. You’d show your injury to everyone until someone helped you. Best of all, you wouldn’t have to show too many people before someone got you into an ambulance or a hospital. Everyone would be sympathetic.
Too bad trauma isn’t like that. Our culture is squeamish about
emotional pain. Some people don’t even believe in post traumatic stress
Those that do, would still rather not hear about your unfortunate experience especially if you're going to get all teary-eyed or angry about it.
Having your soul ripped apart hurts. A bone can be set and heal in a matter of months. Emotional pain takes more than a cast and 30 days to heal. Trauma causes emotional overload But many would prefer you cover up your pain. They want you to smile. They don't want to hear about PTSD. They want you to be pleasant and to pretend everything is all right because, quite frankly, they don’t want to hear it.
Screw what people want to hear. The truth is always the truth and the truth wants to be told. Listen to your own truth.
If you won’t say it with your mouth, your
will say it.
If you pretend it didn’t happen, your flashbacks will betray you.
If you refuse to admit your pain, your lack of emotion will show it.
If you say it doesn’t matter, your shame will eat at you.
If you refuse to ask for help, your irritability and depression will scream for it.
The problem is, that the people around you might not recognize your symptoms are a way of asking for help. Mostly, they will think you’re being a pain in the ass.
So don't be a pain. Don’t try to protect those you love by hiding your problems from them. You won’t protect them, you will hurt them. They’ll assume they’ve done something wrong, or that you don’t love them. So don’t lie when they ask you if you’re all right. You are not all right. But you will be. Tell them that.
Give your compassion freely. Give your trust sparingly.
Read my 3-part series, PSTD Learning to Trust Again
Part 1: The Ones Who Let You Down
Part 2: A Tale of Two Friends
If you are struggling to find the inner strength to deal with PTSD and cope with your present circumstances, this book can help.