I heard the “All in my head” from the time I was 15 years old. I went to medical doctors first trying to understand what happens to me body. When I can go from lots of energy to 0 in less than 10 minutes. (One of the reasons people with PTSD are sometimes diagnosed with bipolar instead.) I have passed out from stress. I finally asked one doctor, “If it is all in my head why does my body hurt so much?” All though it is not listed in the symptoms for PTSD physical symptoms show up. PTSD involves stress. Stress attacks the body with head aches, up set digestive systems, body aches, and a whole lot of other medical problems. Some of them actually show up on medical tests, many do not. I would go to the doctor with lack of energy, trouble sleeping, nausea but the medical test would come back in the normal range. Dr. Banks introduced me to the concept that a nervous break down is a fallacy to cover up emotional stress. As he exclaimed “The nerves never break down.” The day I said out loud, “I have cancer,” I promptly passed out. I know first hand that emotions cause physical symptoms and distress. This link is an amazing view of human emotions that had people from three different countries map their physical sensations experienced with emotions.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Harry Potter series in the last book Deathly Hollow…
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
― J.K. Rowling,
The physical symptoms are real. The emotional symptoms are real. I find that those individuals that try to convince my that what I am feeling is not real is more of a commentary of their own fears and experience than any thing to do with my experiences and emotions. Christmas season seems to make everything a little worse. I push myself to do many more things than I usually do. I push myself until I collapse. However, no medical test will show the reason for my exhaustion. I work at pacing myself. I keep hoping that this time will get better. It doesn’t. I am learning to let go of some of my expectations for Christmas. I feel sad. I would like to do all the things my busy mind can think of; it isn’t possible. My body gives out long before I reach the middle of my to do list. It may be all in my head but my body pays the price. I am currently studying the many different researchers that are starting to use brain scans and other imaging to show where the brain is changed when a person has PTSD. It is my reality every day, every night with no time off for good behavior. I improve my managing of the symptoms but they never go away. Christmas time I need to care for myself by letting go of some of the things I would like to do.