Today is rough. I looked back on my life to see how my mental illnesses affect my relationships with others. This is hard to do because I didn’t ask for these mental illnesses; I wasn’t born with PTSD or depression! I never asked for the car accident with my mum, and I definitely never asked for what those schoolboys gave me in the ballpark. Yet those incidents caused the mental illnesses that almost destroyed me in my late teens and early twenties. I lost relationships because of them.
It wasn’t that those people didn’t love me, but more that they struggled with my depression and the pain it caused them.
Then I married a man who saw all my weaknesses. He manipulated me, but I believed he loved me. Yes, he married me but I will admit it was only because we had a baby.
There was pressure from his family and he didn’t want to lose face in front of them. Deep down though, he hated me. The manipulation turned to abuse, and like many of you, I found myself caught in the cycle of violence.
Then one day I was free of him! I was so happy, thrilled, ecstatic! I could live again.
PTSD and Depression In My New Life
Unfortunately, soon after, the depression came back and brought with it all sorts of other new symptoms like
- night terrors,
- horrific flashbacks,
- irrational angry outbursts,
- lack of focus.
Doctors diagnosed me with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I got help and I tried hard every day to make myself better. But at times, PTSD wins. I had to leave financial security behind when I left the career I’d worked hard to build. They told me, “We don’t know what type of work you’ll ever be able to do.”
I felt defeated. I railed against my ex in my mind and cursed him for doing this to me!
I never gave up. I kept picking myself up off the floor. I found what my calling is; to help other women who have been where I have been. I’m feeling confident in my work knowing that doctors’ comments are not going to keep me down. I will have a career again, just different from before. Change is good though because I am not who I was before either.
Self-Care for PTSD and Depression
I still fight the PTSD demon. When that monster awakens, my world goes all over the place. It can be hard for those around me, which makes me sad. I never asked for this. I never wanted this. I would trade PTSD away in a second if I could, but I cannot.
I see how my mental illnesses, all caused by outside forces, still affect my relationships today and my heart breaks. I try hard every day not to let either illness/disorder get the better of me. I take a “mental health nap” each afternoon to let my brain recharge. I avoid movies of high action and violence as they only trigger me. I have adjusted my life to try to keep these monsters at bay.
In the future, I hope to have more days of peace than feelings of terror. I pray to feel safe and confident again. I wish for a career where I can continue to help others.
Sometimes though the depression and PTSD take over and I crumble again. If I had a choice, I never would have been in that car or in that ball diamond or married to a double-faced monster.
That is what life gave me though, so I pick myself up and keep moving forward.
Photo by Michael Dziedzic