Image was taken by the author.
Do you ever feel the everyday feeling of feeling worthless, accompanied by shame and guilt? Do you ever feel as though you do not have any control over you own emotions? Like it is going out of your hands and out of your body and you do not have the functions to decide how you would like to portray it. Doesn’t that make you feel disconnected with the people around you and as time goes on and as it worsens you may start to lose yourself at times and the people surrounding you?
Those are some of the extras to my complex post-traumatic stress disorder that I have been diagnosed with. Honestly, moving my fingers and admitting to it now is not an easy task and pushes me to the category where I want to place this under an anonymous blog post but there is an area in my body who tells me not to and that I should not be ashamed of my stories.
Other than the mentioned above, I undoubtedly experience the re-experiencing of the event in similar yet contrasting forms of the occurrence. The involuntary and vividly reliving the event in the form of flashbacks is lesser compared to my nightmares which I would encounter almost every other night. At times, the nightmares are not that particularly situation but the nightmares that do occur surely exaggerates with more anxiety and fear due to my past that still haunts me. Sometimes I would come up against the physical consequences in which I would have an episode of a wave of weakness and sweaty trembling hands and legs that arises from slamming doors or loud noises such as shouting or raised voice. That can be a little tricky to overcome because when people are genuinely joking around just raising their voice a little, I might enlighten a little fear in me which will increase its levels tremendously in seconds and shifts my focus to fleeing from that scene. There were times when it had happened and a tear automatically rolled down from my eyelids down to my cheek and neck, while no words seemed to form from my mouth when some asked what was wrong. Another tricky part indeed, being unable to formulate the words to explain what was running through your veins and mind.
Along with that, the constant feeling of neglection and subjecting myself to emotional numbing is always reoccurring without me realising. Sincerely, I would admit that I reroute to avoidance of being reminded of any events related to the uneasy experience but when I do practice that I wouldn’t realise until moments later as I reflect on my actions. Looking back, I do recall up until now where I do avoid certain people, objects, areas or activities that relocates me to the same uncomfortable feeling that I had undergone before. Similarly, I am taking a shot and guessing that that is probably why I am so jam packed with so much of activities in school and out of school ever since high school started. Additionally, that accelerated when I held positions in multiple student bodies, participated in several competitions, hosted and created many school events for students and teachers (around 10 events in 1 year) and was active in a handful of extracurricular activities throughout my high school life.
As exemplified to the above, I guess I mirrored that sort of hectic lifestyle to where I am now. Part of me wanted to be an all-rounder but I think deep down, there is also a part of me who used this as somewhat a comping mechanism to distract myself or push out any form of memory regarding the event that had taken place. Furthermore, as more difficulties arises in terms of financial and reliability, I anchored myself to such lifestyle although I wish it could be different as now, I begin to realise the number of times I burnt out and feel extremely drained. Which is quite frequent I might add.
Consequently, the continuous inkling of feeling on edge all the time annoys me all the time especially when I crave for a sense of peace of serenity. I might be in an environment where everything seems to be peaceful and quiet without and distractions or disruptions, but my mind is like a war zone where the left and right brain hemispheres do not seem to see eye to eye. It is indeed trouble, feeling unable to relax and more anxious as time passes by. Feeling hypervigilant to threats and feeling easily startled from small stimulus. This state of mind of me being hyperarousal leads me to a hole in which I wished I didn’t enter as I become more irritable to everything around me, problems with concentrating which deeply affects my studies, work and social life and not forgetting the sleeping issues where having a marathon of nightmares does not let my body induce in a good night’s sleep.
Correspondingly, having to face other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety does not come easy. It’s like an additional problem that you cannot eliminate but must live with where some days might be better than the other. As if one issue that causes destruction in your life isn't enough already, there is the constant piling up of more negativity and hot boiling water of thoughts that burns you to the ground and you don’t have the power to stand right back up. Then when you do have the strength to crawl back up it feels as though a pile of cement is being poured right at you and pressing you back to the ground. Which brings you to find the motivation to relocate the force within you to return taller and taller from the aches that burns you to the ground and you don’t have the power to stand right back up. Then when you do have the strength to crawl back up it feels as though a pile of cement is being poured right at you and pressing you back to the ground.
The accompaniment of headaches, chest pains, being unable to grasp for the slightest amount of air and the dizziness with stomach aches then flips back and forth becomes a huge weight inside me weighing me down. As though there is a huge rope tangled around my heart and somewhere at the other end of the rope located at my feet there is a village of people opposing me who is pulling me downwards to a dark path in which I do not see the light at the end of the road.
All in all, I don’t really know how I feel about my recent diagnosis on PTSD. I do know I feel a little uneasy about it, knowing how it probably is a contributing factor to many of the struggles that I face in my day-to-day life. It wouldn’t get any easier, but I am glad that I still manage to pave a way for me to survive in hopes that one day I may find a way to live without a knot in my chest too.
Submitted by: Natalie C.