Not all wounds are visible, so be mindful of how you speak and treat others. Today is transparency part 2, for me and for the first time I will speak about living with PTSD.
What is Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.
As I was last told by my VA doctor, I suffer with C-PTSD (chronic PTSD) due to me having multiple traumas. I know you’re like how much can one person take. I ask myself the same thing daily. Life for me has been an emotional rollercoaster. Well let me take you on this ride.
Let’s start trauma #1. Oct. 2000 my rape on my deployment. That left me with many mixed emotions. Trust, respect for the uniform and chain of command, guilt, shame, pain, and death. My attitude towards men in the uniform shifted, so did my work ethics. I told myself once I made from an E-2 anyone under me, would have my full support. I was an E-2 twice due to me going UA, out of fear of being rapped again. Shit happens you know, but I bounced back and made rank and kept my word to myself. I had my own demons that needed to be overcame, but later found that they clouded my vision. I began to have a bad temper and would act out violently, towards anyone who I felt threatened by. My kids fathers felt the raft more than once, not that they were wrong but because my patiences were short. I was very aggressive, easily irritated, and just didn’t tolerate any bullshit.
Trauma #2: On what would be my last deployment and soon end of my Naval career. In 2005 will pier side in Jordan a missile was launched at the ship I was stationed on. The sound of the alarms sent my heart into panic mode. My thoughts on that day was very clear, I have children (3) that I don’t even really know. I need to walk away and be a mother to my children. My mind was made up, but at the time I didn’t know the full effect of that day. Since that day I know longer kept a ringer on my phone, no loud alarm clock, flashing lights give me a migraine, and it triggered thoughts of my rape. Yes, I got of the Navy July 2006, and it was the best decision of my life.
Trauma #3: My 2nd marriage ended due to domestic violence and such a nasty thing. It’s easy for a person to tell a person to just leave, but has anyone stopped and ask why stay? A lot goes into a woman that stays, she may not have a plan B, she may not have family to help her, he may have control of all the money, so many factors go into why one stays. Image being asleep in the bed and the next thing you know is you are pulled out of bed and being dragged across the floor at 2 in the morning. Waking up to being hit in the face, pushed down stairs, locked out of your own house, having your car keys, money, and cards stolen by the man that says he loves you… Could I leave? No, not at the moment but what I did do was start to slowly move my babies things out of the house, I made a safety plan, and I started hiding money. So part one of my three part plan was complete, now on to part 2. I began to slowly move my things out of the house, and boom he noticed. That would be the fight of my life, I fell down the stairs and he began to kick me. Oh trust I was kicking while down, but he broke two ribs. Laying in the hospital I reached out to a hometown friend, and he is the reason I came home. I left EVERYTHING in that apartment. Do you know what it feels like to have to start all over, when you have been on your own since 18… I began to suffer with depression and in 2010 I tried to take my life. I was on the phone with an old friend and I was telling her I didn’t want to live anymore and I took a gang of pain pills. What I didn’t know was, that while she was on the phone talking to me she called 911. They got there I’m unsure as to how long, all I know is I woke up in the hospital with a nasty taste in my mouth. Since coming home I got rid of all pain pills and the ones I need I keep at my parents house, out of sight out of mind.
Over time I would have nice jobs, but I wouldn’t last. I have to sit in my car for at least 5 minutes before getting out to go anywhere, I always triple check my doors, check on my kids, always alert of my surroundings, if I can’t control my environment chances are I will not attend an event, if I need to go any place I need someone to go with me. Trust me it has been hard having active children, butI have a very supportive family so someone is available to go with me.
Lats but not least trauma #4: Oct. 2015 Sumter, SC the 1000 year flood. It rained so much and then it began to flood. My mom called me in the morning and asked me if I was good, she woke me so I was like ma it’s early. I looked at my phone and had 10 missed calls between my mom, and sisters. I go look outside and my yard is flooded, in a calm voice I tell my baby to pack somethings we going to nana house. I tried to make it fun for her and for her not to panic. we go “play” in the rain/water by moving my car and packing things. We leave our house and I ask her which way does she want to go to get there. She said the long way. which I’m glad I listened, as we passed the turn I usually make all cars are under water. As we make it close to my parents house, the water is rising. We make it there safely and in time 5 minutes after we got there all roads were flooded. I volunteered with Red Cross, walked in nasty water to get my sisters stuff out of her place, took donations and walked door to door to give out cleaning supplies to those in need. No one knew I lost everything in my home due to it fooding, and then to find out I lost everything in my storage. I felt defeated yet again, but I had to push through.
I enjoy working, but working with PTSD, Fibromyagia, and anxiety has at time gotten the best of me. Once I reach my breaking point I will walk away from any job at any given time. My passion is to work with youth that suffer with a mental illness, behavior issues, learning disabilities, or any special needs. It’s my passion to help them understand that granted they may be different, that they are still loved. I teach them how to cope with their anger, stress, and emotions. i teach them what I had to learn and do within myself. Each day I take a step towards healing and helping someone else. Since 2010 I haven’t had any other suicide attempts or thoughts no matter how down I get. I tell myself that I’m still here for a purpose and I haven’t completed my mission. Each day is a gift.