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If the Election Anniversary Is Hard for You, You're Not Alone

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Anniversaries have always been a difficult part of my PTSD experience.

Traumatic memories can resurface at any time, but studies have shown that “on the anniversary of traumatic events, some people may find that they experience an increase in distressing memories of the event” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).

• What is PTSD?

For many of us living with PTSD from sexual assault, seeing a man accused of violence against women win the highest office in our country has become a deeply triggering event.

For 365 days, I have been reminded that sexual assault allegations are not enough to keep a man from the presidency.

For 365 days, I have been reminded of my PTSD symptoms more often than I used to be.

For 365 days, PTSD survivors have been made fun of for being triggered and told to, “just get over it.”

On November 8, 2017, I am torn between the joy of celebrating my 22nd birthday and the distress of reliving election night. But most importantly, I want other sexual assault survivors to know they are not alone.

If the election anniversary was triggering for you, it doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you need to “just get over” anything. It doesn’t mean you are overreacting or being “too emotional.”

If remembering the election is causing a spike in PTSD symptoms, give yourself permission to turn off the news for the day. Your mental illness is something no one has the right to invalidate.

It’s going to be an emotionally difficult day for me. But we’re going to get through it. Together.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

Unsplash photo via Anca Luchit

Originally published: November 10, 2017
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