I am at times, my own worst enemy. Take my blogging site for instance. It took me a couple years to get to the point where I finally had the courage to get it up and finally make my first post. I spent weeks deciding on my lay out and months thinking about what I wanted my site to represent. I have now had it up for a few days, but I can’t muster up the courage to actually share it with anyone I know. My network of friends and family are the people that are most likely to take the time to read what I have written. These are the people who might actually share my blog and support me as I embark on this new adventure.
Why then? Am I ok with knowing strangers are reading my posts here on WordPress, but I am too scared to share it on my social media pages?
I have always been a very private person. There is only a handful of people who know the intricate and sometimes tragic events of my life. I have always done my best to appear as though I am a strong person. I have put up safe guards to protect me from having to deal with a lot of the emotions I have let build up over the past few decades. This was a huge mistake. Even as I write this, my stomach is churning and my anxiety feels like it’s going to eat me alive. Once I open this door, there is no closing it. I will have admitted to the world, that I am not as “fearless” as I have let on. I am not this “rock” that everyone has believed I was all these years. This scares the shit out of me.
I am tired of hiding. I miss my family and my friends. I have been in reclusivity for close to 6 years. Now don’t get me wrong. I do leave my house. I go to work, I take my kids to and from school each day, and I make an appearance at an occasional birthday party or business event. It is my way of keeping up the facade that everything is ok. I am the queen of cancelling, because I let my anxiety get the better of me and know that I can no longer keep up the appearance that I am ok.
I guess a part of me feels that I don’t want to lie to people when they ask how I’m doing. If I stay away, and am not in contact, I can just appear as though I’m busy, and hopefully no one will be the wiser. I equally don’t want to burden people with what is really going on in my life. People want to be around positive people. We all have that one Facebook friend who is always posting depressing quotes. I don’t want to be that girl.
My genuine goal is to shed light on how anxiety and depression can lead to PTSD. Once it does, it is no longer a tangible fix. I used to be someone who thought that PTSD was something “weak” people called depression, when they couldn’t deal with life. I truly did. I mean come on. Both of my parents died in my early twenties. My home flooded multiple timescale, I was raising two kids (one with serious health issues) with absolutely no support. I also had serious health issues and one of the closest people in my life was murdered. I most times worked multiple jobs, and made sure I was home every night cooking dinner and doing homework with my children. I had no social life and was extremely lonely. I knew at times I was depressed and suffered the occasional panic attack, but I was ok. Wasn’t I? I am painfully aware now that I wasn’t ok. There was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off inside of me. Little did I know, that I was about to have a real awakening of what can happen when you don’t deal with your mental health.
A house fire was the final trigger that sent me spiraling into the world of PTSD. Experiencing that fear and panic brought years of angst to the surface and consumed me like the plague. My thoughts raced at all times and I no longer had the ability to sweep events under the rug. My daily academy award deserving performances, that had previously kept the truth from most people in my life, were no longer possible. My acting days were over.
I had never been someone who was afraid. Fear was not in my vocabulary before PTSD. I took most things on with a vengeance and took pride in being “tough“. When you have PTSD everything starts to make you fearful. You start to doubt yourself and lose your confidence. The simplest tasks start to feel overwhelming and you no longer have the courage to try new things. You spend most of your day trying to hold on to the little pieces you have left of your former self. Fear will consume you if you let it.
I have had to take so many steps to overcome fear. I have had to adjust my life to ensure that it is more simplistic and more structured. I have take steps to lessen stress and the pressure I have always put on myself to make everything perfect. I have had to learn what aspects of my thought processes are actual fear or effects of my PTSD.
Taking this step of sharing my blog with the world is the scariest thing I have ever done. I am committed to sharing my raw truth with the hope that these experiences and the lessons I have learned will help someone else. I am hopeful that this process will help me too.
I have come a long way in the last year. I have achieved almost every goal I had set for myself and learned that it takes time to heal. This is the first step of many in facing my fears. I am no longer ashamed of having PTSD. It does not define me. Don’t be afraid to talk to me. I have missed you. I just didn’t know how to tell you what was going on until now.
If you have someone in your life that has been missing. Reach out. Remind them that you are there. When they are ready they will come back. Have patience. We never truly know what someone is going through. There are a lot of great actors amongst us.
Frank Herbert said it best – “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”