PTSD is a Real Bitch

My reality today differs from a year ago. I’m not the same person, because both my truth and beliefs have drastically changed.

Unfortunately, I can’t fight reality. With so many things out of my control, I try to control who I’m around. I’ve become so accustomed to being alone that most people’s energy disrupts my healing, especially if their energy sucks. The wrong stimulus bothers my symptoms, so if people aren’t chill, I can’t have them around. There are only a few visitors whose company isn’t draining, so this process of eliminating people that don’t listen, speak over me, or treat me with any ounce of disrespect, is a job in itself. Drama and stress exacerbate my symptoms, and I’m already miserable. So, people can either add to my progress or well-being, or they can come back after they work on themselves. Simple as that.

Prior to the hammock incident, my mental health was improving significantly. The antidepressant improved my sleep, which gave me more energy, and my memory and thoughts improved, enabling me to accomplish some things. I even managed to gain a pound or two, depending on the day. Writing a paragraph was a step up to feeling better, as well. Successfully completing a few tasks helped me to feel like I was moving forward. Even though I know I will never be 100%, feeling good mentally helps to deal with it. I wasn’t exactly feeling hopeful, but neither was I waking up every day wanting to die, which is how I measure the medication’s success.

And now all of that success has been reversed.

Since the hammock incident, my mental health has declined, and I didn’t realize how badly until a few days ago. I am experiencing classic PTSD symptoms: anxiety and depression are in overdrive, restless sleep, lack of focus, and the feeling of wanting to crawl into a hole and die. I feel powerless, hopeless, oppressed, defenseless, and overall, helpless. Feeling trapped in a corner with nowhere to go, I sink further into depression and solitude. The pound or two gained, lost again. And now, I am reliving several events over a lifetime in which I was alone and helpless and/or too physically weak to defend myself in situations in which people crossed boundaries, particularly men.

Typically, I deal with stress and emotions by reading or writing and doing other activities that calm my brain. Now I lack the energy and focus to concentrate on much of anything. (Writing this is taking several tries.) 

I’ve had discussions with both my psychologist (monthly counseling), and psychiatrist (for medication, every 6 weeks), regarding the creepy neighbor’s personal boundary issues. Both were concerned about this man’s behavior, and it took their validation for me to realize this is a much bigger problem than I thought.

I’d been second-guessing, asking myself, Am I overreacting? Is it all in my head? I’ve become so accustomed to men treating me like a free-for-all or that I owe them something, of being gaslighted and accused of overreacting, that I hardly recognize the seriousness of the shit that happens to me until it’s all said and done. Then no one can figure out why I’m experiencing PTSD, because women are written off as crazy and overreacting or making shit up.

The psychiatrist is upping my low dose of antidepressants by 10mg, so I hope it helps with anxiety and insomnia. I feel like those two go hand in hand with the more severe depression symptoms. But no amount of medication is going to change who lives next door or what the next creepy man will do when I’m defenseless. I can only prepare myself so much, but why should I have to?

Why can’t men just LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE!!!

Attempting to keep my mind occupied as much as possible only goes so far. Physical symptoms are the primary cause of why I rarely leave the house, because there is nowhere to go when you don’t feel well. I would love to go to somewhere in nature by the water in the evening without tourists, but not alone. The possibility of being approached by a creep is high, because I live in Florida.

Until recently, there was literally nowhere for me to feel comfortable alone, except at home. I made it my little sanctuary, since I am mostly housebound. And now that is eliminated, thanks to another conservative Christian man without boundaries.

There is no safe place in this world for women. NOT A FUCKING ONE.

“Trust issues” can’t even begin to describe my feelings about everything in life. I feel like I am constantly looking over my shoulder when I leave the house, and now I have to in my own living space. This is a never-ending, gut-wrenching feeling of being watched. For instance, I was sitting on my porch using my laptop, so the light blinded me, but it was also pitch dark outside. Creepy neighbor was outside without his flashlight, creeping around the yard while his wife’s car was gone. I heard the dog’s tags jiggling nearby, but I could see nothing. It was like being in a fucking horror movie, knowing someone’s eyes were on me. My stomach churned, and I ended up going inside. I wanted to throw up.

I don’t want to be alone around people in public at all. AT ALL. I do not trust what could happen, because I’m weak and cannot physically protect myself. I am not emotionally ready to run into anyone I don’t want to see. Everywhere I go is a memory or sound that I never wish to experience again. I’m anxious about running into someone—including going to appointments at the VA, where there’s a good chance of running into an ex or someone they know. It would only aggravate stress, and I need to heal first. 

I have no other options, except to continue the way I’m going until I’m forced to do something else. Or until something magically happens, which is highly unlikely. I’m stuck. I’m sick. My future is bleak. With everything going on, I feel like there is nothing left in life for me. Where do I go from here?

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