Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
Today I want to talk more about PTSD. It is hard to believe that it has been about 5-6 months since I was diagnosed with PTSD! I always thought that I just had anxiety for no reason. Looking back on it, all of my anxiety stemmed from traumatic events that happened in my life. I have had a lot of health issues since I was a little girl and I know that has played a huge role in my anxiety.
Another huge trigger for me was from one of my relationships that was built around a lie. Someone I had trusted had wrecked my trust and manipulated me at a very young age. The trauma of getting over that relationship sent me into a month of frequent panic attacks. I would get so scared of having a panic attack that I would inadvertently throw myself into having one. The trauma of panic attacks (feeling like you can’t breathe, passing out, etc.) was so traumatizing that I was so anxious and extra conscious of everything I felt. And to be completely honest, I was messed up for a long time. Most of the PTSD comes into play during High school, which I have to say is an incredibly weird time. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are and it can be difficult to see what real life is like when you feel like you’re in this drama filled movie. Getting through the days is even harder when you have real life trauma outside of that bubble (divorce, family deaths, illness, etc.)
I have also talked about not feeling good enough and how that has been probably one of the top triggers in my life. Before high school, I went to a small school with roughly 38 kids in our graduating class. We didn’t have much competition and it felt very much like a family. However, when I went to high school, I was suddenly thrown into an environment with 2,500 kids. There were cliques and specific groups and it was way different. There were prettier girls and I felt inferior immediately. All the boys I grew up with were chasing after new people and it all just felt so foreign. I never paid attention to my weight prior to high school. I was always small but somehow when I stepped foot in that school, everyone was skinnier but with better curves or a prettier face and it just felt impossible to measure up. That feeling of never being good enough, (brought on by experiences in school and other areas of my life) was at the highest it had ever been. It was an exciting time doing something new, but nonetheless, everything felt more extreme. I actually have this one story from my first day of high school. I was across the class from a guy I had known since kindergarten. We had liked each other off and on throughout our childhood and were still friends when we went to high school. I sat across the room from him in a class we both had. I was sitting in front of a girl who was considered one of the “hottest” girls in school. I got a text from that friend and he said, “Move over, you’re blocking the view.” Dumb message, yes-but that stuck with me. Just like that my confidence was shot. This carried with me through high school and eventually led to the toxic relationships I had. I thrived off of the feeling that someone wanted me. That I mattered to someone. It was so bad because I picked people that also made me not feel good enough. Or I would pick someone that would make me feel good enough 5% of the time. But that 5% of the time to me was worth it. I was so desperate to distract myself and escape that it ended up actually leaving deeper wounds than before the relationships. These relationships dramatically impacted me as a person and sometimes I look back and cringe at that girl I used to be. No matter what, I remind myself that I learned a lot and if it weren’t for all of those experiences, I wouldn’t be in the amazing relationship I am in now. I also just want to remind you that there are so many times in life you think you will never make it through-but you will. I look back on those break-ups and remember feeling shattered and so so low. I didn’t think I would ever move on or survive and here I am. Sometimes I do think things happen for a reason!
I never thought that what happened in high school would have such a large impact on me the rest of my life. Heavy traumas don’t ever totally disappear. I feel like they are left on your brain like a permanent scar from what you went through. The baggage from relationships and how I felt years ago is still with me but I have learned to try and move past the trauma by enforcing healthy boundaries in my life now. PTSD can come in many shapes and sizes and for me sometimes it’s a flashback when I feel triggered, it’s an emotional outburst at a random time, it’s a feeling of panic when I remember a traumatic memory, it’s a scent that brings me back to a time when I felt defeated. PTSD for me has been very hard, especially when there are times where you are frequently triggered. It is important to remember that those traumas you went through may never happen again. Pre-worrying about it never really helps anyways. And it is OKAY if you have a day where you are struggling with the past and what you went through. It is okay to acknowledge that you went through a hard time. I think it comes down to what you do about it to make yourself feel better that counts. Therapy has been a huge help with this. Let me get this straight too though- there are still some traumas I have been through that I find too hard to relive. There are a lot of things I haven’t yet processed and haven’t felt okay enough to dig into during therapy. It can take time to allow yourself to process and understand your emotions for certain traumas and that is okay. There is no rush to try and mend a million things at one time. Just know that the moment you want to try and heal, it will hurt and resurface. However, once you let those emotions and feelings out, it will change your mindset and you may feel a weight off of your shoulders!
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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