PTSD is a relevant and high profile topic these days, and due to a fellow blogger sharing his experiences, I've decided to share my own. By no means am I attempting to equate my experience with that of a veteran of war, but PTSD is what it is, nonetheless. For my American friends, I understand that obtaining treatment for it is likely far more difficult than it is for us here in Canada.
I was diagnosed with PTSD in 1995. In my late teens I experienced physical and psychological trauma, much of which my family is unaware of, so therefore it would be inappropriate to discuss it here without first telling them. It's enough to say that it happened. Less than six months later I had an affair with a much older married man and became pregnant. I gave the child up for adoption and my father died within a four day period, and then over the next sixteen years I seemed to have bounced from one monumental screw up to another.
I put my family, particularly my mother and younger sister through my own special brand of hell: Bouts of depression, uncontrollable rage, irrational behavior, inability to sleep, self-doubt, shame, hopelessness, and more. That was my life.
I had my son in 1990, and being terrified of what I might be capable of doing to him, I was distant and guarded around him. I threw myself into my work to avoid dealing with my problems and in July, 1995 I crashed and burned. I just wanted it all to end. The pain, the anger, the fear, the confusion, the feeling that I was loosing what little was left of my mind; all of it. I then realized that I didn't want my little boy to bear the burden of his mother's suicide for the rest of his life, and chose to seek help. I went through drug therapy for a short time, but was dissatisfied with the result so, with the assistance of my doctor and much trial and error, I found something which worked for me.
I started my journey of recovery over 12 years ago, and have never looked back. I don't pretend that everything is sunshine and light. I know my triggers and recognize my warning signs, which occur less and less frequently, and have learned to cope with them appropriately and successfully. Everyone is different and our circumstances are just as varied, but the disorder is the same and each of us needs to seek out an effective way to treat it. PTSD isn't just a veterans issue, it can effect anyone. If you suspect that you may have it, don't ever be ashamed or deny it, and please seek help as it will never go away on it's own.