Last night I got a spark of inspiration and was able to write, Most importantly I was able to write through the first major conflict in Sharing Strength. There are still a number of issues to address in the book but I have been t a tremendous standstill on this first one. Because there is an aspect of parts of my life woven into the fabric of each of these characters I know their pain and I also am weighed down with the guilt of putting them through these frustrating situations.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complicated thing to be diagnosed with. I have been doing my best to understand it for nearly a decade and while I pushed it to the back of my mind for years afraid it made me weak or less than others around me I have come to see it not as something I need to hide from nor coward behind but rather it is simply a part of me that I handle as best I can.
It does not make me weak. I have known many with the disorder that feel like I did, that it lessens them in the eyes of those around them. If anyone truly looks down on someone with PTSD then they do not fully comprehend what it is that the afflicted person is dealing with. It is not a disease it is a psychological reaction to a traumatic event or series of events. In my case it began when I was in my early teens and continued until my early twenties through a number of actions and my responses to them.
Like any person coping with PTSD I did not ask for this and I did not cause it. So many people will say that a person brought it on themselves but I promise you from the bottom of my heart no one would choose to have these complications. The nightmares and flashbacks, the uncontrollable panic attacks, knowing logically that the person or situation that hurt you is not there but being unable to calm yourself down. The constant stress in your life and the honest belief that you did this to yourself and that something must be wrong with you because you cannot simply get over it like those around you seem to be able to do.
No one has the right to tell you how to feel but when you suffer from PTSD they try. There are also those that believe it is only something that affects the military. This is completely untrue. Yes there are a significant number of cases in active and veteran military members. The combat situations they endure are extreme and it is understandable why so many deal with psychological demons after they return home. It is not their fault just like anyone else dealing with the diagnosis.
There are so many other ways to get it though and that is why this book is so important to me. It showcases characters that have gone through a large spectrum of situations that have all led to therapy and the PTSD support group. They all deal with their own nightmare scenarios, their personal coping mechanisms and of course try to interact with each other. The book demonstrates not only the different aspects of how they came to be there but also the importance of having the support they need.
I am fortunate that I was able to get help and learn some ways to handle it when my anxiety takes over. I have an incredible support network and I am thankful beyond words for that. But even with my help and support I still have extremely bad days. It is my goal to publish this book and get the word out about what those like me are dealing with and to let them know that they are not alone. We need to stand as one until each and every person suffering has a place to feel safe and happy.