The Battle Within: Living with PTSD

Great. It’s another morning where I’ve woken up from a dream about the person who hurt me, and now I’ve got to manage a day avoiding potential triggers and fight my flashbacks. I fight through another day. Sometimes, it is a day too painful to even attend classes.

For the most part, when I’m not struggling intensely with my mental health, I know my interests and have a pretty firm grasp on who I am. I love education. I like spending time with friends and family. However, the blurriness of post traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks/unwanted memories associated with it make it hard to do anything. I can’t manage the energy to go to classes, because I’ll be too mentally checked out to really learn anything from them. I’ll encounter complete demotivation, where I find it too hard to be positive about anything.

Not to mention the memories that play on repeat throughout my head, as I beg myself for strength to even get through another moment. I’ve been able to manage things, however due to recent traumatizing events in my life, I’ve felt like I’m back in the thick of it again. Symptoms in my life abated for a while, enough to start out the semester well. That was, until about four weeks ago. A trigger set off memories and feelings of a traumatizing event, and I’ve been in the thick of it again.

In many ways, I’ve been reacting as if the event had just occurred yesterday. I’ve been missing classes. I can’t stop thinking about the event, even if I want to. Telling myself that I deserved what happened to me. Dreams of the person that hurt me occur pretty much nightly. It’s an absolute nightmare that I can’t seem to wake up from.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to confide in my DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) group, my school counselor, and I have an appointment with my primary therapist coming up. Even with these people to help me manage the symptoms, they don’t go away. It’s baffling to me, and those around me. I truly do want to succeed and to move on, but unfortunately I cannot choose what triggers me. I can only choose how I manage these triggers.

To some, I may look completely lazy. The truth is, I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

To others suffering with PTSD, you are not alone. Please, reach out for help. Confide in a trusted friend, a school counselor, or a mental health professional if possible. These people are there to help you, and can point you in the direction of resources that will help you heal as much as possible. I’m indebted to my DBT program, my friends, and to my therapists for helping me process some of the trauma I’ve gone through as much as possible so I can work toward a brighter tomorrow. Stigma may be horrible, but we can work to overcome the stigma, heal, and educate by sharing our experiences.