About the author; this article is very personally written. However, it is necessary as I have been receiving a lot of inquiries about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and assumptions of my condition. I have come to realize with my latest popularity on-line as Sheer Julious; most of my readers have no idea what PTSD really is, or what kind of person may suffer from this illness.
Yes, PTSD is a mental illness that in now my disability. The more I understand why I suffer from it the easier it is to live with it. People who suffer from PTSD are not crazy, however many people self-medicate as a way of running from their symptoms. This is more dangerous than admitting you may need to see a therapist. Self-medicating with alcohol and marijuana or an anticipated self-dosing of prescription drugs is not the way to heal. In fact it will cause your symptoms to become much worse. Then you become a danger to yourself as well as others.
My goal here is to be up front and personal. I started the Sheer Julious Network to bring awareness about the misunderstanding and discrimination towards people with this type of mental illness. I want to help those who encounter such symptoms either themselves or via someone else.
- I will start with the “WHY”
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. This definition is supplied by the Mayo Clinic staff at http://www.mayoclinic.com . Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Let’s take a moment to remember those who experienced the 9/11 attacks in New York City. I believe there are many people who still experience trauma from that day who don’t realize they should seek counselling. However, is counselling really a good idea? Most health insurance companies question the validity of therapy and having to cover you means you will have mental illness documented on your medical history. (MIB Report)
What does that mean? It means if you need to get better health insurance or life insurance, it just became that much more difficult and more expensive. It can also mean questionable career opportunities because the symptoms could arise as negative on a personality test. Having a mental illness does not make you a bad employee, however it is determined when you have to take a personality test for employment. This is discriminatory. You never get to find out the results of such tests, and taking them are mandatory at some companies for employment. It is how they get around the discrimination clause and they are not required to give you the results.
How many times have you heard; a company will Google your name to find out about your on-line presence before offering employment? Delving into your personal life is definitely a recruiting requirement now a days. Is it causing a lot of people to become un-employable? I have found jobs that I feel I may qualify for; but who would hire someone like me? I am public about my illness and my lifestyle. I am being judged on my assumed beliefs and assumed lifestyle and the fact that I have a mental illness. How many people are disgustingly honest on-line? I can promise you I am. I know no other way. However, I do believe I may be a minority on this matter. Many people will suffer because of the one; myself included. Most people will assume I am simply crazy and not worth listening to.
- Let us consider the symptoms of PTSD.
The mayo Clinic staff states the following:
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms typically start within three months of a traumatic event. In a small number of cases, though, PTSD symptoms may not appear until years after the event. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyper-arousal).
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go. You may have more post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms when things are stressful in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. You may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences, for instance. Or you may see a report on the news about a rape and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.
That being said, I have come across many people who assume I am a veteran because I suffer from PTSD. The Mayo Clinic documents this is not necessarily the case. PTSD is caused by many factors including what is referred to as "shell shock," "battle fatigue" or "combat stress." Post-traumatic stress disorder is especially common, among those who have served in combat, however they are realizing this is not an exclusive cause.
Additional causes to PTSD are, as documented by the Mayo Clinic:
• Being female
• Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
• Having experienced other trauma earlier in life
• Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
• Lacking a good support system of family and friends
• Having first-degree relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD
• Having first-degree relatives with depression
• Having been abused or neglected as a child
I can tell you first hand, this entire list covers the reasoning I suffer today from PSTD. However, I am very aware of my illness as well as my symptoms. This knowledge has empowered me to take control of my illness. I handle myself in a holistic way with balance. Although I still have days when I am more symptomatic than others; I recognize it. I consider the trigger and handle myself accordingly. My knowledge on this subject has become the weapon against my symptoms. Therefore the fact that I have the ability of self-control is proof. I am not crazy.
My symptoms were very confusing before I was diagnosed. I actually began to believe I was possibly schizophrenic because I have a family history of it. I suffered a serious blow to my wellbeing more times than I care to admit. It caused me to fall off the edge into self-destruction. About two years ago I experienced a traumatic event that pushed me into a never ending nightmare in my brain, I could not escape. I was experiencing time loss. My mind would just "check out" on it's own. Without drugs or alcohol, I was experiencing blackout type symptoms. I walked into the hospital on my own, in total shock after coming back to reality one day. I was hospitalized and put into a treatment plan. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I thank God, no one was hurt.
Yes, in the beginning I had to take some serious medications, however today my medication is minimal. My health and my mind are very clear and my symptoms are controllable. However, the treatment necessary for my full recovery is very difficult to accomplish. Unfortunately after having to move to Monroe County, we are learning it is very difficult to get treatment for mental illness holistically when your only income and medical coverage are Social Security Disability Benefits.
This is an on-going report. Check back soon as I will continue to cover the progress I am making and the challenges I am facing in Rochester New York. You’ll be surprised how strong a woman can be when it comes to her own health and wellness. I refuse to be addicted to medications and alcohol. I refuse to give my life up to a mental illness caused by the experiences in my life.
I am not reporting only for myself, but for the millions of people who suffer every day from anxiety and stress disorders. I understand better than most why it is not a good idea to be public about your own mental health; however in my case the damage is done. I pray that someone will benefit from my story.
I am praying every day that by sharing my story, I will empower others to live healthy and happy lifestyles. It is very difficult to survive without the judgmental risk assessments of our government. I believe mental illness needs a closer look and more research. To find out more and how you can help the cause, please donate to my campaign.
Go to my blog at http://sheerjuliousnetwork.com for the in-depth story and what I am doing to help myself today.
I welcome your comments.