Living With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Priscilla's Story
What is the name of your condition?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
At what age were you diagnosed, and how did you handle getting the news?
I was diagnosed with PTSD five years ago. Truthfully, I was grateful to know what was wrong with me because I spent most of life struggling with severe symptoms. It was difficult because my family really didn’t believe in psychiatry. Finding out was a blessing.
Tell us a bit about your condition and how it has affected your life.
Everyday comes with a challenge. There could be a trigger, a sleepless night or three, but it affects everything right down to the most basic things like how I shower, the way I sleep, my diet. Sometimes the anxiety is so bad that I wake up and go straight to the bathroom to puke. I’m sitting there thinking I just woke up, what could possibly be triggering me and my anxiety? Shopping can be difficult, but relationships have been the hardest for me. I am talking all around, familial, romantic and platonic.
How has living with your illness made you a stronger person?
I do feel that learning to cope with PTSD has made me a stronger person. I am already an empath, but I feel that it makes me understand others with this illness at a much deeper level because I live it. There are days where my brain wins. It happens, but being able to recognize those weaknesses just makes me want to try harder, and in that I find strength.
What have you learned from living with your illness?
Patience. That was a virtue that was almost unheard of in my brain. I have to be patient with myself and learn that sometimes things can get hard, but it is not the end of the world. That’s one of the biggest issues that I have is catastrophizing and always thinking the worst. I have learned a great deal of patience. If things are not going my way, it’s okay. I still have my struggles, but five years ago I had zero patience.
How will the Healthy Life Planner help you manage your illness in 2021?
I need to keep track of my triggers and my bad days, so that way if there is a pattern of some sort I can remedy that. I also want to be able to use it in conjunction with my therapy and with my psychiatrist. It will make things much clearer for them as far as medication and tools for therapy.
Do you have any words of advise for others going through the same thing as you?
It can and will get better. Ultimately it is an individual’s choice whether they want to get help, but I have always said (as cliché as it sounds) it’s okay not to be okay. So many of us have experienced some nightmarish events in our lives, but those moments don’t have to define us. There are tools and help out there including this wonderful planner.
Is there anything else you would like to add or say?
Don’t give up hope and don’t give in to despair, for as Lord Byron wrote, “Love finds a way where wolves fear to prey”. It is possible to live with these conditions and live a full and happy life. Will there be bumps on the road? Yes, but you can overcome, and it starts with loving yourself enough to get the care you need.
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