A Broken Doll, Oasis, PTSD & Me.
What happens when you think of the term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD for what its better know as)?
Does the images of soldiers returning from war, a shell of the human being they once was enter your mind? Or maybe you’re not too entirely sure of what the hell I’m even going on about?
Here’s good old Wikipedia’s definition of PTSD:
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and increased arousal.
And why do I care so much about PTSD? I suffer from it and have been since I was a little girl.
I won’t go into too much detail but around the ages of 8/9, I went through a distressing experience that had left deep wounds that are now turning into scars. It’s only recently that I’ve been diagnosed, hell; it’s only recently that I’ve started to speak up.
Growing up, I had no idea what PTSD was. All I knew was what I was feeling inside; a desperate need to hide myself away from the world, like my body wasn’t even my own, feeling so detached from my family and friends that I felt like an alien and like a broken doll that had been tainted so badly that she could never be worthy.
I suffered from severe panic attacks triggered by flashbacks that would last for hours and leave me in such a state that I would often forget my surroundings, I developed a perfectionist complex that made me want to be perfect at everything I did to hide the fact that my self-esteem was so low. Between the ages of 14–18 I would slip into bouts of depression, sometimes so crippling that for my last month of college, I refused to get out of bed because I couldn’t face the day ahead and yeah, if I’m totally honest, I’ve even wrote 3 suicide notes in my lifetime.
There was a point last year, when I knew that feeling this way just wasn’t healthy. I was on a self-destructive path, and I had to seek help. So I spoke up. I spoke to my mum first, well when I say spoke, I really mean broke down in front of her. Then I spoke to my GP, who I must say has been so patient and efficient with dealing with me. She diagnosed me & referred me onto receive therapy sessions with a local therapist where I have been receiving therapy since October last year.
Whilst therapy has been a massive step in the right direction for me, it hasn’t come without its struggles. Do I still have days where just taking a shower and brushing my teeth is all I can manage? Yep. Do I still sometimes feel like the broken tainted doll? Of course. But I feel like I understand not only my condition more, but myself more too. For example, I understand what triggers me now. When I was younger, I couldn’t explain why whenever an Oasis song came on, I would freeze and become really upset. This is one of my triggers, and through knowing that now, just a couple of weeks ago when me and a friend of mine went to a pub and the first notes of Wonderwall started to float around the air, I excused myself to go to the bathroom where I practised one of my breathing exercises for when I feel overwhelmed.
I do hope that over time and with hard work that living with my PTSD will be more and more manageable. That it’s possible to have a mental health disorder and still live to your full potential. But to do so, it’s important that we raise awareness and educate about mental health so others don’t neglect their own mental wellbeing. It’s important to note that statistics tells us that 1 in 4 people in the UK are diagnosed mental health issues, and that is rising every day, with many not being able to recognise it. I fully encourage you all to take advantage of Mental Health Awareness week, read some of the stories that others have shared such as:
Sia Lee’s “Anger Management, Almond Milk & The Pursuit of Happiness” — https://medium.com/@TheSiaLee/anger-management-almond-milk-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness-239cb8f5faa2#.os2ac7mqp
Jesse Bernard’s “As A Young Black Man, Rap Helped Me Deal With My Depression When I Was Afraid To Seek Help” — http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/blog/how-hip-hop-can-help-young-black-men-dealing-with-depression?utm_source=noiseytwitteruk
SBTV’s “The Lowdown — Music & Mental Health with Big Narstie, Jaykae, Row D, SH?M, Cally & Absorb” — http://www.sbtv.co.uk/read/features/the-lowdown-mental-health/
Which are just a few of the many great articles out there.
Also if you want get a better understanding of all the different types of mental health disorders and how the effect different people, and want to seek help without judgement, check out: http://www.mind.org.uk/.
Thanks for taking the time to read! I don’t usually write so it’s very much appreciated.
Love, light & blessings,