If you happen to be in touch with your mental illness(s), you know when a storm is brewing. A mental health storm, at least from my experience, has a certain familiarity to them. You just know when the fog rolls in that it may decide to hold you captive.
In my case, I can tell you exactly when my PTSD has acquired enough strength to highjack my wellness. While it may be true that I am often oblivious to the cause, even still, I attribute its source to a forgotten nightmare. Why? Because its symptoms often set in after I wake.
It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode.
All I do know is that when the fog rolls in, its near impossible to mount a defence. This of course, isn’t every time but when it’s especially thick, often, my only option is to hunker down and wait it out.
Not surprisingly, my major PTSD episodes start out with a consistent feeling. A feeling of dread that lingers off in the distance when I first wake. I find it very similar to when I was staring face to face with a traumatic incident; leading me to believe that something dreadful followed me back into this reality.
It is for this reason that I feel forgotten nightmares are responsible. I have reached this conclusion because more often than not, it comes for me in my slumber.
It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode; as the fog rolls in, no amount of mindfulness can fight it off. Similarly, I find any other form of therapy ineffective.
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Needless to say, trying to navigate my way through this heavy brain fog is difficult at best and completely impossible at worst. Ironically, it’s the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder themselves that are to blame.
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With these symptoms, there seems to be a sequence to them. They are as follows:
- A deep sense of dread upon awakening (whether I remember the nightmare or not).
- Level 10 brain fog.
- An increase of my fight, flight or freeze response.
- Thus, turning up the dial of my startle response.
- Easily irritated or angered.
- Find everything overwhelming.
So, if you were to ask me which PTSD symptom is the most difficult, I would say, in short, all of them. However, with that said, being easily overwhelmed and the inherent startle response, is, without a doubt the ones that put me out of commission.
So, what’s the remedy?
The only thing I can offer in the way of advice if you go through something similar is to do nothing. Moreover, learn to be ok with that.
Despite what we think, we are human, not superhuman and because of that, we must learn to understand PTSD, depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions are going to win a battle every now and then; that my friend is a fact.
Ask yourself this; Can I have a day here and there to just ride the wave? I’m happy to say that it works for me and it too can work for you. In my case, It’s effective because I feel zero guilt and not an ounce of shame. I’m sick and I’m done pretending otherwise.
I truly hope that the next time the fog rolls in that you will be kind to yourself. The storm will pass and as long as you’re not running away from it every day; riding it out can be the best thing for your mental health.
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