How do you prepare and plan out your day when you wake up with anxiety?
How do you prepare and plan out your day when you wake up with anxiety?
The Reality of PTSD, from a Survivor's Point of View
Part 1 of 2 When people hear the term PTSD, they often think of people being dramatic, holding a grudge, not trying hard enough, making an active choice not to move on, looking for attention, being ungrateful, refusing to forgive, or maybe even a war veteran. They envision someone who is just being difficult, someone who is perfectly fine to function, and who is making a big deal out of nothing. But that’s not the reality for a lot of people with PTSD.
People do not see the true experience of a trauma survivor’s daily life. They do not think of staying up all night every night in fear, even though I am safe. They do not think of so many locks all over the place, even in the bathroom, when I’m alone, every single time. They do not think of hiding in a corner, covering up my sensitive areas to get dressed really fast, even when I’m alone. They don’t think of fearing someone is looking in my windows or breaking in, all the time. They do not think of an extreme fear of using the bathroom around others, or not having access to one. They do not think of asking everyone for permission to speak or do things. They do not think of frantically avoiding certain parts of town, stores, people, events, or hiding, freezing, and having a panic attack when I see the police.
People do not think of mentally reverting to a toddler age, crying and “throwing tantrums” and feeling so scared and small, and being unable to care for myself or communicate, or feeling mentally like a baby, yet physically an adult. They do not think of being absolutely terrified and melting down, panicking from ‘silly little’ things like hair dryers, taking a bath, closed doors, simple words and phrases like ‘torture’ or ‘walls’. I’m also triggered by TV shows, men, a pointed finger, a strong glance, a simple touch without consent, and certain songs or musicians. Even perfume scents, the sun shining, a hot day, a child crying, a cat meowing, a door shutting too hard, or raised voices. They don’t understand why these seemingly normal things can affect me so badly.
People do not think of the fear to even leave my house, or be around other people, or the inability to meet my basic needs like eating, hygiene, sleeping, or cleaning. They do not think of the physical health issues and disabilities caused by the trauma. They do not think of hiding in bathrooms and closets, fleeing my house for no reason, forgetting my agoraphobia in my state of panic, or unnecessarily defending myself physically when I’m triggered. They do not think of having no sense of self, no ability to control my emotions, feeling foreign in the world, not understanding communication, and struggling in relationships. They do not think of the flashbacks, like watching a movie of my abuse in my head, hearing every sound, feeling every horrible sensation, uncontrollably, sometimes for hours. Or the emotional flashbacks that cause me to speak and act irrationally, behaving as if the trauma is currently occurring, when it isn’t.
People do not think of the memory loss, confusion, dissociation, and changes in my brain. They do not think of having actual seizures with convulsions, where I become unresponsive and freeze due to the stress I’ve experienced, and continue to experience every day. They do not think of how I have to monitor everyone else’s emotions, and panic if I detect even the slightest change. They do not think of my constant frantic need to be cared for and validated and protected and kept busy, all the time. They do not think of depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, lack of motivation, self-harm, or suicidal ideation.
People don’t see the constant fear, questioning, and second guessing. They don’t see that if I don’t know the exact answers to everything, I panic. They don’t see that I’m always scanning the environment, preparing for a threat, and sometimes misinterpreting something normal as a threat. They don’t see that I analyze every word people say for hours on end to make sure that I didn’t do anything wrong, convince myself that I still did, and hate myself for it anyways. They don’t see that I think everyone hates me, and I am constantly apologizing and awaiting punishment and abandonment. They do not see when I’m mentally stuck in time, searching for my Grandma that died 10 years ago, my sibling as a child, and places and people that have been gone for 20 years, to the point that I don’t even recognize my own house or pets or friends.
People do not see that sometimes I don’t even know if I’m real or the world around me is real. They don’t see waking up at night having a panic attack and nightmares, tossing and turning all night, fearing the dark, the silence, the vulnerability, unable to rest, ever. They do not think of my fear of wear
I'm new here!
Hi, my name is OneOfMany. I'm here because i don't talk to people much anymore, in person or online. I find the world overwhelming and am turned off by the negativity and extremism that exists in social media on all sides of any given topic.
I'm trying to better understand the world around me as well as relate to others who may feel something similar.
What are some helpful ways you regulate your emotions when you feel anxious and overwhelmed?
Hanging On the Edge: One Man's Perspective on Rock Climbing & the Therapeutic Relationship
Rock climbing saved my life. When I am on the side of that mountain, I feel more grounded, more alive, and more connected to the Universe. For me, it’s a holy place. This is my church. In my 32 short years on this planet, I have found climbing to be a beautiful metaphor for overcoming the difficulties life throws our way, sometimes.
In the rock climbing community as in everyday life, we refer to the obstacles we’re working through as “problems”. Although I am tired, hurting, and feel I can’t go on...I don’t give up. I continue pushing through the pain, doubt, and exhaustion until I finally reach the summit. At which point, I can reflect back on all the problems I overcame, the path I took, and what technique I used to get through it. Then, I can feel an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment for all my hard work. The next time I encounter a similar problem, I'll know what to do to get past it.
No one pushed or pulled me up the mountain. All that hard work was mine. The person on the ground belaying me is merely there to provide me with safety, support, and ensure I do not fall, should I stumble. Everything else is up to me. The more I work through my problems, with my friend supporting me on the ground, the stronger I become.
You see, therapy is a lot like rock climbing. In this allegory or metaphor, you (the climber) are the patient, the mountain is your crisis, the "problems" are all the obstacles that stand between you and overcoming the crisis such as the loss of a job or the death of a loved one or an illness, the summit is mental wellness, and the person belaying you is the therapist.
While your therapist doesn't tell you how to feel, what to think, or what conclusions to come to, they are there as a constant support to figuratively catch you should you have any setbacks during your journey. They keep you safe and secure by "holding the rope" so that you do not plummet, and so you can resume where you left off whenever you are ready.
You can absolutely achieve wellness on your own, or "free climb", but the trek will be significantly more difficult, and there will be no one "on the ground" to spot an easier path or remind you of different techniques you can implement to overcome those problem areas. So even though you are the one doing all the work, your therapist is an integral part of your team, who spots the problem areas ahead of time and assists in identifying the various tools you can use to get past them. In essence, they help you work through the problems in this way, without actually pulling or pushing you up the side of the "mountain". This is how you gain the strength and coping tools needed to persevere toward this summit and all future summits. Thus, rock climbing has taught me that when you replace "I" with "we", mental illness truly does become mental wellness❤
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I am so tired of my anxiety keeping me a prisoner in my home. I’m too afraid to leave my house to run basic but imperative errands. I’m terrified of making phone calls, even when it is in my best financial interest. I have no friends who understand or to help me. I’m sick of being terrified & I so long for the days when I was young & could go out with friends & have a good time. I just get sicker with each passing month. No treatment works.