Weekly visits to the counselor, monthly visits to the doctor, daily breathing exercises (usually multiple times through out the day), getting up at 4am to be at the gym by 5am, bed by 8pm to ensure adequate sleep, rigid eating schedule……This is what my defense against PTSD looks like. It’s a daily battle I get up and arm myself for. I don’t want to look at the world as if it’s after me but that’s where my injury has left me. There are good days, but there are better days ahead.
My goal for the turn of this blog was to encourage, not complain, so that’s what I’m going to do. Ptsd can take over your life, it can infect every ounce of who you once were and turn it into something you don’t even recognize anymore. A support system is important in that regard to be able to help you identify the pieces of you that shine through from time to time and to grasp onto those pieces. But those in your support group are just as susceptible to a bad day or bad days as we are. This battle is hard on the spectators, and sometimes that difficulty can be taken out on the one who is actually fighting the battle.
My husband has been the biggest supporter I have ever had. He believes in me when no one else does. He counts my breaths when I’m to heightened to be able to do it on my own. When the intrusive thoughts are yelling so loud to run, fight back or hide and cry, he’s there telling me to just breath. But sometimes the war within me is to much for him to bare witness to. Sometimes his helpless feeling gets turned into anger or frustration. He falls into thinking I’m just being selfish and dramatic, unhappy with my life, miserable. This can be the thoughts of most people who aren’t participants in the war within. But for those who gear up every day to fight, you know all you want is to fight so you can accomplish the exact opposite of those thoughts. You fight to be happy, to be content, to be grateful, to be appreciative but most importantly……to be safe. And the second one of those spectators voice one of those thoughts, new weapons are used against you in the battle. The few people you felt safe with are no longer on your side lines cheering you on but on the enemies sidelines yelling to take us out at the knees. You feel problematic and burdensome to your support group or person, you feel like you’ve exhausted your relationship all because of a battle you never wanted to engage in to begin with.
Here comes the encouragement friends……. regardless of what outsiders are telling you, you know the extent to which you wake up and fight every day. Sometimes this battle leaves us feeling like a one man army, and sometimes we need to just accept we have to be a one man army. At the end of this battle your spectators will gain something but the main one affected by getting through this battle is YOU. So regardless of what anyone says keep fighting if for nothing else then for yourself, for the prospect of being able to ignore anxiety and continue on your day as a happy human being, because that day is achievable. But it’s going to take work, tears, hurt feelings, flashbacks, anxiety, rage, depression, defensiveness…..battle.
I struggle when I feel like I’ve lost that support group to the other side. I feel like I’ve failed and lost the battle. But I haven’t failed, I had a bad day but that isn’t the end. I feel like I’ve started back at square one, but that isn’t the end either. Where ever you are at today in your battle, stand up look back at yesterday and thank God you were able to move on from it. I’m not always good at this, the PTSD makes things very difficult to leave in the past but that doesn’t mean we have to give up. We still put our armor on and continue fighting day in and day out. Those who are outside can’t understand it all, so give them a pass to be on the other side sometimes, remember PTSD affects everyone involved in your life and especially when they can’t comprehend it’s vile attacks, give them understanding and forgiveness, because that’s what you want and need when you lose a battle. But know that even when they aren’t on the sidelines screaming for you to win the battle, someone out there is. PTSD is our injury not our identity, Fight the hell out of that battle, wipe the sweat from your brow and know that one day you wont have to fight this battle anymore because you will have won it. But you can’t win if you give up your fight.
Because I haven’t been able to fight this battle with out first meeting with God every morning I encourage you to arm yourself with God’s armor and cling to the hope God gives us while fighting this battle day in and day out friends.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Ephesians 6: 10-18