I come to you all with a debate in my head. If I happen to break my leg, people would see that and help out. They would open doors for me. Carry any books I have. The list goes on and on. But for a person with any mental illness, it’s different. You’re not allowed to tell people about your handicap. And when you do, it’s considered inappropriate…
Right now, I’m striving and debating with myself on whether or not to tell you what sets off my PTSD. The reason is PTSD triggers are very personal. And when your enemies find out about it, they can use it against you. I can tell you that the trauma that happened to me as a child will always be kept a secret. That’s only between me and my counselor. I’m making myself vulnerable right now to all of you for a reason. The reason I write is I’m pouring myself onto a piece of paper. I’m letting it all out. All of my pain. All of my suffering. All of my imperfections. I write very dark subject matter because it helps to verify my pain and the world I live in. And it’s through pouring my blood out to help you understand that you’re not alone. You are suffering, but so are others. That’s part of how this world works.
I don’t say all of these things to throw a pity-party. Don’t get me wrong. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. Did you know that the type of counseling I have went through was developed in the late 1980’s? So what in the world did they do before then? To tell you the truth, I have no idea. Mental illness is such an underdeveloped area of expertise. But I can tell you it wasn’t as good as the helped that I received. At the same time, I’m an individual who is living in the strongest nation to ever exist — both militarily and economically. Those in third-world countries can’t say that. So please don’t throw a pity-party for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m such a lucky individual who has great family, great friends, and a great God. And I could never ask for more.
It now comes down to my deep, dark secret. The trigger that sets me off into an emotional roller-coaster is rejection — especially by close friends. This makes it an absolute nightmare in my personal relationships. One of my friends can have a bad day, and I blow up when they tell me to give them space. I can feel rejected from the smallest of things. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be obvious. If I perceive that you’re rejecting me, I blow up. I’m instantly flooded with bad emotions. And these emotions are exactly the same as if I’m reliving my childhood trauma all over again. Shame, guilt, regret, anger, sadness — all at once. Mental illness is not anything to be ashamed about. I’m not ashamed to say there was one point where I stood on top of a five-story parking structure and contemplated suicide. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had deep, close friends stab me in the back. This is who I am. And simply put, I’m not ashamed.
I end this blog with a good story. My PTSD will in-fact haunt me for the rest of my earthly life. It has certainly made it harder to go through each day. But at the end of it all, I will in-fact receive healing. One of my favorite songs is by Brandon Heath. In his song, In the Dust, he has a line that says, “Any shadows down below won’t haunt me anymore.” I will be free. I will be healed. And if you drop your religious pride and receive the only way of salvation that God has ever given us — accepting Jesus Christ into your life, then you will too.