Friday, June 7, 2013

A story about a girl and PTSD

Like so many other times of the year anymore, June is...well, complicated.

It seems like there isn't much in my life that isn't complicated anymore, but I'm working on accepting this as the new normal.

I'm also working on dealing with all the hows and whys it's as complicated as it is. Part of that has meant that I've had to face a lot of things that I didn't want to in the last few weeks.

I like to believe that I can manage all this on my own, that I can get through anything.

And I can. I can get through anything, but that doesn't mean I'm not coming out on the other end with new scars and trauma. It doesn't mean I walk out on the other side unscathed.

It doesn't mean that I can handle everything I've been through without help.

I'm asking for help.

I've recently become more and more convinced that I have a form of post traumatic stress disorder. Turns out that when too many tragedies happen in too short a period of time, when you lose too much, when too many people betray you, when too many people hurt themselves and hurt you, eventually something has to give. When you've been told by too many people that you don't matter for too long, this happens. It's all been too much, for too long.

I'm saying uncle.

Not because I want to, but because I need to. Because I can't keep trying to keep it together all the time. Because even when I feel like I'm doing okay most of the time, all it takes is one stupid trigger and I'm back at the bottom of the hole. Because in this universe I occupy, those triggers I speak of are everywhere, invading every piece of my home, my town, my mind.

There is a limit to how much I can take, and I'm there.

I have to do this because I can't let myself live in a world where I need anxiety meds when panic attacks surface over a single phone call or song on the radio or envelope in the mail. I have to do this because my children need me to do this, they deserve to have a mother who doesn't flinch over a plastic pool.

I have to do this because I deserve to be happy.

I have to do this because in order to live in the now, I need help to stop getting dragged kicking and screaming into the past.

I'm telling you all this because I know you'll keep me honest.

I know this process will likely get worse, A LOT WORSE, before it gets better.

I know that it's going to hurt, but that eventually it will hurt less and less.

I know that at some point in this process, I'm going to want to quit.

I know that I can't.

PTSD isn't just something that affects combat veterans. It can happen to anyone as a result of any type of trauma, physical, emotional or otherwise. The symptoms can include recurrent memories, insomnia, nightmares, avoidance of social situations, panic attacks. More information on PTSD can be found here.

PTSD isn't a reflection of me, and I know that.

It's a reflection of what I have been through. 

PTSD is a difficult condition to treat because of the complexity of it all, but there is one therapy that appears to work in many different settings. It's called EMDR. It took me a while to find a therapist trained in the techniques, but I did. Then I had to make it official. I had to say that I needed an appointment. I had to take that step.

I'll be starting soon, and even thought I'm nervous as hell, I know it's a step in the right direction.

Information on EMDR therapy to treat PTSD can be found here. 


  1. Kelly, as always, thank you for sharing of yourself with us. The "collective us" here in cyber space who love you and care about you even if we may not have ever met you face-to-face. You make my days better, and I thank you for that. In taking care of all the other STUFF in our lives, including our families, friends, etc ... we often forget to take care of ourselves first. While this has been difficult to do, I am getting better. I force myself to understand that I have to take care of me first, so that I am able to care for others that I love. Thank you for taking the steps to take care of yourself first. The circle of influence in my life knows you as "Kelly, my internet best friend", I want to keep sharing you with them for a long, long time. Take care, Love you, Maria in San Diego :)

  2. You're brave for pushing publish. I was diagnosed with PTSD once and I thought it was BS. . . now I'm re-thinking.

    -The Insomniacs Dream

  3. We all have struggles with something, it's how we come through them that makes us. And letting "us" know helps us support you, even when it gets hard. There's no reason you need to go it alone.

  4. I applaud you for being so open here and for taking that first big step to recovery. Honestly, I wish I had the guts to do the same. It just seems easier to hide behind the humor because the reality is too damn painful to acknowledge. Thank you for having the courage to share your pain so that others may heal in the process.

  5. I agree that PTSD is more common than we think. What may seem like anxiety or stress is really PTSD. Sometimes it is one event sometimes it is the cummulative affect of several events. June is PTSD month in case you were not aware. We (the collective crazies in Las Vegas) are holding a fundraiser for a group called Battling B.A.R.E....they are a non profit that was started by some Army wives after their spouses came home with PTSD and found there really wasn't a support system. I am fully aware that I have PTSD. It affects everything I do every day and now that I know and that I know mine will never go away, I have learned how to cope on a daily basis. Only for the sake of my kids. Love you girl! You got this!

  6. xoxoxo. you know how i feel about emdr.

  7. XOXOXO! SO proud of you. Remember a few things:

    Be gentle with yourself. Don't push too hard into that inky darkness because you can make it worse. Set a pace. Limit yourself to only people you feel 110% safe with.

    Also remember, "Love your neighbor as yourself." The awakening I had was this: If I am not loving myself, how can I love my neighbor. Do an act of kindness, pleasure and comfort for yourself every day.

    You. Are. Not. Alone!

  8. Kelly, you are amazing and strong. You are one of the people I am so glad I have "met" through this crazy thing called blogging. You have heart and substance. I admire you immensely. I will say a prayer for you, and I hope you can feel the big hug I'm wrapping you in right now. xo

  9. Thank you for sharing this. It takes real courage to take a new path, even when we are forced to by our pain. Sending love and peace your way.


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