It’s been five months since I’ve had what’d I’d call a disruptive “PTSD” episode. Five months since an episode has thrown me off for more than a few seconds. I don’t understand. What’s going on!?!? This is blowing my mind! I literally never thought this would happen. I never dared hope that I’d arrive at a place where I could be mostly free from the shackles of almost-mental illness.
What’s weirding me out the most is that I don’t know why this is happening. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary. So maybe this is just a combination of luck and a dash of my hard work paying off. Whatever the case, I’m not complaining. These days I have to do next to nothing to keep my symptoms at bay. When I have a tiny episode, such as a momentary flashback, I just brush it off and go on with my merry day. I wish I could tell you how I’ve managed to do this, but I have no flippin idea.
I do still experience symptoms — don’t get me wrong. But they’re practically negligible. I still get the occasional flashback, intrusive thought, hypervigilance a few times per week, but it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to. Like I said before, these episodes tend to last just a moment. If anything, I tend to feel better after the episodes, because I have a moment when I want to thrust my fist in the air and say “Take that, PTSD!” (I literally did that once. Luckily no one was around to witness it).
As an example of how I’m handling triggers these days, I’ll offer the story of something that happened just yesterday. In school, we were practicing wheelchair transfers on each other. One of the techniques we learned involved one person grasping a person’s legs just above the knees while the other person lifts by wrapping their arms around the patient — under the patient’s armpits and across their chest. I was a bit nervous leading up to this, but I decided to let my classmates try it on my anyway. It seriously didn’t bother me a bit. My classmate literally had their wrists touching my boobs and I didn’t react. I wasn’t even trying hard to be calm. A year ago that would’ve made me extremely anxious and probably have an episode… assuming I let them try it on me at all.
It’s just incredible to have this load largely off my shoulders. I never thought I’d know what it’s like to be almost “normal” again. I got so used to the intense stress that it causes, that it felt normal. It felt normal to be somewhat on edge most of the time either from a recent episode or anticipating the next one.
However, I’m trying not to be too optimistic about this. You’ve noticed by now that the title of this post isn’t “My PTSD is cured!” Rather, it’s “An Unexpected Vacation from PTSD.” Is it possible that I’ll never have another episode in my entire life? Sure. Is that likely? Hell no. So I’m telling myself that I’m getting a nice break. That way, I’ll appreciate this even more and not be crushed if/when my PTSD decides to visit again. Until we meet again, I’ll sure enjoy the break. I really needed it.
Thanks for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.