In the last blog post, Mental Health Assessment: A tale of strength, I discussed how monumentally difficult it was to put myself through all those mentally- draining assessments. I also wrote how I am very happy that I put myself through it. I was giving the demons inside my head a name. Identifying them was necessary if I was to win the war that has raged on for what seems like an eternity.
With the diagnostic paperwork in hand, I recall getting into my car, unfolding the lengthy report and attempting to turn the black print on the pages into something my mind could comprehend. Hearing that I have PTSD was so much more impactful than I thought it would be. I was so disassociated by the time I landed in my car that I just sat there, a thousand questions flying through my head. What does this mean for me and my future? When will I be able to go back to work? Can I even go back to work let alone where I have worked for the last eighteen years? The question that concerned me more than any other was: how will those I am closest to feel about the official diagnosis?
Need professional help from a trauma counsellor? Find it here
Eventually, I settled back into reality enough to drive myself home; from there, I went straight to bed. I could handle the world no more. Upon awaking, I remember just repeating the words “I have PTSD” over and over in my head.
I honestly thought that confirmation would have made things easier, I would now qualify for WCB and I could finally start to head down the road to mental wellness. But I didn’t feel better. In fact, I hunkered down into the safety of my own home for weeks, going out only if absolutely necessary.
Depression blanketed me with a weight that I had never felt before, so heavy that I was void of feeling, love, joy or hate; everything just stopped.
The only thing that didn’t change was the logical side of my mind. It took a few days off but eventually reported for duty and decided that no matter what happened, how bad things got, I would persevere and win my life back. Writing has been key to carrying on.
Moral of the story? Take the time you need to grieve, then do whatever it takes to kick your mental illness’s ass. It will always feel like you are doing it on your own, but you’re not. We are here for you.
if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service, and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!
If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada