Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: illustrating my experience

Illustration by Nervous Comics: Man says telling group of people "I have post Traumatic Stress Disorder"

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I was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although I have been living with it for a long time. I told my fiancée who has an understanding of my issues and she agreed with the reasons behind the diagnosis. It wasn’t scary telling her because she already had an idea of the extent of my problems. I knew she would be supportive, I could take my time talking to her and she wouldn’t think any differently about me.

It feels strange to be so open about one diagnosis and yet completely petrified about disclosing anything about the other.

I was also diagnosed with Panic Disorder, which is an issue that I have been more open about with my friends and online through my comics. This outlet in illustrative form has been more of a ‘dipping my toe in the water’ in terms of talking about my issues. It feels strange to be so open about one diagnosis and yet completely petrified about disclosing anything about the other. I guess the only reason I am capable of doing it now through this medium is because Nervous Comics gives me boundaries. It’s a front, a voice, a way to convey my issues in a way that I can think very carefully about how much information I feel comfortable disclosing.

This illustration highlights my worries of talking about my diagnosis

This illustration highlights my worries of talking about my diagnosis, how I would even raise it as a conversation, all the things that people will say, their reactions and what they might think of me. I would like to think everyone would be as understanding as the final character. Even if they had not heard of PTSD it would be nice just to feel like I do not need to prepare myself a defence against presumptions or prejudice. I am still the person I was a minute ago before I told you, nothing has changed, so I hope your neither would you perception of me or how you treat me.

I really do hope my comics can create a positive way to raise Mental Health awareness.

Maybe if I felt that there was not such an issue with my diagnosis I would not be so scared to talk about it. Maybe just by talking about it I might also find out that the people I choose to tell might not even have a problem with it. I hope that by taking the plunge and talking about this issue, others might feel that they can do the same. A good friend told me “Courage is contagious” and with this in mind, I really do hope my comics can create a positive way to raise Mental Health awareness.

Nervous Comics is in its infancy, I hope in the future it will flourish and with it help to raise awareness about anxiety related issues.

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Comments

Perfect timing

Why is it so hard to tell people that something you have been dealing with for so long finally has a name which usually (well for me it did) provides such relief? I told my husband and he was amazing but after telling a few very close friends I was told that I was ridiculous and that there was nothing wrong with me, I was just 'different'... I should have know they wouldn't be supportive, they certainly wern't when I had PND... Nervous Comics this is perfect placement in my life right now...

To be honest it was a relief

To be honest it was a relief to get a diagnosis, I can now see a way forward and get the correct support. Before it just seemed so overwhelming, having all these things happening and not knowing what was going on. I guess talking about it meant to me that I was vulnerable, like the character opening up their heart to those people. It leaves you feeling a bit exposed. To me, telling someone I have PTSD basically reveals that at some point Ive had a horrific experience that has lead to this. Im really glad you had such a positive response from your Husband, its great to have someone close to you who is supportive. Thank you for taking the time to look at my blog and respond.

Nervous Comics

A friend of mine has no trouble discussing her bipolar disorder and PTSD, but is terrified of letting the world know about her dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personalities), It is well-known that people with PTSD can have DID from the same trauma that gave rise to the PTSD, but DID sufferers are looked down upon in the same way that those with personality disorders are. It's a terrible shame.

Hi

I went to see a therapist as a kid and she told my parents I had PTSD. I refused to accept it, convinced the problems in my live weren't bad enough to warrant it and never saw a therapist again. :)

I have PTSD

Having a baby should be a wonderful experience and time in ones life.. On the 17th Sept 2012 my whole life changed..I was rushed into hospital to have an emergency c - section, as the docs were finding it difficult to hear my babies heartbeat. Whilst in the theatre I was panicking like mad, my anxiety had hit the roof. I stayed in hospital for 5 days whilst my baby was in intensive care, and this was the most horrific time of my life, i could focus straight, could not eat or sleep. I had to see a psycharist in the end. Its been 4 month since my little girl was born, and iam still suffering with anxiety, low mood, sleepless nights and have been diagnosed with Depersonalization - where i feel unreal and disconnected from my body daily..due to the anxiety.Does anyone else feel like this or have done ? Now iam becoming scared to go anywhere alone.. I have suffered with panic attacks and agoraphobia in the past and have ocd.. Iam just hoping with time I manage to overcome this and get on with a 'normal' life... Thank you for reading and if you want to comment feel free..

PTSD and DID - we're sick of being ridiculed for our diagnosis

I'm so glad to read this. I have PTSD and dissociative identity disorder, including episodes of depersonalization, derealization and dissociative amnesia. The PTSD is from both childhood and events as an adult. It was very frightening at first and diagnosis was such as relief to me too. I had such a mix of symptoms and I didn't know they were all parts of the trauma I suffered as a child. I'm far more open about the anxiety than the PTSD. Both PTSD and DID carry so much shame. With PTSD people always want to know what the trauma was and I can't face talking about it. With DID it's even harder - Beyonce/Sasha Fierce and similar give people the impression that it's about having alter egos rather than a reaction to child abuse, and there's regular criticism of the diagnosis by organisations who support so-called "falsely accused" paedophiles. I think it will always be hard to talk about DID. When you say I have DID either you get confusion or you've just told someone you were horrifically abused at a very young age. I'm beginning to talk in survivors groups about the child sexual abuse, but I wish there was more awareness. It helps when you aren't the only one. To the last poster - I can totally relate. Therapy has been the only help to me, CBT on the NHS only helped a bit but I found help via the voluntary sector. I'm still often disconnected and dissociated. It's worse at night because the other identities were abused badly then and struggle to see that we are safe now. Understanding my symptoms helped so much.

Thank you Nervous Comics

I have very severe ptsd, severe generalised anxiety disorder and depression. I'm waiting for my appointment to see a psychotherapist. I can identify completely with the difficulty of 'coming out' with this diagnosis. I feel like I am wearing a giant sandwich board saying I'm a child sexual abuse victim. But I'm trying to get passed it and be honest. If we continue to be silent we play into this idea that it is shameful. I cannot continue to keep this secret. It's not the survivors who should feel the shame. I hope with all my heart that one day the stigma of mental illness will be no more. We will be a healthier and happier species! I love your illustrations. Communicating how we feel when we ourselves struggle to understand it is incredibly hard, from the outside it must be even more difficult to fathom. I wish you all the best on your journey and thank you for your blog xx

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