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

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Let’s Talk about Mental Illness Like we Talk about Migraines

Let’s imagine for a moment that I posted a Facebook status saying
“I really hope this migraine goes away soon. It’s impossible to study for finals right now.”

Most people wouldn’t bat an eye at that. Having migraines, unfortunately, is super common. I would get sympathy and maybe even some advice.

Now, let’s imagine I posted this status on Facebook:
“I really hope this PTSD episode goes away soon. It’s impossible to study for finals right now.”

I feel like even in this day and age, even with so many people fighting mental illness stigma, it would still be a little strange and out of place if I posted the second status right now.  Continue reading Let’s Talk about Mental Illness Like we Talk about Migraines

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

The Little Victories

Here’s an ode to some of the little daily victories this year in my battle against almost-mental illness. I don’t celebrate these accomplishments nearly as much as I should.

  • Swing dancing last Saturday at the house where I got sexually assaulted last November. It was awkward being there, but I did just fine.
  • Getting a little triggered a few times while at said dance and getting it under control in a matter of minutes despite being tipsy at the time. Usually alcohol makes triggers hard to handle
  • My PTSD symptoms flared up during a night of drinking. Despite being actually drunk, I was able to slowly talk myself down.
  • Last fall my PTSD symptoms twice went through month-long phases of them being out of control. Last month I prevented it from happening again. (I guess that doesn’t count as a “small” victory. It’s a big deal. But I’m going to leave it here anyway)
  • A while ago I made a goal to stop thinking about being sexually assaulted unless it’ll actually help me heal. I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to that.
  • My friend recently touched me on the side of the ribs, forgetting momentarily that getting touched there is my biggest trigger. I looked down at her hand and smiled. I felt nothing — no fear whatsoever.
  • I don’t get triggered as often as I used to and when I do get triggered, I have a lot of coping mechanisms at my disposal.
  • I’ve written a lot of posts I’m proud of in this blog!

Thanks for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.

I’m Me Again

Around a month ago, I made a pretty negative post about how I was struggling with my mental health. Since then, I’d been trying to take good care of myself. I relaxed a lot on weekends, meditated, made sure I got enough sleep and did my best to prevent triggers by telling my classmates what they were before they practiced on me (I’m in dental school). I haven’t needed to worry about getting triggered in clinic for almost a month now. And people are so nice and understanding about it when I tell them!

It took a few weeks for my mental health to bounce back, but now I can say I’m truly “me” again. For no good reason, I woke up today in a good mood — bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and excited to learn more about my profession. I didn’t realize how stressed I was until now. It wasn’t super bad, but still a noticeable difference. It feels good to be excited to go to school again, and to feel at the very least content for most of the day. Now I just need to work to hold onto this!