Part 2 of my previous post (Obviously). In this part I will discuss more of the symptoms I and many other people suffer from, and also talk about the backlash I have received from certain people for openly admitting I suffer from the condition.
“It is important to remember that having a psychiatric disorder or a history of mental illness is not a sign of weakness or a reason to feel ashamed. Psychological problems are quite common in our society, and many of the factors that lead to the development of a disorder are completely out of a person’s control.”
One of the most common factors of PTSD for a lot of people I know/have read about is having panic attacks. I have suffered with them since the age of around 18 when I left school, however they were minor and very rare until a couple of years ago. People ignorant to the condition (For lack of a better word) annoyingly seem to think that there is a specific trigger in each person which makes them have the attack I can see how they may be inclined to believe this, however I can’t remember the amount of times a couple of my friends/colleagues have witnessed me having an episode and been really confused as there was “nothing out of place” around to provoke it. Or they would say “It’s ok Emma, it’s only people and there aren’t that many”….. I like many others who suffer, do not have anything in particular to set me off- There is no trigger, which is what can be frustrating sometimes, as there’s no way of knowing when one may creep up.
I personally know a panic attack is approaching when I get a knotting feeling in my stomach, which then creeps up resulting in my whole body shaking, or sometimes feeling paralysed, as though I can’t move, even though I want to sit down. I’ve had to call for help in a distressed state several times and so have a few of my friends who suffer. I remember once when I was at London Victoria train station and I had a really bad attack- The lady I was with at the time kept telling me I had no reason to be worried and that none of the people around me “looked bad”. I found it so frustrating trying to explain to her after the incident that a lot of the time there really is NO TRIGGER, and if you need further convincing of this, let me tell you that I once had a moderate attack whilst getting a massage within a lovely environment, where there was nothing to unnerve me whatsoever!
I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed about admitting I have the condition, but it appears there are a few people who have implied that I am using it to seekattention, or that I don’t actually have it as bad as I claim to. I remember once when I was at a house party with a few friends and one lady said to me that she is doubtful that I really do suffer, as I am always travelling the country and going to events etc, whereas she struggles to leave the house on a daily basis. I was not impressed by this “observation” and pointed out that every individual with show symptoms and cope in different ways- There was in fact a time when I lived in my old house in Gillingham, that I would struggle to go to the corner shop and back without having at least one panic attack, resulting in me spending a good couple of months staying closely around my neighbourhood, as venturing much further filled me with fear of further attacks- I was also scared that i would end up being picked up by the police because they would think I was on drugs or drunk as sometimes I would fall over or be gasping for breath.
When I have posted about the condition on social media, a few people have implied that I am attention seeking- No, I just post about my life and PTSD is a big part of it currently. I would say I am improving every week as I have cut right back on drinking, rarely ever have panic attacks since I moved house, and have began dating and taking an interest in men again (The main reason I suffer this condition is because of my abusive ex partner).
I expect that one day the condition will barely affect me at all, however at present I am happier and more optimistic than I have been for some time, and that is good enough for me!