For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy, plagued by a past, one that steps into their dreamland and tears through it like a tornado. Hang in – there is hope.Tweet
While there is some sort of expectation that I will remember the nightmares from my attempts at slumber, this is simply not the case. What it does is bring me back to the realm of the woken world in an intense, heavy feeling that denies me a great night’s sleep. This, of course, rejuvenates PTSD’s other life interrupting symptoms. So, hang in – there’s hope!
The eyes deceive us, for they only know what’s in front of them.
While my past traumatic events follow me around like some lost demon puppy, there is an upside. I know, you’re thinking Whaaat?! but hear me out. First off, trauma sucks, always… But I am grateful that I experience a reprieve from its torture. I am glad to have those good days and sometimes great weeks.
Now, with that said, I find this dastardly bastard has its hands wrapped around what was a long period of peace, systematically throwing me back into a terrifying yet familiar place.
Luckly, I am a keen observer and can sort of tell when my memories of rendering aid to others in my fire service days, is slowly boiling its way to the surface. I guess the best way to communicate this to the outside of the mental illness world, is like this:
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In modern times, we know when there’s a huge storm heading our way. And while it may be wreaking havoc hundreds of miles away, we still are, at least, cognitively aware that it is coming.
However, to look outside your window, you would never know. Perhaps where you are is sunny with blue skies dominating over your head. For me, I think to myself: “It’s hard to believe that there is a storm heading our way.” Visually, the eyes deceive us, for they only know what’s in front of them.
However, as the storm gets closer, we start to see subtle changes. The blue sky is colored in by an ever-darkening shade of grey and a breeze is now detectable upon our face. And as the storm draws closer, so too does our anxiety intensify – until finally the storm has descended on us.
A storm, it is a brewin’ So, hang in – there is hope.
This real-world occurrence perfectly describes the mental-health storm that slowly bears down on me at times. It does so in the following ways:
- Firstly, I start off with the most beautiful of days; I feel so good in fact, I almost feel cured.
- Then, though, as time passes and as I encounter the busy-ness of the world, I start to feel the storm blowing in, slowly but surely.
- As my anxiety rises from the impending storm, I feel my startle response become heightened to the degree where every sudden movement, every little noise, brings me out of my chair. It’s usually at this juncture that the flashbacks occur (the storm is moving in).
- Finally, nightmares, little sleep, and a very low tolerance for any sort of interaction ensues; this is the hight of the PTSD storm and the point where I seek safety, my bedroom. At this point, the only thing I can do is hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
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The takeaway? Well, I have learned a lot by having this sort of ebb and flow or up and down, if you will. As a result, I now know that, like storms in real life, mental health storms pass as well.
While this may be true, it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re encountering the full force of post-traumatic stress disorder. What I try to do is keep in mind that I have ALWAYS weathered the storm.
So, with a survival rate of a hundred percent, I can say that I am doing awesome; I am happy to be here to have written this. Similarly, if you are reading this, then you also have a hundred precent survival success rate, I’m so happy that you’re here. Hang in – there is hope.
This too shall pass.unknown.
If you are struggling, please go here: Crisis Services Canada
You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD