When people think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) people typically start thinking about a soldier. That's because soldiers are people who have been in war and have seen horrifying things. When I was told I had PTSD I don't really know how to feel. I've never been in a war, never shot a gun at someone, let alone hold a gun, or been fearful of my life if in enemy territory. So how can I possibly have PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatic event, according to Mayo Clinic. Meaning that anyone who's gone through any traumatic event can end up getting PTSD.
Before I was diagnosed with PTSD I used to have really bad nightmares this year. They weren't really nightmares more like night terrors. I would be dreaming and a traumatic experience that happened in my life would start happening in my dream. There were times when it would be exactly as it happened in real life or slightly different but either way, it was an experience that I wanted you forgot but my subconscious would be replaying it every time I closed my eyes.
It started to get to the point where I dreaded going to sleep because I knew I would wake up feeling panic. And this happened again and again and again. It wasn't just once in a while that these night terrors would happen, it would be every single night for weeks on end. I even start keeping a nightmare journal to write down the bad dreams I was having to see if that will help. Since I was hoping that if I wrote it down and got out of my mind then maybe it when it comes back I went to bed that night.
It Affects Your Professional Life
The nightmares I was having started affecting different aspects of my everyday life. I started feeling exhausted throughout the day due to the awful sleep I got the night before. I wouldn't even want to take a nap to try to get my energy up since I didn't want to come face-to-face with another nightmare. Because of my lack of energy, it affected my work and since I'm a freelance writer I can decide how much work I can take on each month or week.
During this point in my life, I found it hard to do any work. Clients that I work with before the PTSD episode occurred started being hard for me to handle- even though I did similar work for them before. I even had a job a whole new client that I just picked up the previous month, but because of my mental health, it was keeping me from being able to focus and produce the quality work they are looking for.
It Can Ruin Your Personal Life
In addition to it affecting your work life, it can also ruin your personal life. When my PTSD was bad I did nothing but watch anime on the sofa all day. It would be days before I showered. I stopped exercising and eating right. All I wanted to do was lay in bed under my covers to avoid everything. I didn’t even want to talk to my partner. It was a weird feeling I was having since I didn’t know it was PTSD affecting me so it was hard for me to put it into words.
Getting The Right Help
Once I was told I had PTSD I didn’t believe it. All you see on commercials about PTSD are about veterans and soldiers who have fought in a war and here I was, a freelance writer, who gets to spend all day at home with her pets. But we all face things that we don’t like to talk about. We can also experience pain and trauma that you want to lock up and throw away the key so it never crosses your mind again.
But once I was able to be diagnosed with PTSD I was able to talk to a professional to get me the help to get me back on track. Now, I take medication for my PTSD and since I’ve started I’ve felt better than ever. I’m able to enjoy everyday things and have the energy to complete my freelancing work (which I enjoy doing). I’m able to feel happy and be myself again. And most importantly, I am able to sleep through the night without having any nightmares.
So don’t be afraid to seek help for a mental illness, you will be happy you did once you have a team who cares about you and will help get you back on track.