A Psychiatrist recently diagnosed me with ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’. If you have come to this Blog in search of information about PTSD, particularly because you think you may have it, then you have my sincere sympathies. This condition is a nightmare. While I am not qualified to give you a diagnosis, if any of my words resonate with you, then please get yourself checked by a qualified professional? We all take different routes to end up with this injury. Some symptoms are universal, others are dependent upon what caused it to begin with.
Here is my own journey to PTSD. For the purposes of brevity I will not document the entire list of experiences, but I will touch on some important parts. Mine was caused by several extremely unpleasant individuals and was the result of their abuse, combined with systematic psychological warfare by an individual with military training (read: “Knows how to implement the tools of Psychological Warfare like a Pro”, here) and not a small amount of psychopathology. Therefore, my own symptoms are related to the circumstances surrounding that abuse. ‘PTSD Caused By Psychopathology’ should really be the title of this Blog Post. Your own PTSD may be the result of something else entirely, if you have it at all.
Please note that psychopaths do not know the meaning of the words ‘stop’, ‘no’, and ‘love’. Please also note that they are not exactly large believers in truth. What they are fluent in is the following: Lies, terror, threats, abuse, insults, assumptions, and various forms of psychological torture. I have been accused of motives I have never dreamed of including, but not limited to, breaking a promise to someone because they are associates of the individuals who have harmed me. Not only did I not “promise” anything, because a promise is a sacred vow, but I did not refuse to do a painting for this individual based on association. In fact, that painting was still on the list of ‘things I need to paint’ when the accusation came through. But, well, let’s not let truth get in the way of a good ‘demonization’ shall we? However, I did say I would keep this brief and I am trying. My apologies. There is so much I COULD write and thoughts are tumbling over one another to be written right now. PTSD can steal the voice, and scramble cohesive thought. As I am still in the middle of a flare up I can only hope you will understand that.
Most persons know the meaning of the famous phrase: “If you love something, set if free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was”. The abuser has a different idea. Yep. You guessed it “…if it doesn’t, hunt it down and kill it!”. But it doesn’t stop there. Here is one example among many of how ‘love’ manifests for someone who does not know the meaning of the emotion. The following is a true example of something I have just had to endure: “I have given you a gift. Don’t ever forget that because even though it had no strings attached I will wield it like a sledgehammer at every chance I get. Yes, I intended to buy your love. Which also means that I have bought you. This also means that I get to control what you think, say, do, and how you perceive reality. And I will do all that it takes to make you suffer because you are not doing what you are told. I will use this concept of love like a weapon. I will insult you, accuse you, add as much information as I can conjure to paint you as a foul creature, guilt trip you, stress that you are the one who has everything wrong, and that’s just the warm up. I will add images of something keyed to make you doubt your own sanity and destroy a scared love you have, and I will bombard you with those images, again and again and again, even though we both know that the image is not the reality. And, I will bolster this ‘weapon’ by including words meant to give it credence, like ‘One of a Kind’, and ‘No two alike’, and some ‘technical detail’ too, because that always helps even though bullshit prettied up with intimidation and technicalities is still bullshit, at the end of the day. And I will not stop because my aim is to hurt you as much as possible. I will add a few more insults, a bit more abuse, a couple of threats to visit your immediate vicinity at some point, and we both know it is not for a vacation but we can’t have you feeling safe in your own country now can we? I will add some more intimidation, tear you down some more, throw in another image meant to make you go nuts. Oh, and by the way, we love you. Unconditionally, no less”.
Um. Excuse me? For anyone still reading this, let me assure you that such things are truly ‘crazy making’ experiences. When psychological warfare is used on entire continents its effects can be devastating. When used on an individual, it is closer to catastrophic.
I wrote something a few days ago, when I was on the edges of a PTSD ‘flare up’ as I call it, instigated by yet another round of private abuse like that documented above. And yes, there is a good chance that those responsible for the nightmare I live now are patting themselves on the back after a job well done. I don’t know that for sure but, if they are, then it really says far more about them than it does about me.
I will share the words I wrote here, now. They were difficult to write, but a friend had told me that such words could be empowering for others who do not know that they are not alone. And so, that will do for an introduction. If you relate to the following then I am very sorry that you know what living like this is like:
“A new friend suggested that I should write about PTSD to help others see that it is not a weakness. I’m sure he is right, even as I doubt it right now. So, today I am writing from the edges of what I will call a ‘flare up’ (not that this ever truly goes AWAY). Yesterday it was impossible to write. When one is standing on a cliff edge, with tornado force winds buffeting the body, words are obsolete IF they come at all.
I have no control over the ‘tone of voice’ you are reading this status in. All I can do is give you directions. If I was SPEAKING this, instead of writing it, you would note the shakiness in my voice. You would note that it is quiet. You would also note the hesitant pauses between words now and then. A keen viewer would note that my breathing is slightly shallow and rather rapid. And you would also note the determination to continue in spite of the circumstances, even as my eyes seem wild because I am constantly scanning my surroundings with a hyper vigilance that incorporates more than five human senses. It incorporates at least fifty!
This ‘condition’ does not go away. It can be managed, but it is never managed well. Anyone who says “Oh, just get over it, ignore it, and get a grip” has never truly experienced this condition. It can be hidden. It can be worked on. Many do not know how much work goes into ‘working on’ PTSD. And all that ‘work’ does is quell the nightmare until the next time. Because there is ALWAYS a ‘next time’.
PTSD changes a person. Educate yourselves. MRI’s show a clear difference between the brain of a PTSD free individual and one with this condition. It reveals that what many think of as something that is ‘all in the head’ is, in fact, a brain INJURY.
But I am not here to talk science today. I am here to talk about the effects.
When one is living like this, social isolation is usually the first thing a sufferer seeks; depending on what caused the PTSD to begin with, of course. We isolate ourselves and are often unable to form meaningful relationships with others. Trust is not a part of PTSD. And, because we are social creatures by nature, the isolation we enforce often makes us feel worse. Given that PTSD leaves us feeling like we are to blame for our condition; while the ‘What if’s’ and ‘should have’s’, and ‘If only’s’ crowd the mind, fighting for space with the flashbacks, we often don’t have the mental breathing room TO interact with others because we are too busy reliving things and tearing ourselves apart with guilt. The isolation just reinforces our belief that we are inherently ‘bad’ beings. We must be. No one is around to tell us otherwise. And yeah, it’s ironic. We are the ones, after all, that ENFORCED that social isolation to begin with!
Now. A ‘flare up’ is an intense experience, too. And by intense, let me try to describe this for those who do not know. Imagine that all your thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, understanding, and emotions are all put into a blender and then that blender is turned on. Once that blender is turned off, that is what you are left with. THAT is what you must then begin to work through, process, and untangle. Yep ‘Just get over it’. Sure. NP. Working on it and WHO are you again? Friend? Foe? I don’t know right now so I’m holding the hilt of this sword tightly and I WILL neck you if you take one step closer to me right now. Do not doubt that I am deadly when I am like this. Doubt at your own peril. It’s not even a show of ‘bravado’. It’s a simple fact. All concepts of ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘harmless’, or ‘harmful’ are currently mixed up in that blender right now and all I know is that I cannot tolerate even one more thing so I will kill you…to make you leave me alone. To make this STOP!
And so, the process of sorting through that blender begins again. A simple image or description of cruelty is felt like a physical blow to the soul. I, for example, cannot look at images or descriptions of animal or human cruelty while I am ‘coming down’ without becoming a sobbing wreck. My personal ‘shields’ are still in that blender somewhere and I have to retrieve and rebuild them again.
Until the next time. Because there is always a next time. Always.
And all that work, and all those experiences, and all that untangling must be dealt with while the demands of everyday existence must be seen to. Things still need DOING! Persons who have no idea still need dealing with. And the mask must NEVER slip. Not once. Because any of those things or people could trigger another flare up, or lead to yet another traumatic experience. And that cannot be ALLOWED.
That is all I can say right now. If this empowers you, great. If not. Well, okay. Just know that sharing this much with you all has led me to retrieve that shield from the blender, and this blade is honed to a fine edge. I’m preparing to fight you. Even if there is no reason whatsoever to do so, because right now there is still a very good chance that you may be about to exploit me and harm me with your words.
THIS is PTSD”.
This whole BLOG POST is PTSD. If it sounds incoherent, now you know why.