Healing from my trauma required me to tell my trauma story — but not to over-identify with it. When I first began my healing journey, I would talk about my trauma to anyone who would listen: new friends, strangers on the Internet, distant family members, etc. In a way, telling my trauma story — and owning what I'd been through and how I got myself through it — empowered me. It gave me a sense of purpose and a feeling of pride; it also gifted me with much-needed validation.
I've found that emotional flashbacks are not as commonly discussed as "regular" flashbacks in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, I questioned my diagnosis because I hadn’t been experiencing the common symptom of a “flashback.” Flashbacks are a major part of PTSD, typically occurring in the form of visual memory and negatively stimulating our physical senses. However, I learned that many people — myself included — experience “emotional flashbacks,” or intense feelings of fear, shame, anger, and despair that are associated with a specific trauma.
Seeking validation from others is often demonized today. We are made to feel guilty for this human desire — for craving attention, reassurance, and support. And while it's healthy to give yourself the validation you're searching for, shaming yourself for seeking validation from others will not help you.
Suicide can be a tough topic to discuss among those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though around 56% of people with PTSD experience suicidal thoughts, ideation, or actions, admitting to having those feelings can feel shameful. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Living with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is hard and it often makes life feel like a struggle. You may struggle to get out of bed, do your daily chores, put on a good face for those around you, or you may even feel like it's a struggle to live.
When you live with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), flashbacks can be one of the most frustrating parts of it. You may go days, weeks, or months without one, then suddenly, bam, you’re hit with a new, frustrating flashback.
Black-and-white thinking is common to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you are traumatized, especially repeatedly, you begin to believe that life is all good or all bad. Unfortunately, it’s more common to lean towards all bad, because that is what the traumatic experiences you lived through taught you.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stigma is alive and well. If you have PTSD, you've probably heard someone tell you to "just get over" your trauma. Maybe it was a well-meaning friend or family member, like my father who was frightened by my suicidal ideations. Or maybe it was a less well-meaning stranger, like the rude New Yorker who recently commented on my blog telling me to, "Grow up and take responsibility for [my] life." Whether the statement comes from a place of love or PTSD stigma, it doesn't make sense. Here's why.
Do you ever feel like you're in a mental fog, you can't think straight, or as though you have to labor to access even the simplest thoughts? I feel this way often, and it used to make me panic, like I was losing my mental faculties. Then I realized that "mental fog," aka "brain fog," (not clinical terms) or confusion can actually result from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Triggers, stress, and anxiety can heighten feelings of mental fog--leaving those of us with PTSD feeling even more vulnerable and confused during the very moments when we most need to feel safe and in control.
Posttraumatic stress disorder and psychosis? What do you think of when you hear the term "psychosis?" Most people know that it is a serious mental illness symptom that involves a radical disconnection from objective reality. Not everyone knows, however, that sometimes having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to psychosis.