Sufferer My Mind, the battlefield

Or my personal favorite… “we all have bad days”
Such statements make me mad.. Like, when you are feeling so depressed, that you get suicidal thoughts, and someone tells you to simply take a hot bath and smile a bit more.

I'm a little late to the party but I'll throw in my own experience. I never ever tell people I have PTSD - or any other diagnosis from the mental menu. I had extremely negative reactions from everyone - close friends, acquaintances, family members, co-workers, and especially the people I attended church with - when word got out I was (gasp!) a crazy lady! Translation: I had "emotional issues." PTSD is considered Super Crazy. Stigma is wicked!

Before I was officially labeled "crazy," life was fine. In fact, not long before the crazy got out I was asked, "How does it feel to live a charmed life?" Ha! Had them fooled, didn't I? Anyway, people just "adjusted" to my little quirks. For example, I have a gigantic startle response. People learned not to enter my office unannounced without expecting a loud scream or a ceiling-high jump. So, when people entered our building they would stick their head in the outer door and sweetly yell, "M, I'm coming in!" That could also set me off, but at least they weren't standing right in front of me to witness it.

Quirks like being labeled "jumpy" are fine. Having a physical diagnosis like diabetes or Black Swamp Bug Eye Disease is fine. But any kind of mental issue makes people uncomfortable. They don't want to hear about it. They really don't want to catch it. They'd rather you just stay home until you are completely cured.
Hey, thanks for contributing to the conversation!
It's so sad to hear that you made such painful experiences. One should expect to find compassion and protection in a church, it's outrageous that you where stigmatised by the people there. And if even close friends judged you.. it's quite understandable that you prefer to be simply a jumpy person, even that means hiding your true self.
I bet all those people who don't want to "catch" mental health issues, are also the ones who close their eyes to violence and abuse in their neighbourhood. Thus, they indirectly support the perpetrators. Because of them so many bad stuff continues to happen.
I do hope that you will find some trustworthy persons in your vicinity, who are ready to embrace you with all your inner scars.
 
Thanks a lot for your advice! I guess, that is quite a sensible approach, and it's good to hear that it helps you to successfully navigate social situations.
It reminds me of something my therapist told me. In his youth, he suffered from severe anxiety as well. But he knew that people would have judged him harshly, if he had opened up about his issues, so he just told them that he had trouble with his blood pressure, and fits of migraine.
I just find it very sad, that it seems to be necessary to shield one's self from people's deplorable narrow-mindedness by holding back the true emotions. I long for deep, authentic communication, and I am shocked to stumble over the prejudice of being a "crazy person" again and again. I know it may sound naive, but it feels really unfair to have suffered so much, only to be treated like an outcast as a consequence. I am so sick of pretending to be normal, only to meet people's expectations of how an agreeable person should behave.
Do you feel similar sometimes?
The simple is - all they have is anecdotal knowledge of what PTSD is. Even for me as a sufferer it's hard to wrap my head around all of what it is. It's like an amoeba that can absorb this or that and it varies by person and some symptoms are paralleled by chronic illnesses, and it doesn't fit any one single definition.

That and what one of my favourite psychoanalysts said: “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.”― C.G. Jung

In the 45 years I have had it I have learned one thing that gets me through a lot. It is. Two words, four letters and it says to quit worrying about things you can't change. So if you cant change it but you carry on fighting it? Ever heard the story of Don Quixote? It Is solves that. If you can't change it then why waste time and sanity fighting it. Realize it will not change, and if it will not change then you need to change something.

Something I learned doing sales is relateability. If you want to be better at it, read "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Being relatable means finding common ground with people. Activities, sports, telling jokes, There's an endless list of things you could have in common. Learn to find them. When they are shared you have common ground and something to talk about. Something like anxiety - is relatable. PTSD is something that the only people that really understand it is people with it. So to be relatable - simplify. Make it easy not awkward.

Once you have that then you will show them what PTSD is. They will learn from you and perhaps change their minds about what PTSD really is. Instead of feeling anxious themselves abut what they don't understand, they will admire you for managing to get through life.

Last but not least - learn here like I did how to define your PTSD by leaning how to live with the everyday rather than letting your PTSD define you. What does that mean? Manage the everyday. Figure out what you can and cannot do. Do what you can and make no excuses. Nobody you want to hang out with someone who sits and talks about all their problems constantly. So learn not to be that guy either. It's not "Oh poor me I have PTSD and I can't do that" it's "Sorry I cant do that because it affects my PTSD, have a great time - maybe we can get together after/later."
I like the part about managing the everyday. There is no point in remaining in self-pity.
I don't know what to think about making it super easy for other people to relate to you, though. If someone claims to like me, can't I expect them to Invest a little cognitive nd emotional effort in order to understand my situation? Why should I struggle, so that they can remain in their comfort zone?
I am willing to learn a lot about their reality, can't I expect the same in return?
 
I like the part about managing the everyday. There is no point in remaining in self-pity.
👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 That's where better starts. Knowing what stresses you, managing stress, keeping that stress cup down to manageable.

To simplify, find things in common - that's what you relate to. If you like coffee - hang out where people drink coffee.....

Say hello - good morning - good afternoon - and mean it.

Find something interesting or compliment them - that's a nice.....purse, shoes, bag. Are you enjoying that book? There are a million ways to say something nice to or compliment someone...
 
Back
Top