PTSD is not a self-inflicted wound.

I am going to say sorry in advance here. I am feeling a bit b**hy  because of a few comments made about PTSD in general while I was speaking to a group. I couldn’t do a PTSD rant there so I decided to do one here.

Having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feels a bit like living in a glass house and everywhere you can see there is someone standing there ready and just waiting to throw huge rocks in to your home. They may have been standing there for 6 months or 6 years but that feeling of being under attack or in imminent danger never goes away. It doesn’t matter how comfortable you make your glass house. No one cares if the lights are on or off. You can put blinds up all over the place but you will still know that you are surrounded and anything could happen at any time.

Making it even worse?
Those helpful sorts that remind us of those who have it worse. OTHER glass houses have 50 people holding rocks. Yours only has 30.
Or the well-meaning people who say  we should be grateful for what we have.  Your glass house may shatter at any second and everything you’ve worked for can be destroyed but for right now? Be grateful for it all.
We are not ungrateful. We are just struggling.
How about the exceptionally considerate lines of “Just leave the past in the past.” “Forget about it.” or “Move on.” Sometimes I want to act like a snarly b**ch and say “What a GREAT idea! I never thought of that! Just forget it and move on. Thank you! My life is forever changed. I will just forget that my beautiful glass house is surrounded by danger at every second of every day and I will move past it.

What I think many people do not really understand is that people with PTSD didn’t buy that glass house. We were not asked if we liked it or if we wanted to live there. We were just thrown in and told to deal with it. We did not choose to decorate the borders of our scary glass homes with rock wielding thugs. They just arrived there and won’t be told to go away. They stand their ground no matter how nicely we ask them to leave or how strong we get and attempt to push them away. They just come back. We did not choose to be unprotected or feel vulnerable. Being forced to live in our glass house made us that way. Who one earth would feel safe there? At no time did we deserve to be relegated to that glass house or surrounded by fears. We did absolutely nothing to deserve that. All we can do is try to live with it.

If you really want to be helpful? Why don’t you come over and visit us. Help us make a plan that will help us. Maybe you can help us build a big wall that the rocks could never get over? Maybe even paint the wall so the view from the house would be nicer. You can’t do a thing about the glass house. It will always be there but you can help make life in the glass house more tolerable.

No one ever chooses to have PTSD and if asked? I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t happily hand it back. It is really no different from any serious ailment. No one chooses to have it. That said? No one would ever tell someone with diabetes to just think happy thoughts. Someone with no leg would never be asked to just forget about it and walk onwards without it.  A cancer diagnoses is never greeted with a “you just can’t let it go can you?”.

Am I being a bit harsh when I compare PTSD to cancer, losing a leg, or having diabetes? Maybe. That said? The rate of deaths within the PTSD community are very high and steadily getting worse. Some professionals that I have heard giving talks have gone so far as to say they believe that PTSD should be considered a fatal disease if it is not treated properly. That is pretty darn serious. Add in the rates of people with PTSD that can no longer work, then add depression or other co-morbid disorders that commonly “buddy up” with PTSD, the higher than average divorce rates, the crippling anxiety, and all the medical costs associated with trying to care for people who have not been given the proper treatment? We have one serious issue going on there don’t we?

  • We did not choose PTSD.
  • We do not choose to have flashbacks during the day.
  • We do not go to bed hoping for terrifying nightmares.
  • We do not ask for intrusive thoughts.
  • We do not want to be triggered by seemingly insignificant things.
  • We do not enjoy feeling unsafe almost everywhere we go, even at home.
  • We do not like the rage we feel. It scares us.
  • We do not like many of the medications offered. Some work. Some don’t. Some have horrible side effects. NONE of them cure our PTSD.
  • More than anything? We do not like being blamed for our disease. It chose us. Not the other way around.

Tattoo

22 responses to “PTSD is not a self-inflicted wound.

  1. Spot on heather. PTSD is a nightmare to live with. We do not want it, ever! XX

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  2. Fantastic post, and one I wholeheartedly agree with 100%. PTSD is an absolute b**ch to live with and none of us choose to suffer from it. Thank you for writing this! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much Addy. I really appreciate the reblog and I went to have a look at your great site last night. I’ve signed up to get emails when you post. 🙂
      It is nice to know that you can relate to what I wrote. I am also sorry that you can because I don’t like to see anyone else suffer but perhaps feeling understood helps?
      All the best and thanks again!

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  3. Reblogged this on All that I am, all that I ever was… and commented:
    Whilst perusing some of my favourite blogs this afternoon I came upon this fantastic monologue about the scourge that is PTSD. It’s a brilliant, insightful look into a much misunderstood illness, and deserves your full attention.

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  4. Great blog Heather – you rant away! When you have a so-called “invisible” illness – like PTSD, arthritis, depression. fibromyalgia – some people can be very flippant about it. It’s beyond hurtful, especially when that person is a family member. Do they seriously think it’s a lifestyle-choice??? Do they think we choose to live in pain/fear for the rest of our days? That we would rather live on benefits (or nothing) than earn our own living? That we don’t really want to do all the things that most people take for granted? That we really don’t WANT to have a peaceful night’s sleep?

    I say to these people….”walk a mile in my shoes”….(which, incidentally, have to be boots or sturdy lace-ups to accommodate my orthotic insoles and support my crappy feet. No pretty summer sandals for me!).

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    • Yes Wendy, you certainly do understand 1st hand and I am sorry for that. No one should go through what we do.
      I can’t really blame people who just don’t get it. I do blame people who don’t try though.
      And yes, walk a mile in my shoes.
      I actually told someone who does not believe in DID to live in my head for a weekend and then decide. That usually shuts them up really fast. What is that word you use? Muppets?!

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  5. This is a great rant. I love your description of PTSD. I agree. That’s exactly what it’s like.

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  6. Good post, Heather.
    Being there as a ‘safe haven’ with my wife or whichever girl was experiencing the panic attack seemed to be the most helpful thing I could do to put an end them.

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  7. Reblogged this on Precious Things and commented:
    Can we get a HELL YEAH! over here? Seriously. I know exactly what you mean here. My doors are always locked, windows/blinds closed… all the things you described. My rapist is actually in prision, but I STILL BELIEVE there is this guy outside my house watching me all the time and waiting for the right moment to get at me. I know that in REALITY, this man does not exist. But my PTSD brain sees him everyday and believes 100% that he is there. And people call it crazy. But for a little while in my life, it was true. And my PTSD brain still thinks it is. :/ I get ya.

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    • Thank you for the reblog. 🙂
      I TOTALLY get that fear of someone being outside watching. I have the exact same thing. I have actually put window coverings on every street facing window but my thought is someone will come shoot me. TOTALLY UNLIKELY but like you, my PTSD brain can’t accept the truth. Thank you for sharing this with me. It’s sad to know that you go through this as well but I am also glad to hear someone that truly gets it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I still barricade my doors if I have to spend the night at home alone and try to sleep. I mean, it is physically impossible for someone to break in without giving me a good head start… but my brain tends to give this guy some sort of magical powers that will still allow him to sneak into my house and get to me. I DO truly get it and how absolutely FRUSTRATING it is, to know one thing is true but to 100% believe another. Thank YOU for sharing your story. It makes me feel a bit more normal with my thinking. It’s ok to be sad and glad at the same time. I get that too. ❤

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      • I don’t think it is at all strange that we feel this way after the things we have been through. For many lucky other people, these things just “don’t happen” or only happen to others. When you have had these things actually happen to you? Your world is not the same. I hope you will try to be patient with yourself and understanding for that part of you that just can’t feel safe. In return I will try to let myself off the hook a bit too. ❤

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      • It’s a deal 😉

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  8. I have to say, that had pts not of chosen me I would have died by the hands of others. For that, I am grateful. Also, I do not know what a life looks like without pts. I feel pretty resentful about that. Especially when I am coerced into making financial or psychological decisions for my well being. I feel extremely resentful.

    Thank you for writing what you couldn’t say earlier. It was appreciated.

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  9. StacyAnn Stone

    Thank you

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  10. I was so glad to read this on pintrest. I have felt like this for so long and didn’t know why. I’m looking forward to learning and healing! Thank you!

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    • I’m glad that you found me too. I removed your other comment because you said you meant it to be private but thank you for the link and the info. They are greatly appreciated! I hope you’ll come back again. 🙂

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