I've been challenged before and recently by the statement full of attitude; “well what is –YOUR- PTSD about anyway? Yours can’t possibly be as BAD as mine.” I’m never sure if this is more about the fact that I’m a woman, or more about the other person not having faced their own demons. I can’t stand in judgment on this one. Yet –I- feel very judged when it happens to me. One, it immediately triggers my issues, it also puts me in a position of feeling pressured to overshare about something extremely personal. Sharing under that type of pressure would demean MY experience and set off the ensuing PTSD caused by the experience. Plus it would be absolutely inappropriate!
Often it causes me to be quite oppositional in my attitude regarding this question. My much more healthy response now is to say “I am under no obligation to share something so personal with you and I CHOOSE not to do so, do not ask me again.” I then turn and walk away.
Our individual paths of dealing with PTSD is not a contest.
My truths – I am only responsible for MY experience, MY path, MY journey, MY words. I understand my words can trigger others’ PTSD and try to be sensitive to this. I also try to be as outrightly honest about my struggles, my journey no matter what it holds. MY truth is not the same as anyone else’s truth when it comes to PTSD.
I’ve thought a lot about this in the past week. How am I honoring MY experience?
Honor. According to the Webster’s Dictionary it means:
“verb: to show a courteous regard for.”
Do I show a courteous regard for my experience with PTSD? I know I used to hold a deep hatred of it, of the experience. Yet now do I feel differently? I know I will never hold it in high esteem, or embrace it lovingly. H**l no! But in my ongoing experience in these past years of living in the aftermath I am trying to have a courteous regard for mine.
It’s kind of a conundrum I think. I don’t’ want to overthink it but I do have to think about this idea of honoring –MY- experience wih PTSD. It’s a journey more than it is a term or a label to me. It’s personal!
It was a journey which began before I acknowledged it as PTSD. Once I did? Perhaps this moment honored it. This moment took away the power it secretly held over me and by giving it this recognition I finally had the bravery it took to actually get assistance to heal. My longterm endgame is a healing path of continuous growth.
I see the term “PTSD” thrown around a lot in the media, online media, posts, jokes. Somedays I read these things and think that it demeans others like myself who deal with PTSD every day. It makes me ashamed of my struggle. Each day I get out of bed and I have to face it again, that is my reality. I sit up and know it’s a new day, this day can be different than the one before. It can be different or it can be the same. But what I know now is I don’t have to do this alone, I don’t have to allow –MY- experience with PTSD to hold me back like it has for a lot of years.
Mostly what reading those demeaning words, or hearing them does do is to cause me to want to be even more brave in my sharing and continue to journal about my innermost struggles, the unmentionable, and to hold back as little as possible. If I can do this maybe it will give someone else the knowledge that THEY are not alone in this. Sometimes the help I’ve gotten has come from the most unexpected places merely because I was unafraid to share what I thought I couldn’t share.
To be brave in sharing my experience with my journey is my wish. Every day I wish to be the brave person who survived the most unmentionable of things. To be the brave one who survived and through being brave? I experienced growth.
Perhaps, possibly… by being brave in sharing my journey is how I honor this difficult thing called PTSD. By honoring the PTSD I fully take away the power it held and holds over me.
I am determined to take away PTSD’s power.