Recently I found myself experiencing some difficulties I haven’t experienced for quite some time. In December there was a roadside shooting just outside of a small town not too far away. Three people died and one survived the shooting. That news, combined with the expectation to attend an event that had me feeling threatened and vulnerable, brought back and intensified some of the things I have struggled with while living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The later half of December was difficult for me. My quality of sleep was seriously compromised. I had a hard time falling asleep. As I would drift off, violent images would flash in my mind and I would twitch and flail myself awake. Once I had finally fallen into a deep sleep, I would wrestle with nightmares most of the night. Some nights it seemed like not sleeping would be a better option than spending the night trapped in my mind. As the day of the event I was to attend grew closer, my nightmares got worse and after nearly two weeks of nightmares I felt emotionally exhausted. I hoped once the dreaded event was over I would stop having them.
The day of the event had arrived. It was early in the day that I noticed some of the early symptoms I had experienced with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder creeping in. I was putting off getting ready for the event. I recognized that we would be late but couldn’t seem to make myself hurry. I couldn’t force myself to hurry. Showering was laborious. It almost physically hurt to get ready. I had a little cry, brushed myself off and headed out the door. Everything turned out okay in the end however it did take a whole week after for the nightmares to subside .
It was frustrating for me to experience these symptoms again. I do struggle with nightmares but not as frequently and intensely as I did for those three weeks. I haven’t experienced the severe struggle to get myself out of the house for quite sometime, at least not that intensely. Not since I graduated High School has it been such a struggle. There were days when I was in high school that I couldn’t win. Some days I would push through, get ready and get to school late. Other days I would end up curled up in a ball crying on the floor as I attempted to put mascara on. It would be so severe that it would become physically impossible for me to get ready. It would actually hurt. Those days I would stay home, or go to school in the afternoon if I felt up to it. It was those days that I felt like the PTSD had won.
It almost seems silly considering how hard it was on me to even bother pushing myself to go to the event that I was dreading. But I did it for the same reason I would do it when I was in school. Really I push through it just to prove to myself I can. That way when I have another day like that, I know I can do it. And on the odd day when I lose, I tell myself it won’t win next time.