PTSD: What Happens After?

I have been absent for some time from this blog. I began writing on the anniversary day of my car accident. I thought it would be easy to write the story of how I moved past my PTSD to live without the fear, trauma, and panic. Two months leading up to my anniversary I had lived freely, happily and carefree. I was out of therapy and managing well. My life was no longer controlled by the trauma of my past. I never had the goal to start writing: to go back. Documenting my experience was a spur of the moment idea.

You see, anniversaries are funny little things. The event itself has passed. Recovery has been complete. Yet on that day, in the days leading up, and perhaps even in the days following you begin to feel uncomfortable. Nothing in your life has changed. However you begin to feel uneasy because something doesn’t feel quite right but you can’t put your finger on it.

In the month of my anniversary I found that I couldn’t sleep and had lost my appetite. I understood the signs and realized what was happening. My car accident was causing what I’ll call a flare up. PTSD symptoms were returning, but not to severe levels. It was a wisp of a reminder that something life altering had happened. So I took it easy and was kind towards myself. I did not stress if I was too tired to do chores or to overbook my social calendar. I did not beat myself up if I took the time to find joy in the moment instead; I’d go to the park, watch a movie, or color.

I don’t know where the idea came from to write. Maybe if I wrote it down it wouldn’t affect me as much? maybe it would be out of my system. It did actually work. Even when I was in therapy I found that once I talked it through I’d be able to move past it and finally move on. Writing did the same. Yet going back into it was overwhelming. I have this special knack for taking on too much at once and diving into my memories during my anniversary month was just that. I also understood something: the reason why there isn’t much consistent non-clinical information out there. Because who would want to do this? What survivor would want to go back to relive the pain, the darkest moments, the path to recovery once they already moved past it? The desire to walk away from this and into the sunrise of my new trauma free life was strong. Yet in the time I’ve been on ‘break’,  I reveled in living a life with no worries and with my head free of the trauma noise. Yet the ease with which I was able to move on and forget the giant chapter of my life that molded me into the person I am today scared me.

If I don’t write about my personal hell and struggle then did it really happen? I needed for there to be a place for me to keep the memory of what I went through: to honor my strength, my journey, and my ability to now stand tall, smile, and know that I can whether any storm.

So what happens after? I continue living my life now that it’s not focused on the trauma of my past. I face my fears with strength and fortitude. I know that there will still be bad days. PTSD is a part of me; it makes up my experience, but I now know how to not let it consume me. PTSD is no longer my weakness, it is my strength.

 

 

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