Here's What I Need To Say About My PTSD

Here's What I Need To Say About My PTSD

Two years later and I need you to know a few things.

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I'm always looking for a distraction. Every single day, I look for a reason to not think about the thing, but I always end up thinking about the thing. If you suffer from PTSD, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

And as my trauma anniversary approaches, this feeling intensifies even more and suddenly it encompasses my every move. Two years since the incident and I still find myself warped by the memory.

What most people don't understand is how this affects me in daily operations. As my trauma anniversary approaches, I have become tenser. I'm writing this in the height of my yearly freak out.

I want the people who caused this to know a few things:

Firstly, you aren't bad people. You are good people with good intentions, but you can make mistakes, too. The way you impacted me will be something that I can never forget, no matter how hard I try. On the other hand, I think you can forget it. That's the real travesty. That while I spend every day surrounded by thoughts of what happened, you can spend every day doing literally anything else. Despite this though, these past two years have taught me that you are not inherently bad just because you wronged me.

And that being said, just because you are good people does not mean I have to trust you again. That's been one of the hardest things for me to comprehend. You caused me such trauma and such pain and for the longest time, so many people in my life tried to convince me that all this rage I had against you was negated by the good work you did.

I can recognize that while you may be good at heart, you hurt me in such a way that I don't owe you any sort of forgiveness.

Secondly, when you hurt me, you took some of my youth. I believe that maybe I made some mistakes, too. The difference here was that when I messed up, I was a child… you were an adult who stole some of my childhood away from me. I went from learning and being carefree to being bogged down with overthinking and finding ways to afford therapy.

You changed how I saw the world and forced me to become cynical and jaded before my time. Looking back, that part of it didn't hurt me at the moment, but it really hurts me now. I was consumed so badly by this mental disorder called PTSD that I lost so much of my innocence. As an adult now, I can recognize that I'll never be able to get that back. That's all thanks to you. I grew up faster than I ever wanted.

Thirdly, I wonder if you ever think about that day? I wonder if you think about how I asked for medical attention, but received none. I wonder if you ask yourself if things could have gone better. I wonder if when you're in the shower for too long, your mind starts to race as you replay the events. I wonder if you wish you could take it back. And if you don't feel regret, what do you feel about that day?

Fourthly, I listen to a certain song a lot now. It's on repeat some days when things are particularly hard. "Two Years" by Have Mercy is constantly on my mind. Maybe it's just because I'm two years in and have found my entire life warped around that one moment. Or maybe its because my Ed Sheeran playlist that I played on a loop after you ruined me can only help me cope so much.

And fifthly, next time I see you I hope that I can have the courage to finally stand up to you, but I'll probably just put on the same show that I always do. You'll ask me how college is. I'll tell you it's been great. I won't mention how every time I meet someone new I wonder if things will end up the same. I don't talk about how hard it is to be a part of the social scene when it all comes back to me thinking about how alone I was. I'll tell you that I'm adjusting alright and that I'm thinking of joining a new club. I won't let you know that somehow you're still always on my mind.

I bet you wish this message would end happily with an "I forgive you". The truth, however, is that I just don't.

You'll get your forgiveness when you deserve it. You'll get your forgiveness when I stop waking up from night terrors, gasping for air because for the fifth time that week I've relived that entire day start to finish. You'll get your forgiveness when my Facebook memories feature doesn't scare me to check because I don't know what's bound to pop up and trigger a PTSD attack. You'll get your forgiveness if you ever even bother to ask… or apologize… or believe me. You'll get your forgiveness when you stop telling me I'm overreacting. You'll get your forgiveness… but then again, you probably won't.

You won't and that's okay because I'm the one hurting right now and I deserve to be allowed to be in control of my own hurt since you've controlled that for long enough.

Cover Image Credit:

Chris Klogg

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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10 Thoughts You Have During The Best Month Of The Year, AKA October

How can you NOT love October... oops, sorry I mean Monstober.

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October is seriously the best month of the year, and if you disagree, well you're just wrong. I mean seriously, between the sweater weather and Halloween prep and the smell of pumpkin, the month of October is truly a gift.

And of course, a month this incredible brings about a million and one thoughts about what it will bring and how it will be AMAZING! However, a million thoughts would be a lot to capture so I'm going to tell you about the ten that were most prevalent for me on October 1st.

1. "Where did September go?"

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I mean September really only is Pre-October, and I'm happy that it's over, but what? Wasn't it August yesterday?

2. "How soon is too soon to hang up Halloween decorations?" 

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It's never too soon. You've already come so far by waiting till this very day. Go ahead and get your pumpkins and black and orange streamers!

3. "Do you think I can still use my Harris Teeter discount for pumpkins?"

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This got me so excited until I realized that the Harris Teeter student discount doesn't apply after a certain amount of time, and that's just unfair.

4. "Wait I hope they haven't moved on from Halloween and onto Christmas decorations in stores yet."

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This is a serious problem. What if I need to add to my Halloween collection? I'm sorry I didn't remember to in August when Halloween decorations were out.

5. "Okay, I'm already behind on Halloween costumes. What am I going to do?"

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Halloween costumes are a big, if not the biggest, deal, and they take lots of brainstorming and planning. There's so much to consider, You have to look cute and be original; not everyone can dress up as a boxer or an alien AGAIN this year.

6. "Wait, how many days of Halloweekend are there this year?"

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Here's where costume planning gets complicated. Not only do you have to plan for one day, but Halloween itself is a several-day celebration that you have to be absolutely completely prepared for!

7. "Pumpkin spice is finally acceptable!"

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And I'm not just talking about the lattes. Pumpkin muffins, ice cream, bread, pie, etc!!! Sure, September is technically fall and therefore pumpkin spice season, but I'm a firm believer in October as the true start to when you can stuff your face with pumpkin spiced foods all day everyday without judgment.

8. "Is it social acceptable to start eating candy corn again?"

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The candy corn debate is ongoing, but October is truly the only time when candy corn lovers can indulge with no judgment.

9. "Netflix better have "Halloweentown," or I will sue!" 

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The "Halloweentown" series is only one of the greatest series of Halloween movies of all time; they're classics. For us college students who don't always have time to watch movies when they air on regular TV, Netflix is a go-to for Halloween movies. But if Netflix is lacking in the best Halloween movies, we're going to have a problem.

10. "How much homework do I have for tonight? I can make time for a Halloween movie marathon, right?"

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There's always time. It's important to your mental health. Your professors won't mind.

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