Friends and PTSD

Today, a friend told me she was proud of me.

Why?

Because I went into eight shops and only walked back out of three of them with the heebies.

Without her there, I would be tearing a strip off myself for the three shops I could not cope in and ignoring the other five. I would have counted today a failure despite getting up, getting dressed, realising I was very low and making a plan to leave the house and do something constructive (a charity shop trawl to find some trousers that will cover my expanding derrière), doing a full rummage in 5 of the shops, speaking to three people (thank you counts) and eating in public.

I am blessed to have a friend like her – I hope you all have someone similar in your lives too xx

PTSD

Some people are predisposed to developing PTSD.  They are more prone to taking blame for events outside their control, to neglecting their own emotional health and to brooding. In my case, my predisposition came in the form of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) itself a consequence of a myriad of unhappy coincidences.
When someone experiences psychological trauma, a process similar to grieving allows the trauma to become a memory. Except, for some people this doesn’t happen.
Perhaps there is no let up in the trauma because it repeatedly occurs at short intervals. This occurred in the trenches of WWI and happens in cases of domestic abuse or child abuse. Perhaps the person was on the periphery of a massive trauma such as the London bombings and feels they do not have the ‘right’ to feel traumatised or seek treatment.
Perhaps the person feels the trauma was their own fault or that to seek help would be ‘weak’ if others in the same situation were not similarly affected.

In these situations, instead of being put away tidily with other memories, the trauma is bundled into an egg shell in the everyday part of the brain – the part that decides how to interpret and respond to what is happening now.  The trauma can be ignored and you can carry on, you think, as normal.

Now, if you leave an egg long enough, chemicals build up and the egg goes rotten. These chemicals seep through the porous shell and affect the person’s brain as it views the world. Places with bad smells always seem worse than they otherwise would – it’s the same with events. The way someone with PTSD views the world as they travel through it is not the same as other people. As the miasma lurks in the brain, so threats seem to lurk in the world. Every unexpected sound and action seems to be the precursor of an attack. Every ambiguous comment becomes a grave insult. These new threats are put into the egg and begin to rot as well. They are proof that fear is the only correct emotion.

Eventually, as rotten eggs do, the build up of gases becomes to much to hold and the egg explodes. Imagine your brain full of rotten material and that’s all you can see.

Well friends, that’s where I am now. My own trauma was domestic abuse and my egg exploded. The only respite I enjoy is in the pulpit when the Spirit takes over and Helles the pathetic weakling is left behind for a precious hour.