PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after one or more events that result in a psychological trauma. Re-experience of the original traumas is one of the most common symptoms.
There is lots of information on this out there in cyberspace, not all of it good. My symptoms are quite awful. I have trouble falling asleep, almost every night, no matter how tired I am. I wake up with a feeling of terror in the middle of the night, not being able to dissociate from what I am feeling, from who and where I am at the instant that this is happening.
Many years this made me rush out of the house in the middle of the night, not being myself again until I had walked for at least 20 minutes. I used to have special places to “hide”. By the rocky seaside, where nobody could see me, I regained my breath and found my heart beating at a not so panicked pace.
The horrible memories coming up are not always the same. They change, and as there still are lots of stuff I really don’t remember, it is really scary. Many times I find it hard to relate to the things that happens “in my head” as I don’t remember. But I have learnt that the bad re-living of all these things have a reason. It is not something I make up. I can go on for days with only minimal sleep, 3-4 hours a night. After periods like these, I used to do drugs, desperate to get to sleep again. That’s a stupid thing to do… Turning life into even more chaos, and not being able to stop using again for maybe months. So then you have a circle going round and round with hardly any possibility to change or stop it. Now I haven’t used since October. Quite happy about that!
Another symptom is that I get really tired, worn out, maybe a bit indifferent or even moody. Being so on edge, scared and sleepless does that to people… But it is as if there is something more to it, the tiredness I mean. I am not just tired, I’m so fatigued that I think I can sleep for a week. If only I could fall asleep… I argue from time to time with my lovely therapist whether I am depressed or not. She thinks I am… I disagree:)
Sometimes I get terrified during daytime to. I haven’t identified all the triggers. It can be a smell, a noise, a very special pair of shoes, a feeling of not being able to get out. I am not afraid of flying, but whenever the plane door closes, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Neither am I afraid of dentists, but the idea of lying in his chair not being able to get out, scares me. Kind of claustrophobic…
My PTSD is not related to one particular incident, as you can see. It is because of long-term abuse, and a childhood where there are few things I can really remember. Of my biggest problems are that some of these memories have no language. I have some images that is hard to describe, I have some smells, some feelings, strongest one is that I am dying. Being so terrified and not having the language to describe these non-verbal things going on inside me is tough! Specially because I work with language and words, as a journalist!
If PTSD has a colour, for me that is red. As in blood, dark red.