I am a big believer in education key to understanding mental illness. Unfortunately, Hollywood and other artists can add to the confusion more than they help. Tonight I turned off the TV in disgust because a favorite show was portraying the horrible awful bad murderous villian as a schizophrenic triggered by PTSD. Their script writer doesn’t know that PTSD does not cause schizophrenia. Unfortunately, movie makers and script writers wish to entertain and make money so accuracy isn’t a priority. Many people with PTSD are high functioning caring people that are trying to cope with too much already. I also watched shows that portray those with PTSD symptoms as fakers and cheats. Also making those with the real deal fighting an up hill battle to be believed. I had no name for what tormented me until my late 40’s. I complained to doctors that something was wrong since age 15. My first symptoms showed up at age 5. For 40 years, I was tormented by nightmares, suffered health problems, and struggled with living. I didn’t know. I am still tormented by nightmares, suffer health problems and struggle with living but now I know why. There is a reason behind it.
I am always researching something. I read about children adopted from 3rd world countries hoarding and stock piling food in their rooms. I looked around my office, at the case of food and water stuffed under my desk. Why did I behave like a child from a 3rd world country? Now, I know that this is a reaction to going hungry as a child because my mother used food to control me. I went with my husband to a marriage class trying to improve our marriage. I came home frustrated and confused when they spent the whole evening discussing boundaries. I yelled at my husband when we got home, “What are boundaries?” He looked at me and said, “You know.” In utter frustration, I yelled back, “No, I don’t.” I felt like a child at a grown ups meeting with everyone being in the ‘know’ except me. More and more pieces of my life didn’t make sense. Finally, my husband and I went to marriage counseling that within months turned into counseling for me trying to piece together the puzzle of my life and make some sense out of it.
A majority of the information available about PTSD is through the military. I appreciate these websites. I learned more and more from them. I appreciate others that are speaking up and sharing their PTSD experiences. I especially appreciate a counselor that spent 7 years teaching me the skills I needed to learn as a child. I was too busy surviving, I missed out on basic life skills training. My children missed out on some of the same training because you can’t teach what you don’t know. I am thankful my husband has stood by me through years of challenges and counseling. I am continuing my education. I have a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks. This blog is me sharing what I learn. Hopefully, those that read it will come away knowing a bit more about challenges of living with and thriving with PTSD.