The Symptom of PTSD I Struggle the Most With

I have noticed having PTSD means certain things scare me more easily. One symptom of PTSD I struggle with the most is hypervigilance. It’s really easy for it to be triggered above its everyday baseline.

One reason I believe this is true for me is that a lot of the general public thinks, “Things like that won’t happen to me,” but for me, having been raped, I’m keenly aware that bad things can and might happen to me. There have been a couple instances that have happened recently which I found especially triggering for my hypervigilance. One happened just last week.

Last Friday, I came home from the store and all my family members were gone. As I was starting to pull in closer to my house I noticed not only was our garage sliding door open, but there was a guy I did not know at the entrance. His car was pulled in front of my house, and was running. When he saw me he ran to his car and sped away before I could get down the license plate number.

Needless to say this terrified me. I called my dad. I called my mom. I called Dakota, who came home and did a walk through of the house to make sure everything was clear.

When I told my therapist about this, she asked why I called my family instead of calling the police. My gut reaction is not to call the police. This is from when I was delusional and having hallucinations all the time. I would see people in my house or think someone wanted to kill me or was following me, but I couldn’t call the police because it wasn’t real. (I wanted to at the time, my parents wouldn’t let me, due to it not being real).

So my original reaction even now when I’m stable and knew I wasn’t hallucinating was to call my family. Later on I thought about calling, but the only things I had been able to recall to write down and give was “Hispanic, white shirt, jeans, buzz cut. Black Toyota car.” The danger was over, nothing was stolen, and there was only a very vague description to go on so I didn’t end up making a police report.

I was seriously shook up for the rest of that day complete with irrational thoughts about what if he were to come back. Then for a couple days after, I was scared around my house and when I was alone, but was able to be rational and cope. I have noticed my hypervigilance being elevated since then though. Although it’s been elevated anyways because of all the abduction attempts I keep hearing about in my town.

I am very proud of myself though because I handled this situation very well. I didn’t panic in the moment. I remained calm and was able to tell my therapist today that I think I’m over it. My reasoning behind this was that I’m not afraid of him coming back anymore and I’m not afraid when I come home anymore. I recognize it happens, but now it’s over and I don’t need to be afraid anymore.

Even though my PTSD does make these type of situations worse for me I’ve also learned through it the coping mechanisms I need to get through these events.

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Thinkstock photo via evtushenko_ira

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