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Reminders for My Silent Superman During Those Dark, Difficult Moments With PTSD

I know our relationship has been significantly affected by my past. I can’t help but feel it is my fault when we have problems. The men in my past have left a lasting scar on my soul. And I know because of this, I am different than the other girls you might go out with. I know there have been days when you’ve watched me lay in bed and not want to get up. There have been times when I have tried to shut you out or retreat. There have been moments when I have said hurtful things to you, because I want to be angry. The truth is I don’t want to be angry with you. I’m angry with my abusers. I’m in pain because of the bruises they’ve left on my heart. I’m angry at the world for thinking it was my fault. I’m not angry with you. In fact, you are one of the biggest reasons why I love this world.

I’m sorry you’ve been dragged into the psychological damage that others have caused.

I know it isn’t easy to be with me all the time. I know we fight about little things that have nothing to do with you. The events from my past have molded me into the person I am today. And it can make our relationship difficult and at times painful. It has strained my ability to be my real self with you. The emotions and intensity of my thoughts are tricky to understand. I watch you as you stare at me in your bed. I’m not able to communicate to you how much pain I am actually in. I know you watch me while I cry about the men of my past. The men who have affected our relationship today. I want you to know you aren’t doing anything wrong. In fact, you are doing everything right. But in those dark, difficult moments there are some important things I want you to remember.

When I snap or shut down, it has nothing to do with you.

I shut down because sometimes my nervous system literally cannot handle dealing with anything. My body physically shuts down. This is a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s not because I’m mad at you or because of the things you say. It is because I have ghosts in my head that like to play games. They will pop up into my thoughts whenever they want to. When this happens, all I need from you is a reminder that you are there. Whether it’s a hug or a quick trip to get ice cream. And in case I don’t tell you right away, I am sorry for snapping at you. You did nothing wrong.

When I get clingy or too attached:

It’s not because I’m “crazy.” It is because you give me one of the greatest feelings of security. Security I didn’t have with other men. Sometimes I feel so safe with you, I forget that you also need to feel secure. In these moments I want you to be honest. Tell me you need some time separate from me. Tell me you need to go hang out with the boys or to spend some time apart. The last thing a survivor wants is to feel like a burden in someone’s life. I want you to share with just as much as I share with you. It helps if you are honest with me in a positive or neutral setting. If you let things build up to the point you are angry, I take it personally. And not because of you. But because of my past abuse. I want our relationship to be healthy and real. And when you are honest with me, it reminds me I am not broken.

When I have episodes of depression and anxiety:

I know how hard it is for you to sit there and feel powerless. In the moments when I can’t get out of bed or don’t want to go out in public, I see the pain it brings you. I know how frustrating it can be to see the person you love not taking action in their life. In these moments, I will not be offended if you go do things by yourself. But I greatly appreciate when you ask me if I would like to tag along. I love the moments where you tell me you want to go outside for a walk, or go get coffee. It makes me feel like you want me to experience life with you. And most of the time I will probably be ecstatic you asked me to join. But on the days where I simply can’t get out of bed, what really helps the most is knowing that you love me. Knowing that you see beyond the exterior of my blanket and see the real me underneath. A kiss on the forehead or a hug that squeezes me into oblivion goes a long way. And if you want, I am never opposed to you crawling into bed with me and watching The Office.

These tips may be helpful. But they don’t fix anything. I understand how hard it can be to watch the person you love struggle with their existence. I know how frustrating it can be to watch as I struggle to get up and make healthy decisions. I know how painful it can be to tell me how you feel because you don’t want to upset me. I know how overwhelming it can all be. And believe me, there is nothing more I want than to break the chains of my past and solely focus on the now. But I promise if you are willing to work with me, I will love you more than you could ever imagine. I already do. The fact that you are willing to overlook all of the layers of gray and see my true bright self is a gift I will never take for granted.

I also want you to know I am trying. I am trying my hardest to battle the beasts of my past and still live in the present. I want to get out of bed, I want to have a job and I want to be excited about life. And in the moments or days when all I can do is lay in bed and watch reality TV, please be patient with me. My feelings of being overwhelmed and sad will pass, sometimes I just need time. Please also remember I am not broken. I am still a powerful woman with so much to offer. I have dreams, goals and ambitions. Sometimes those get masked with my feelings of pain and depression. But I am still the strong, excited, wonderful woman you fell in love with. I haven’t gone anywhere, I just might be hiding a bit due to the trauma.

So finally, I just want to say thank you. In case I don’t tell you enough, you deserve to hear it. Thank you for turning over at night when I have a nightmare. Thank you for getting me outside and breathing fresh air with me. Thank you for keeping me laughing from the deepest part of my gut. Thank you for the spontaneous moments when you tell me I’m beautiful. Thank you for blasting music in the car while we drive around. Thank you for keeping me in the present. Thank you for holding me accountable for using my healthy coping skills. Thank you for reminding me you would never hurt me and I am safe with you. And most importantly, thank you for loving the real me. The me that loves dogs, sings oldies and likes to go bowling. Thank you for seeing through the heavyweights of my past and embracing who I really am. Thank you for reminding me every single day you love the person I am, not the things that have happened to me. You are my silent superman. Thank you for everything you do. I love you.

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