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What I Want My Loved Ones to Understand About My PTSD

Please understand that a shift in my mood has nothing to do with you — even the sudden shifts. I need you to understand I am not seeking attention or looking to push you away. What is happening is very real and very exhausting and wanting to be alone for a while means just that — I need to be alone to regroup and keep moving forward.

Please understand that an episode may look like nothing to you, but it runs through my body like a freight train and feels like it does the same damage. Please realize it feels like my world is ending suddenly and it has a physical effect on my body — I stop sleeping and eating, I’m exhausted and my muscles ache for no reason.


Please know I know you are trying to help and you mean well. But please don’t tell me to get some sleep or that I need to eat. I know this and I’m not doing this by choice. I’m afraid if I force myself to eat I will get sick and my sleep is disrupted regularly by bouts of panic. Telling me to do things I have very little control over at that point is not actually helpful, it feels condescending.

Please know that no diagnosis defines me and it definitely won’t hold me back from anything. My pain is a motivator, it is a constant reminder to push harder. When you look at me, see me not just my label. Please see that I may look like I’m just fine, but know that inside I am exhausted from battling this invisible illness, from smiling when I don’t feel like it and pushing on with my day.

Know that I am still here and I am still me, but please don’t invalidate my disorder because I “look fine.”

I am not just having a bad day, I am running a marathon.

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Thinkstock photo via sSplajn