Guest Post: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Thursday, 4 August 2016

I've suffered with mental health problems for as long as I can remember, except I didn't realise what any of it was until I was 15, and was initially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder called Agoraphobia. Prior to this, I was experiencing as what I now know as, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder otherwise known as PTSD. 

It all started from a very, very young age. From about the age of 5 I lived in an extremely toxic environment; my mother was, and still is, a violent alcoholic. I was physically and mentally abused, as well as severely neglected on a daily basis all the way up until I was 12 years old. Nearly every day I was belittled and guilt tripped and shamed, for just being a child. It got so bad that I nearly got taken into care, but thankfully my legend of a Dad saved me and took me in. I've lived with him ever since. 

Since all of that happened, i've been living in a permanent state of 'fight or flight' mode, thus meaning I get panic attacks very often. Obviously back when I was a child, my fight or flight response was totally normal for the situation I was in, and then when I got taken out of that situation suddenly, my body didn't know how to cope and naturally assumed there was still a threat. I'm 21 years old now, and nearly 10 years on i'm still experiencing traumatic flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks and a lot of unnecessary guilt. Because of this, I ended up suffering from severe depression too, and started self harming when I was 20. I have scars on my legs and arms. I've lost count of how many times i've tried to commit suicide, and even now having started proper therapy for what's happened, I still get really serious suicidal thoughts on a nearly daily basis. 

Thanks to my mothers actions, i've now got PTSD for life. Therapy will help lock away some of the memories, but it's very, very likely that i'll still suffer from the odd panic attack, dissociation and really bad short term memory for the rest of my life. I find it incredibly hard to be able to trust people, especially physically. Whenever someone unexpectedly hugs me, I jump out of my skin. I find it near impossible to share a bed with someone without having a panic attack, unless I completely and utterly trust them. I still suffer from Agoraphobia too; when I was first diagnosed with it I didn't leave my house for 11 entire months, and had to drop out of the last year of school. I lost a lot of friends, including my best friend of 7 years who lived down the same road. Nowadays it's a lot better, but I still struggle to go far from home unless I have someone with me, especially when it involves going into town (where my mum lives and works). 

Every day is a very real struggle, and some days, thankfully, are a lot better than others. The key thing i've realised that helps me a lot, is to not be isolated. Having friends that I can just message and meet up with within the hour are the ultimate life-line for me. Isolation only makes me 1000x worse, and I think that's something many people without mental health issues don't realise. 

If someone you know is suffering mentally, pop round and make them a cuppa. Just even 10 minutes with them could completely change their day and their state of mind.

Written by Zoe Maria

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