I am no doctor or a therapist to comment on PTSD, but I want to share my own experience. I never even heard this term until a few years ago when I myself went through a trauma and suffered PTSD. It may not be a big trauma for the people around me, but it was definitely was a huge one for me.
When we hear the word trauma, we often imagine events like sudden death of a loved one, a car or a plane crash or something huge. But can we really narrow down the definition of trauma ? In my opinion we can not. Each individual is differently wired and so the effects of any traumatic event can be different for each one.
I suffered a trauma a few years ago and it took almost me an entire year to get back to a comparatively normal life. Its been almost two years now. I feel like those memories are stored in a very different part of brain. I am still healing, like my therapist says – “Healing is not linear”. Those memories often set me off on a scary loop and shivers crawl up my spine at the mere thought of those memories. Sometimes it feels like it was a bad dream and I woke up. I get scared that I will see that dream again and I may not be able to wake up again.
My trauma was not just another heart break, it was terrifying. Each second was a torture. I could not breathe, I could not speak or sleep. I went into hypervigilance. I lived alone in a one bedroom apartment. I used to wake up screaming in the middle of the night. The lights in my house were always on. I was scared of each and every person around me. Whenever I saw two or more than two people talking and laughing, I thought they were plotting against me. I thought I won’t be normal ever again. I was unable to bear any noise around me.
I have no idea how did I work. I remember I was working on two big assignments and I pulled them through with flying colors in spite of these episodes. I gradually healed by the end of the year, there were no episodes by then.
I started experiencing anxiety and flashbacks followed by difficulty in breathing , the following year around the same time. I was regular on medicines and I had moved on. But I could not focus. I felt like I was falling apart and everything was happening again as a result of which I put myself in danger again in July. These were ‘Anniversary Reactions’ which means that on or around the anniversary of a traumatic event, the survivor may experience an increase in distressing memories of the event. I cried for help, but I had no one because all of them chose to keep away from me because of my illness. My only support was my therapist who lives in India. Long distance therapy definitely helps, but my therapist was a friend to me as well.
It is a new year and I am a completely different person now. It is the month of February and I am hoping I will not have anniversary reactions this year because that person now does not exist for me and I out of that toxic environment.
So next time, if you see someone suffering or withdrawing from normal day to day activities, please do not leave them to rot. Because you might not be responsible for their condition, but you definitely fail as a human being and are a part of their deterioration. And no matter how much time you spend planting trees or do social work, it does no good when you choose not to help or hold hands of the people falling around you.
And for those who are suffering even a slightest bit of it, I assure that you will pass through it even if you are alone. Please seek professional help or find your person following “One for each” technique. Trust me, it really helps. I am always available for anyone in need, you can contact me.