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When PTSD Makes You 'Shut Down' and Put Up Walls

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It’s absolutely terrifying to open up and be exposed. I keep having the urge to shut down, put up all my walls and hide inside them. It’s like being closed off on all sides and the walls are too high for anyone to reach. Makes me feel temporarily invincible.

• What is PTSD?

No one can touch me. No one can reach me or get close enough to hurt me. It’s a cruel and dangerous world to live in. I truly have a difficult time trusting anyone because of trauma and life experience. Some days I feel like everyone in my life and the entire world are against me and there’s no way anyone could truly love me.

Battling with this mentality makes it hard to trust myself or what’s good for me. Sometimes I’m ashamed or embarrassed and want to hide. I used to not give it any thought. When there was too much for me to cope with, I’d impulsively shut down. It helped me survive a horrific past. However, living on the defensive as an adult feels like I’m constantly fighting for my life and I can not escape the danger my mind perceives.

When I felt impending doom, real or imagined, I would hide and have a false sense of security. When I was hurt, I’d make walls of steel to protect me. When I felt like a burden to others and thought I should keep quiet about my feelings and what I was going through, it was a natural reaction to just shut down and put all my walls up.

It doesn’t help, though. Afterwards, I’d feel even more alone. I just shut out any potential love from reaching me. I’ve realized shutting down really isn’t as safe as it seems. People scare me, but I need you.

Lately, I am really fighting myself on this. Fighting to stay when I want to hide. Fighting to be brave when my heart is so heavy it feels weak and fighting to live when I just don’t have the drive. Fighting when all I want to do is rest.

Thinkstock photo via Marakit_Atinat.

Originally published: February 17, 2017
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