On Tuesday, my therapist and I decided to step up my appointments from every other week to every week because I have a new diagnosis: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The biggest factor is of course the home in which I was raised. I witnessed, was exposed to, and endured some very difficult things. Some of the things I shared with the therapist this week were things that no one has details on. It felt good to get those things out, for someone else to share that burden.
For most people, finding out they have a mental illness that affects 1 in 3 troops returning from the field might be too much. I mean, how can my childhood compare to war?
In reading more about PTSD, a lot of things in my life started to make more sense – my hypervigilance, trust issues, sleep issues, detachment, random flashbacks… Even the issues I’ve had with anger, expressing anger, and dealing with confrontation.
It’s not necessarily that I don’t want to remember these events, but there is a time and a place for working through them. My body waking me up at 3AM because I’ve had a flashback in a dream isn’t it. Other not-its? Driving, intimate moments with my husband, watching a movie, cooking, in line at the grocery store, in a big meeting for my job, etc.
I’m grateful for this label. I’m grateful that this is legitimate. I’m grateful that the impact of all these events has not been in my head. I’m grateful that my feelings are being validated, even though that isn’t absolutely needed… I know that, at times, I’ve needed that reassurance. I’m so used to gaslighting that I question myself on too many things.
Most of all, I’m grateful that myself and my loved ones are safe, that we’re not in the position we used to be.
Right now, I’m ready to face what I’ve gone through. There will be times when I want to quit and times where I need to go more slowly. I know that nothing ever changes overnight and that anything worth doing isn’t easy. The most important thing is that I know that it’s worth it – that my relationships, my career, my family, my very own self are all worth the fight.