PTSD And The Internal “Stranger Danger Ranger” Who Won’t Be Silenced
August 17, 2015 | Posted in: PTSD
It is my great honor today, to give you Terri’s story. Not only is she one of my favorite people, she’s also one of my favorite authors. Her words paint a picture, tell a story that will leave you both laughing and crying and above all reminded that you are not alone and THERE IS HOPE.
When I was in my early 30s my world spun so hard I felt as though I had no gravitational force. I felt crazy and honestly feared I was losing my mind.
I had spent a lifetime keeping memories buried inside, behind closed doors. I thought I had frozen them all in my heart to keep them contained.
But trauma thaws.
I felt like I betrayed my family code. I felt weak. I coped in so many different ways to stay numb and avoid the feelings that are stored in the marrow of your bones. I just wanted to be normal.
I prayed for God to “just make me loving” since I was in high school. I just thought that I needed to pray harder.
The problem was that God isn’t into the freezer business. He is faithful to unthaw your heart and it gets messy. God doesn’t mind messy. AT. All. I think He loves messy. I think God sees messy as hopeful. Lucky me.
When I had our first daughter I went to a counselor and she asked me what was going on. I said, “Nothing. I just don’t want my daughter to go through what I did.” She told me she couldn’t put that on an insurance form. I told her to make something up. I didn’t stay with her very long.
Years later I found an incredibly intuitive counselor and a psychiatrist who helped me navigate the ways I needed help. I knew I needed to be on medicine. I knew I was not doing well though I tried really hard to look like I was fine.
Dr. Conrady did an inventory and personal history, a trauma assessment and just talked to me, one human being to another. She discussed my chronic depression from childhood and anxiety and medication that would help with the symptoms so I could thrive, not just function.
And then she talked to me with waves of strength and gentleness about my PTSD.
It was embarrassing and I felt ashamed. Like I didn’t try hard enough to keep all the trauma-rama away from me. The problem with PTSD is the “T”. And all that it stands for in my life.
I read about PTSD. I identified the symptoms like the constant hyper-vigilance. I enter a room and scan for the exit signs. I sit in a restaurant and scenarios of someone entering with a gun enter my mind. What would I do? How would I protect my children? If someone locked me in this room, how would I get out? I tell you what, It’s just a real party in my brain. I thought everyone thought this way. Turns out, not so much.
It has been many years since the diagnosis. I still have triggers but they are not as intense as they used to be. I am still a bit hyper vigilant, especially in new places and situations. I was informed that it would probably be like this for the rest of my life. The wiring in my brain is just super alert. Good job, neurological pathways. You are my “Stranger Danger Ranger.”
For great resources on PTSD, visit here.
* You can read more of Terri’s lovely words here. Enjoy!