Snap out of it, You are Alive!!!
These were the words I heard outwardly as well-meaning persons /family member told me, and I must admit words that my inner voice screamed at me to follow.
I thought what is going on?
A question I could not answer, however, my intellect knew something was not right.
Let me invite you into my story. I thought I was a high functioning professional, on the outside everything appeared to check the boxes. ( I am sure for those reading this, you could relate) The check boxer person:
Go to work
Go to school
Look like you understand
Look like you have a life
However, just because the boxes were checked does not mean they were checked with the right item.
Behind the box, I was experiencing, sleepless nights, inconsistent sleep, jarring dreams, that woke me up, crying, fear of leaving the house, depression and self-defeating thoughts. Those were my new mini check boxes, behind the lipstick and lip-gloss.
There are many levels to post traumatic stress disorder and I was experiencing a good majority of PTSD symptoms. I was involved in a major car accident that left me with physical, financial, mental and spiritual injuries. Later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Some of the symptoms include:
Arousal and reactive symptoms
However, typically symptoms need to be present longer than a month and sometimes persist for a month to a year. This diagnosis is diagnosed by a professional, such as a licensed professional counselor/licensed clinical social worker/physician/psychiatrist.
My ability to “act normal” was fading or had faded and I was no longer able to mask this with my a lip-gloss and a smile.
The traumatic event that occurred, is what Peter Levine, in his book called, Waking the Tiger, describes as an event that causes dysregulation in the autonomic and core nervous system (Levine, 1997)
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a disconnection between the mind and body. In some cases, a dream-like state can occur in which you feel like you are floating and observing yourself from the outside, (sometimes known as dissociation). In my case, this happened after the accident and several times during recovery.
I was embarrassed I was experiencing this, until my therapist suggested viewing the situation differently, “perhaps looking at the situation as your body and mind protecting you to handle the situation”.
A light bulb went off, I started having a sense of gratitude for the protection.
For anyone experiencing any symptoms similar to ones mentioned previously, seek professional help.
Create a new box for yourself to check, instead of enforced checked boxes
Like lipstick can be used as an enhancer to yourself, instead of a mask, perhaps, therapy can be viewed as an enhancer to better mental health.
Your Neighbor in Life,
About the author
Christine L is a yoga instructor, life learner and survivor. A therapist seeking to continue healing and to assist others in the healing process of their own.
Levine, Peter. Waking the Tiger. Berkley, California. North Atlantic Books. 1997
American Psychiatric Association. 2017. What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? 06/08/2019.