Day 17 – Suffering From PTSD
Day 17 – Suffering From PTSD
I suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It’s not something I am aware of most of the time. Today my life is, for the most part, trigger free. On top of that, I have memory lapses. Huge chunks of my childhood, teen years, my 20’s, are all a black hole in my memory. I have little snippets of memory here and there, but for the most part all my other memories are hiding in the dark recesses of my brain.
I never knew I suffered from this disorder until I learned about it in treatment. Up until that time I thought only those who suffered traumatic events in the military, or severe physical or sexual assault, suffered from PTSD. As it turns out, PTSD can come from many different traumas, small and large.
I bring this up because today my PTSD was triggered. These past few days in fact. With all the changes happening at work recently I have been stressed, stubborn, and irrational. Yesterday my manager came to me, and told me that I was no longer allowed to have my 3-drawer storage unit. This unit was where I kept my supplies like tape, baggies, trash bags, etc. It was something I felt made me more productive.
To a normal person, this scenario would be no big deal. Or, at the very least, a slight road bump in their everyday life. But to me, this was the end of the fucking world. I immediately went on the defensive. I told her I HAD to have that unit, I use it every day, and I wasn’t backing down. I got an attitude. And, I got angry with her. I got so angry, I didn’t want to talk to her anymore.
Today at work I tried to ask this same manager a simple question about one of the changes they are making. I felt like I was asking, not telling, but she took it as me telling. That’s when she went on the defensive and started raising her voice. I immediately went into defensive mode, and felt like she was verbally attacking me. This went on for about a minute, and then she pulled my supervisor and I into the office.
I won’t go into all the details, but it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t talk to my manager for the rest of the day, except when she asked me a question.
I asked myself why I was reacting this strongly. Why I was feeling okay about the situation yesterday when I was away from work. And then it hit me. PTSD. I have a problem with authority figures, especially women in authority. When I feel I am being verbally attacked, I go on the defensive and get angry. When I get ready to go on long trips that are outside my city, I get panic attacks. When I think about losing my sister, I have a panic attack, or bawl uncontrollably.
For me, these are all side-effects of traumas that occurred in my past, and result in PTSD. This disorder is invisible. Many times, I will go through a traumatic event that reminds me sub-consciously of a past event, get angry (yesterday), and when the crisis is past, I forget about it. It is only when I consciously think about my past that I can recall memories, and sometimes those are fuzzy at best.
The full extent of my stress from yesterday and today’s events didn’t hit me until tonight. I was taking a shower, trying to recall events from my past that culminated in me reacting the way I did, and it hit me. Memories that I had repressed came flooding back. The feelings I experienced back then. I finally broke down crying because of the weight of it all. Instead of shoving aside the feelings and memories, I brought them to the surface, hoping that that is a step in the healing direction.
I won’t go in-depth here on the symptoms of PTSD, or any other information, because this disorder is deep. There are myriad ways that it manifests itself. There is depth to the causation, symptoms, degree of severity, and is linked to alcohol and drug abuse. Too much information for a daily post.
What I am trying to accomplish today is, put the word out there for others who suffer from this disorder, and tell you that you are not alone. To raise awareness of how this disorder manifests itself for those who may not know they suffer too. And, as a form of therapy for myself. Getting this out of my head not only makes it real, but also gives my brain less of a chance to make me forget about it.
Originally published January 23, 2017 – medium.com