The more I learn about PTSD and OCD, I realize I’ve been suffering in silence for a long, long time. I never really understood why I was always consumed with anxiety and it felt as if I could never truly be happy or content. I’ll be honest, I pretty much knew I had OCD. I’m very particular about absolutely everything I do and everything has to be done a certain way. However, it has been that way as long as I remember. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t so particular. My Doctor said, I probably picked up the obsessive traits because it was something I could control, in my completely uncontrolled environment.
The more I learned about PTSD the more I realized that, I absolutely had the fight or flight mentality. Everything I had ever been through, each event more traumatic than the next; absolutely was like war. During my extensive research and therapy, I stumbled upon this great read from an amazing site called “Heal my PTSD”; with Michelle Rosenthal. It basically lists the following top 10 things you should know when trying to understand someone with PTSD.
We are NOT our true selves
We see danger, even in moments that it does not exist.
Our true selves retreat and our coping self emerges.
We have different values, priorities and we can seem unpredictable.
It’s called coping, not denial
We may not admit it, but we know something is wrong.
It takes a tremendous effort to live with PTSD.
Sometimes just getting up and continuing our daily routine is our biggest step toward recovery.
Your presence does matter
During our post traumatic state, it matters to have people who stand with Us.
Even though we isolate ourselves, don’t respond, lash out and we are not ourselves; we love that you are still there no matter what.
We cannot be logical
During survival mode the most primitive, reptilian part of the brain takes over while the most advanced human, analytical, decision-making part of the brain shuts down.
Out perspective is driven by fear, we don’t always think straight, nor do we accept advice from those who do.
Knowledge is power
The more educated you are, the less strange PTSD will seem.
Try to understand the impact of a triggering event, psychic reactions to trauma, warning signs and symptoms.
Allow yourself to positively and authentically support the recovery process.
PTSD hijacks our identity
We no longer see the World as We experienced it before trauma.
The biggest problem with PTSD is that it takes over our entire view of ourselves.
We can no longer see as clearly, as we once did.
We are left feeling frightened, helpless and powerless and now every moment is dangerous, unpredictable and threatening to us.
We cannot get over it
Getting over the past takes more than time and hope of relief.
Our changed bodies and brains will NOT let us forget.
Trauma doesn’t easily slip into the history of a life.
Surging chemicals and deregulated psychological processes reinforce every memory.
We cannot help our behavior
We experience biological/chemical changes and emotions that frighten and overwhelm us.
Since we operate on a sort of autopilot, we are not always in control.
PTSD is an exaggerated state of survival mode.
We act out accordingly in defense of the feelings and survival responses we cannot control.
Trauma changes us
After trauma we want to believe that life can return to the way it was, that we can continue as who we were. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works.
Trauma leaves a huge and incredible impact on the soul and can cause changes to the brain.
Enduring trauma often leads to a psychic shift that interferes with how we interact with ourselves, others and the WORLD.
We do NOT hate you
Since we cannot directly address our PTSD issues, sometimes it’s easier to address you.
Unfortunately, in the moment we may use your face as PTSD’s image.
Contrary to the ways we might behave when you intervene, somewhere inside we know you are not the source of the problem.