You, Me, And PTSD, its hard on love

So, you recognized and have finally acknowledged that there’s something going on inside, something that requires you to look deep within yourself.
One of the principal drivers for your decision to seek out answers is the constant disruption your unacknowledged feelings and behaviours are causing in your life. Your reactivity and frequent withdrawal from your every day is a source of continuous pain for not only you but also your partner, your rock that bears the brunt of your outbursts and your fluctuating moods.
One day, you decide that enough is enough. Someday your love is going to walk. This prospect makes your desire to stop hurting the one you love far greater than your fear to confront and deal with your aliments.
Sound familiar? This not so pleasant scenario I know all too well and sadly so does my partner. I would give anything not to have been afflicted with the unbearable pain of PTSD but, I am faced with it almost daily. My partner deserves more from me, the better version I can be. She is one of my main motivators for embarking on my journey to wellness and her support and love mean so much to me. Her kind loving nature has been available to me each and every time I fall.

 Connecting with a loved one with PTSD

She’s worth the pain and strife that this journey produces and it’s because of her love that I want to be present for her,  alleviate her own burdens and reciprocate that love and kindness that makes me stronger. My dream is to one day enjoy our lives together and dammit I am going to achieve just that! I can never sufficiently articulate my gratitude for all that she has done. Thanks, beautiful! It’s difficult not to beat myself up when I know that my turmoil is spilling over into the one who props me up the most.

Help for spouses, friends and other supporters of someone who has PTSD

The nightmares often keep me awake at night and the exhaustion only magnifies the symptoms which impact our relationship. She’s a beautiful lady, a very loving soul. So as tough as it may be to confront my PTSD demon, it’s made so much easier knowing that our love is worth saving. When I  walk down the road of life I want to see her next to me, always. This is enough for me to keep fighting the good fight and utilize all the help and resources I can get my hands on, I want to ensure that my wellness journey and our lives together experience the longevity they both deserve.

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Mental Illness Storm Of The Century

In the past week, a storm of unprecedented dark blew into town, one so intense it threatened to untangle all the therapeutic work that I have worked so hard to establish. Perhaps what is most frightening is I haven’t a clue as to its origins and because I was caught off guard, I was hit by all its might.

Being ill-equipped to handle its ferocity made the pain it inflicted ten times worse than normal. Everything I tried to do to minimize its effects was in vain, and its tragic consequence was the damage it left in its wake. 
I don’t recall ever feeling a depressive episode to the degree in which I have the last few days, its day number three and even as I write this; I am feeling waves of sadness wash over me from the inside. When I am left in this state I secretly fear that this is the one, the episode where my persistent depressive disorder takes hold of me, suppresses all my happy and like a dictator, it forces me to do whatever it is it wants me to do.
This episode was different somehow, I can’t put my finger on why all I do know is that the behaviours that resulted from the intensity of the depressive symptoms were very uncharacteristic for me. I had gotten it in my head that I was going to travel some distance to visit a friend that I seldom see. I know, what’s so out of the norm for that? Well, I hate driving to places where I am unfamiliar, my anxiety hates that particular form of unpredictability and conjures up its own mental GPS map, one that sees me getting lost and stranded by myself.
What made this behaviour new for me was that it was spontaneous and without explanation. I just found myself turning onto the highway that led me in my friend’s direction. I drove for an hour then in the blink of an eye I changed my mind and headed for home. What made me decide to act so impulsively? I have never been to my friends for a visit much less to the area in which he lives. 
Perhaps it was because I was so despondent, so racketed with sadness that I was looking for a way to rid myself of its heavy burden. I also spent the day ignoring the buzzing notifications of my cell phone which I admit is a very not like me thing to do. I didn’t care and hated everything around me.
These days were the ones I should have spent at home.

Although this depressive episode was among the most intense I had ever experienced, I choose to see it much like weather patterns in the real world. Every now and then we are walloped with one hell of a storm, one that is rarely seen but causes unprecedented damage. But like any other storm, they pass and so too will this unrepresented sad. Knowing this as a fact I simply hunker down and wait for it to pass. I am always aware of how lucky I am, I have a great support network and so much to be grateful for. It is in the hardest of mental moments where I run through my inventory of all the things I am grateful for. This does two things for me, It boots my moods by remembering that I have so many great people in my life who genuinely love and show concern for me, and it also distracts my mind from all the massively unpleasant thoughts and feelings. I find this calms the storms to the degree where I am adequately able to weather its effects. 

So if you, like me, end up facing the mental storm of the century, remember as the weather around you, it too shall pass. Just hang on and be mindful of the fact that we all have a reason to keep carrying on.

Learn about Major Depressive Disorder here: WebMD

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Are You Friends With Your Enemy?

To nail down when the scourge of mental illness first sought me out as its prey is a near-impossible task.

Nonetheless, I have devoted a good amount of time and mental energy trying to discern an approximate time in my life where I first met this beast.

It seems clear that when I dig into my past that my dance with this devil started in childhood. It is difficult to determine my exact age but I do know that it was in late childhood. I recall it being my later childhood years because that’s when I had my first experience with therapy. When I think back on it, I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for the therapist who helps me work through my troubles.

The challenges I encountered back in those days was centred around anger issues and outbursts. I was a very angry child, was it really anger at the centre of it all? I didn’t know it then, but I would later on in life come to realize it was most likely sadness. I have always, in the deepest part of my being been attached to an inexplicable heavy feeling of despair. Who is this friend who invited themselves to accompany me along my life’s path?

Being young at the time I was not aware of what it was that was plaguing me, but over time and as I got older I came to learn that this “friend” had a name. Its name was Depression and Depression would be my buddy for life. Oddly enough, my depressive disorder was the last of my three illnesses to reveal itself despite the fact that it had a lifelong say in everything I did, and every decision I had ever made.

My anxiety disorder reared its ugly head when I was a teen and has had the biggest influence on my internal script than even my depression. It became my constantly chatty friend; that is my ever negative, scared of everything kind of friend whose toxic negatively is communicated through me like a spirit from the afterlife. Like my friend Depression, I would come to learn the name of my tag-along pal. The name you ask? Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

The day I learned the names of these so-called “friends” was like learning that those “great buddies” who I thought were loyal allies, were, in fact, such a negative force that all they did was convinced me to do what they wanted and made me feel like shit in the process.

Why do I refer to them as my friends? Well, I use this analogy to describe the period when I was oblivious to what my mental illnesses were; their voices and influences on me were just a part of me and my life. I was not able to recognize that their influence on me wasn’t normal, and they actually held power over me. Like great friends, I felt that they were an essential part of me.

When I was diagnosed with my mental illnesses I came to understand that they were not an integral part of me at all. In other words, through professional help, I was able to discover their true colours, their true intentions.

Like losing who I thought we’re good friends, it was difficult to discover this new revelation. But it ended up being for the best, not cool at first but eventually, I accepted that I was ill and now that I am on my way to wellness, I feel liberated and free to rediscover me, the real me.

So, are you friends with your enemy? If you are having continual difficulties in many areas of your life, are always negative, find yourself in conflict with others frequently or find it hard to navigate through the world and everyday life; the voice in your head may actually be your mental illness enemy and not an essential part of what makes you, you. Just like the friends you thought you knew.

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