What It's Like To Have PTSD
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

I Have PTSD, And I Have To Deal With The Stigma Around Mental Illness

I'm joining the fight to normalize mental illnesses.

610
I Have PTSD, And I Have To Deal With The Stigma Around Mental Illness

Mental illness remains a stigmatized topic within our society. Over the past handful of decades, the stigma has fallen away from the topic from increased exposure and normalization. However, it remains a taboo topic in many households and communities. Stereotypes remain anchored in the vast known illnesses and disorders, which in turn twists the perception of it. The only way to chip away at these anchors is to normalize the discussion of mental illness, to open the conversation even more so than before. To play my part in erasing the still there taboo nature of mental illness, I'm ready to tell my story.

At the age of thirteen, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My knowledge of PTSD was strictly what the media portrayed as being — veterans suffering from the aftermath of war. How could I have PTSD when I wasn't in a warzone? I soon learned PTSD occurs after a traumatic event, not just being at war. For myself, it came from years of childhood abuse.

It felt jarring to receive a diagnosis I knew absolutely nothing about, but it was also calming. I finally had an answer to the symptoms I had for years before that first therapy appointment. However, it didn't make everything suddenly OK as I had hoped it would. Despite a majority of the media portraying PTSD as war flashbacks and constant nightmares, it is not just those two symptoms. It is an incredibly complex illness that manifests itself differently depending on the person, coping mechanisms, type of trauma, and length of the trauma. Having media and society view PTSD as only one type along with the taboo and stigmatized nature of having it without being a veteran caused me to question my diagnosis and my symptoms.

It took going back to therapy a year ago after not for years to learn and accept the differences in manifestation.

Since starting therapy again, I can see how bad I truly was before and after my diagnosis. I was constantly in fear, angry, defensive, on edge, and extremely anxious. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, metaphorically speaking. Any sudden movement, loud noise, unknown touch would startle or scare me, which I soon learned to be because I was waiting for something bad to happen from every situation and everybody. It was my brain is accustomed to the volatile environment I lived in for years in a row.

PTSD digs itself into every aspect of your life with no mercy.

From being afraid of somebody walking down an aisle of Target to internally panicking if somebody taller than me stood too close to me. My brain has locked away a majority of my childhood memories to protect myself from retraumatization. That is possibly one of the hardest things I have had to accept where I am with my PTSD. Therapy has been a slow uphill battle with waves of being almost "normal" too intense depressive episodes. It is not how societal stereotypes portray it for me, which took me weeks of appointments to comprehend. It is never the same from person to person, even with the same diagnosis between two people. Part of the taboo nature that still encircles mental illness is the societal portrayal of mental illness being similar from person to person, which is incredibly damaging to those grappling with a new, or old, diagnosis.

I've learned that living with PTSD will be a constant shifting and changing aspect of my life. It'll be intimidating, liberating, and exhausting to face head-on. But, I know it'll be so worth it.

Over the past year, I've gained so many new insights on both PTSD and having a mental illness. It has shown me to not be ashamed and embarrassed when I tell people it and what it entails. Instead, I've learned to be more open about having PTSD to help normalized mental illness beyond just the stereotypical versions for both myself and my peers. The taboo environment and stigma around mental illness has been falling away for decades, but not fast enough. By talking about mental illness more and normalizing all kinds of it we can eliminate the taboo nature that is still in place.

Report this Content

In an already unprecedented political landscape, things aren't looking so bright for mail-in voters heading into November's election. In 46 states and Washington D.C., post offices received a warning that mail-in ballots may not be counted on time to count on election day, according to a report by the Washington Post.

Keep Reading... Show less
FOX

"New Girl" is one of the best sitcoms of all time. Honestly, it is so much fun to watch, so much fun to relate to, just all around a great show.

Not only is a great show, it has so many different great settings, obviously including the loft. If you live by Nick Miller quotes and desperately tried to learn how to play "True American," you need to buy these things because you are a true "New Girl" fan.

Keep Reading... Show less

You know those items you've been pinning to your Home board on Pinterest for [insert amount of time]? Well, it's officially the moment to turn that wishlist into a married life reality, and it's going to be SO fun.

But, before you get to shopping and adding things to your upgraded bridal wishlist (sorry, Pinterest, it was lovely while it lasted), you'll first want to decide where you want to open your registry (or registries, if you want options). Here are 17 of the best websites and stores to consider saying "I do" to for your wedding registry, to have and to hold for as long as people are buying you wedding gifts.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you've ever been in the dating game, or currently are, chances are you've had a date gone wrong. These are often times super embarrassing, but they are always funny to look back on.

Keep Reading... Show less

I just recently got engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic is actually kind of a nightmare.

A lot of venues are taken for 2021 because of corona brides and grooms who have had to reschedule their weddings and the same goes for other vendors and literally everything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

While promoting her most recent movie, "Work It," Sabrina Carpenter has divulged some of her favorite beauty products to interviewers.

Keep Reading... Show less

When I say we can't stop thinking about the relationship advice Miley Cyrus dropped on "Call Her Daddy" today, I mean it literally.

Her truth bombs hit me (and most who listened) like a wrecking ball and coupled with the release of her new song "Midnight Sky," we're going to need some time to process the greatness. In case you haven't listened yet (what are you waiting for?), here are 10 relationship tips Miley shared that we should all live by for the rest of time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color: Rec Room's Dre Taylor On What Blackness Can Look Like And Not Working For Free

"It mattered to me that when we were depicting racial diversity for Rec Room, we showed the broad spectrum of what Blackness can look like."

Rec Room

The world of sustainable fashion is inundated with marketing gimmicks, false advertising, and large corporations cutting corners — Rec Room is the pure antithesis of that.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 At-Home Therapy Tips You Need, No Matter What Your Therapy Routine Is

Whether you're in a Zoom session or live-chatting, make sure your home therapy space is good to go.

No matter what stigmas you held about therapy before this year, I'm sure 2020 has affirmed that we could ALL use a nice long therapy session. Between wildfires that took over an entire continent, a global health crisis, and what's sure to be one giant circus of an election in the United States, we need help and we need it now.

The fact of the matter is, therapy has been a helpful, valid resource long before the world decided to become one giant dumpster fire. Having a safe space to discuss what's going on in your life, worries you have, and struggles you're facing has become a very normal thing for individuals' mental health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dunkin' just announced that they'll be releasing their fall menu earlier than ever — set to debut on August 19 — and that it'll include new menu options this season, including a new signature pumpkin spice latte. Let me just say, Starbucks has some fall-menu competition now.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments