About PTSD. Part 1

PTSD, also known as post traumatic stress disorder is something that, according to ptsd.va.gov, 94 in 100 women who experience a type of sexual assault go through.

Here is what they’ve written on it, and the link to their page.

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/women/sexual-assault-females.asp

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) involves a pattern of symptoms that some individuals develop after experiencing a traumatic event such as sexual assault. Symptoms of PTSD include repeated thoughts of the assault; memories and nightmares; avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and situations related to the assault; negative changes in thought and feelings; and increased arousal (for example difficulty sleeping and concentrating, jumpiness, irritability). One study that examined PTSD symptoms among women who were raped found that almost all (94 out of 100) women experienced these symptoms during the two weeks immediately following the rape. Nine months later, about 30 out of 100 of the women were still reporting this pattern of symptoms. The National Women’s Study reported that almost one of every three all rape victims develop PTSD sometime during their lives.

For me, I didn’t experience any symptoms of PTSD until almost a full year after the event.  At first, I was convinced that there was something wrong with me.  If I was going to have these reactions, I reasoned, they’d have happened right after the event and already started to deteriorate.  At this point, it’s been just over three years since the incident for me.  As, I said, my PTSD developed last year and it goes and comes in waves.  Although it seems that, recently, it’s been getting worse.

I have severe panic attacks when I’m at my lowest points, or if I’ve been exposed to some kind of “unhelpful media.”  Personally, I experience a lot of restlessness and fear and jumpiness and especially nightmares.  Sometimes I can go a week or so without having any sleep due to the nightmares or fear of falling asleep.

I have a couple of really good friends that help me through panic attacks on occasion.  And I feel guilty as hell when I see that look of pity on their faces.  But those people still hang around me for some reason, and people love me.  I can’t bear to be that victim sometimes, but I am.

The thing is, it’s okay to need them.  It’s okay to want to be loved. And if something they do freaks me out, it’s okay for me to want to be in control of that situation and to ask them not to do that thing or say that thing.  And, eventually, my hope is that the things that others do around me won’t freak me out.  Either because I’ve gotten better, or because they’re really conscious of the things that I can’t stand.

Control.  It’s something that I and people like me have experienced an utter loss of.  And it’s okay to go to extreme measures to regain that control.  The one rule I keep to is try to make sure I’m not taking anyone else’s control from them while trying to regain my own.

Sorry for the ramble. I guess the nugget to take away is don’t be afraid of the things you need.

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