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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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.
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Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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The Key To Self-Improvement: Moderation

Short-term solutions will never work for long-term problems.

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There's a famous quote that always seems to resurface in Instagram bios and yearbooks: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It's a popular quote for a reason: it summarizes the idea of autonomy and accepting responsibility for our own shortcomings and successes quite nicely.

I think recognizing our own ability to shape our lives is vital to becoming successful adults—but that recognition can quickly become an obsession.

Of course, we all should aim to change the things we don't want to accept in our lives: but that is much easier said than done. It is so very, very easy to get wrapped up in the idea of self-improvement—and that can lead to some serious burn-out.

I have been trying for what feels like forever to find a lifestyle that helps me deal with various issues stemming from low self-esteem and anxiety.

I feel like I've tried it all: dietary adjustments, different exercises, journaling, social media breaks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. None of it seemed to have the lasting impact I was looking for.

For the first time in my life, the lifestyle changes I'm attempting are working—and I think I know why.

One reason: moderation.

None of those lifestyle changes mentioned above is inherently bad or difficult. However, any time I have attempted to keep myself to a strict regiment of utilizing them, it's quickly fizzled out.

If I attempted to journal every night, for example, I would get upset with myself for missing one evening if I was exceptionally tired. Whenever I tried to abruptly change my eating habits, I would do really well for a couple of weeks before giving up altogether. The same would happen if I tried to run every day or give up social media.

I put so much pressure on myself to improve some area of my life quickly that every minor trip-up or break felt like a failure.

What I've been doing recently, however, is spacing out those changes. I'll run three or four times a week instead of every day. I try to eat healthy meals but I won't always skip dessert. I limit the time I spend online but I won't quit it altogether.

By giving myself some breathing room, it allows my body and mind time to adjust. Those lifestyle changes don't feel restrictive any more. By enjoying certain things occasionally instead of never, I don't find myself craving them.

Giving yourself an adjustment period is vital to making any major change last. Trust me on this one: short-term solutions will never fix a long-term problem.

While that quote is nice, I'd like to propose a minor addition to it: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Oh yeah—and the time to make it happen."

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