I have written before about the fact that I use my personal experiences in my writing. There are many writers that despise the saying "write what you know" but for me it is an excellent jumping off point. I have also shared the fact that I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Earlier this year I began an ambitious and hopefully therapeutic project called Sharing Strength.
Sharing Strength follows a support group for people diagnosed with PTSD for various reasons. They are all broken people that need support and a place to feel safe. Some of them take the group and advice to heart others struggle more. As I have been writing the book I have gotten to know the characters as I do with all of my stories. Two of the characters, the young women, have parts of me in them. Each carries the burden of having experienced one of the reasons I was diagnosed so many years ago.
One of them, Jasmine, is the survivor of an abusive relationship and I have tried to be true to my experience in order to heal as I got the chance to right some wrongs between the ending of her story and mine. I shared the full background of Jasmine in a short story called survivor and I am tremendously proud of it. I am also extremely proud of her for making it through everything she experienced.
The only problem of sharing her story was that it meant sharing mine and I have spent half of my life working hard to bury the memories. It destroyed me to go through it the first time and it devastated me to relive it. Over the last two days I have suffered one of the worst flashback / nightmare infested nights and panic attack times of my life. I had a complete melt down while trying to do my job. For the first time in nearly a decade I felt out of control and honestly afraid to be alone.
I am doing better but still struggling today and I am just hoping I can make it through the rest of Sharing Strength without having another anxiety attack. I believe in this book and I hope it can help people that are suffering like me. I want people that have this disorder to understand that they are not alone and that it is not about being weak. At the same time I found myself feeling exactly like that so I am doing everything in my power to help my own problems as well as reach out to others feeling the same way I have and currently do.