Fight or Flight as a Way of Life

I’ve never bothered to get it diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had insomnia for my entire life. It usually takes me an hour or more to fall asleep. It’s been such a persistent issue that I go to great lengths to manage it. My room is dark and cool at night, I wear earplugs, I dim the lights an hour before bed, I try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, I try and fail to not use technology in the hour before bed, I do some stretching and light exercise before bed… And it sorta helps.

Anyway, I learned recently that having many sleepless nights can lead to anxiety relating to sleep (no surprise there). The body can then actually go into fight or flight as the person is trying to fall asleep. That anxiety affects the quality of sleep throughout the night. The person wakes up stressed and still tired. Continue reading Fight or Flight as a Way of Life

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“You’re Always So Calm”

In less than two months, I’ll get to add a bunch of fancy letter after my name. It’s so crazy that I’m finally nearing the end of my program and will get to have my dream job soon. Since my program is winding down, I did my capstone presentation last week. I just presented on my toughest patient — what happened and what I learned.

Back when I was studying biology, we did a lot of presentations as part of the program. For all of my life I had been a bit nervous when public speaking, but having to present almost every week helped me get very comfortable with it as long as I know what I’m talking about. As a result, during the capstone presentation, I was pretty calm. I was just excited to share my story with my class.

After the presentation, I was talking with my teacher and the guest speaker from the previous class that day. They both liked my presentation, and my teacher said “You’re always so calm.”

That honestly cracked me up. Continue reading “You’re Always So Calm”

Acceptance of My PTSD Symptoms

Last night I had a mild nightmare about running into a few of the people who have sexually assaulted me. It only bothered me a little bit and didn’t seem to affect my day very much.

And that made me realize that I’m really starting to accept my PTSD symptoms. I view them much like the traffic: an unavoidable inconvenience that I have to accept every now and then.

I used to dearly miss being mentally healthy, but thankfully I haven’t had useless thoughts like that in a long time.

In the last year I don’t think I’ve had more than three difficult episodes of PTSD symptoms. It’s possible that I’m finding this easier to accept now that I’m not getting constantly harassed by symptoms. Whatever the case, I’m just glad that I seem to have accepted my new reality. Wishful thinking will do nothing but make me miserable.

Subthreshold PTSD

I like to talk about mental illness on this blog and my personal struggles with mental health. But let’s be clear: I’m not technically mentally ill. I’m in a weird gray area, because I have symptoms of PTSD but it’s not serious enough for a diagnosis. Recently I found out that there’s an unofficial name for this: subthreshold PTSD. Continue reading Subthreshold PTSD

Trying Not to Suffer in Silence

Very few people know that I suffer from symptoms of PTSD. Even fewer people hear me talk about it on a regular basis. Recently I wrote a post in which I essentially said that I want to start talking about mental illness the way I would talk about any other illness, such as a migraine. I want to be more open about what I’m going through both for the added support and to fight mental health stigma. Today I took a baby step toward that goal. Continue reading Trying Not to Suffer in Silence

Free Stuff Helped Me Snap Out of a PTSD Episode

There I was, just studying and trying to be a good student, when a PTSD episode decided to drop on my head out of nowhere. I got caught up in one of those spirals of negative thoughts related to sexual assault. It actually was much like the thought patterns I had during depression. Soon, I got so anxious that I couldn’t even concentrate on homework and I started getting flashbacks. I curled up on bed under a blanket and tried to calm down by breathing deeply… but this episode was really stubborn. I decided to go to bed early in hopes that I would wake up tomorrow feeling better. Continue reading Free Stuff Helped Me Snap Out of a PTSD Episode