You Know You Have PTSD When...


... you are, again, on the not-so-merry-go-round of

1. why am i so irritable lately?
2. oh, it's (identify reminder or stressor here).
3. well that's stupid it was NBD and it's been forever since then anyway. why the f*ck is that ancient crap still even registering? (bonus points if the thing hasn't registered in a while and has, for some damn reason, started doing so again)
4. oh, i'll just put this out of mind and it'll blow over like usual (dive into avoidance of choice)
5. nope, still there. causing problems. now in more aspects of life. And now more things feel related when they usually wouldn't ping any kind of troublesome memory or association.
6. Scold yourself for increasing wussiness this "stressor scope creep" indicates.
7. fine, maybe i WILL give this "therapy" thing a try. for this instead of the wrong thing this time.
8. waffle on legitimacy of issue and whether it's worth the trouble and nerves of finding a few therapists, checking them out, etc. just to probably have them say i was right and this is nothing (and totally normal and justified so shut up, you dramatic attention grabbing liar)
9. realize you now have felt physically like shit for days or weeks, sleep has gone largely to hell, and you are eating the same 3 items (once a day) and have gone from "irritable" to not feeling anything. Get popup pieces of memory at quiet or inconvenient times.
10. ok, never mind about therapy, too much trouble. I'll talk with spouse a little bit.
11. no, can't do that because then THEY'LL KNOW and that'll be the end of that.
12. write a teeny vague bit in private online journal or spill the beans to spouse a little & so vaguely they don't have a clue what the deal is
13. freak out for days about oversharing and start planning to just drive off one morning and let them start over with a new relationship, because it feels like you went into way too much specific detail, you clingy, needy, dramatic freak.
14. "know" (feel convinced that) "they" (people who made shit decisions) probably know you said this and how's that going to make THEM feel? Also get the feeling that you have a neon sign health-bar type indicator broadcasting your freakness/weakness to your in-laws, work people, the grocery cashier, all and sundry. Best never to go out there again.
15. at some point after that realize oh, hey, it's gone! I'm finally over it! (and also obviously i was just exaggerating and "trauma" doesn't apply to me, i'm just a wimp and/or fake)
16. you decide you think even if you somehow did have it, "healing" your "trauma" is probably pointless now (no "pre-" to "return" to) if not impossible because "this is just my personality anyway." And besides, dissociation and not being consumed by stupid feelings makes you more efficient and competent.
17. What was I even going on about? There was no trauma, so no problem, so nothing to get over or need fixing. How embarrassing to get into such a manufactured tizzy.

the merry go round functions at pretty predictable times of year. and after surprise or repeat run ins with reminders of certain kinds. but no, it's nothing and i'm fine except for being such a damn self-centered baby.

... You also know (believe at least for a while that old T may have been right) you might really have PTSD when you came to contribute a one-line reply to the "Eff mother's day and all of the ads leading up to it" thread, didn't find one, and chicken out of creating one (am in step 8 above right now) so you post here instead.

... AND YET underneath "knowing" you do, also "knowing" you can't have PTSD because c'mon, it's not like you had the two causes they ever show in media.

... you crack open a trauma fix-it book in a pique of "i'm gonna do something about this!" or looking for strategy or perspective because it helped that way previously, and immediately use it to "disqualify" yourself.

... you don't realize how much the lack of triggers and stressors in your life is due to avoidance-via-lifestyle & doesn't hold when you are pressured or required to spend much time outside of that zone.