Understanding PTSD: is it just someone moaning or feeling sad?

I am not one to whine, or deliberately see the bad or sad side of life. In fact I think sometimes people who follow me forget there is even another side. Such is the nature of social media.

We present our best self, the things that we want people to see. A positively distorted view of reality. So from that regard social media has a lot to answers for when it comes to mental health and mental illnesses. Everyone is living a perfect life, right? Well no, not exactly.

For me, PTSD is like a dark evil shadow that I cannot quite get rid of, no matter how bright the sunshine outside is. It is controlling, a lot of the time, all consuming (depending on what else is going on). The best way to illustrate it is like this.

Image copyright: Melanie Magowan

I am not refusing to let go of the past, it is refusing to let go of me. Triggers are everywhere, frequent and sometimes unexpected. Simply managing the PTSD to get through the day like a normal person is completely exhausting.

As you can see, any small thing that comes along in regular every day life sends me spinning over the edge into a complete meltdown. This can be the smallest thing ever.

The reaction it can create in me is completely exaggerated and it is not uncommon for me to totally lose control.

The reason is, the rest of my brain is preoccupied trying to manage the constant PTSD triggers, keeping me safe physically and mentally, and trying to help get me through the day. There’s no room for maneuver.

My anxiety levels vary greatly. Therefore so does the reaction that tiny little bit of extra stuff creates.

So before you start thinking – shit, she over reacted a bit, or OMG why have you had to make it such a big deal…. Stop and think of that image above for a minute.

The difference with PTSD is that I cannot just quickly dump some of that extra trash out of the trash can to make space for normal life.

My strategies to cope when life is on the edge like this

Self care becomes paramount. It is the number one goal in my day every day. I MUST take care of myself, calm my mind and the physical reactions to that anxiety and put myself in happy or safe spaces. Today was one of those meltdown days. I had one on Tuesday also.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t be offended. But equally, don’t NOT reach out. It’s always nice to receive those ‘I hope you are ok’ type messages, even if I do not respond straight away.

If you don’t hear from me for more than a while, please please DO reach out. The Parkrun community did this very thing a few weeks ago and dragged me out to volunteer. I cannot tell you how vitally important that was for my mental health in that particularly dark time.

Living with PTSD is a constant fight. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes I struggle to get up to fight that next fight.

It is simply something I will have to continue to live with, make friends with. Some times my wins will outweigh my losses. Sometimes they won’t. There is no pattern to this.

PTSD is a hidden and often forgotten mental illness. One I did not ask for, do not talk about a lot, or moan about. But I do ask you to remember that it is still there and always will be there.

There are a lot of things happening in my private life that are likely incidentally triggering this particularly dark period and it will be triggering the PTSD like crazy. It is not always like this. But for now, This is the place that I am in.

Author: Melanie

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete, blogging life thru a disability lens. On wheels, with flipper and occasionally on feet.

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