It’s funny, I love writing – I also love talking, but when it comes to talking about mental health I always find myself second-guessing my own thoughts, beliefs and experiences.
I’m often comparing myself to stories I’ve read in the media – or even my own assumptions on how somebody should live with a mental illness, so much so that it makes me stress even more when I struggle with new things. (I often question myself – ‘so and so’ wasn’t seen to react this way, so why on earth am I feeling like this? That newspaper story said that people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) shouldn’t do this... this person said that you can only get PTSD if...) Ahh – even though I’m the only one fighting my particular, personalised battle it seems I find it hard to believe. I haven’t been to a war zone, but I’ve seen my own wars in my mind.
More needs to be done to break down the stigma around PTSD
I was diagnosed with PTSD early last year, and I’ve often stated that I’ve been fortunate not to experience mental health stigma. But, I have – even if I’ve not realised. The tricky thing for me is people have always associated PTSD with war-related trauma, which is understandable – yet I feel more needs to be done to break down this stigma.
I’ve survived three separate traumatic experiences and often I find myself thinking ‘I have no right to feel this way.’ But I do. I mean, I don’t want to feel this way, but it is okay for me to not be okay.
To me, having a clear diagnosis is important – I want to feel aware of what’s going on – I want to have something I can identify with and relate to. Simply for the reason that this will help me accept that it’s okay to be struggling. Yet, when I search for PTSD related articles and information – there seems to be a lack of content that I can relate too. I guess this is, in part a good thing – I’d never wish my experiences upon anyone, but sometimes it does make me feel like my struggle isn’t actually real...
In my darkest moments when I feel alone I am reminded that there are people out there willing to share their stories
I blog openly and freely about dealing (and struggling) with PTSD; I was inspired after reading some of the blogs here on the Time to Change website. Though some of the people who interact with me through social media haven’t directly experienced what I have, I never anticipated how it would make me feel.
I am often reminded that though, when in my darkest moments, I may feel alone – there is a whole world of people out there brave enough and willing to share their stories. And for that I am grateful... keep sharing your stories, people!