Saturday, October 4, 2014

What is it Like to Have Post Traumatic Stress?

I don't know why I feel so compelled to record this, but I feel a greater Hand than mine urging me to answer the question so many have asked me.  I must confess I used to be one of those who believed that these so called psychological ills were simply a lack of mind over matter and that such things were often the result of people willfully choosing to prove weak in the ordinary course of human trial.  I could not have been more wrong.

The circumstances of my trauma are so varied and difficult to discuss that I will simply say that mine is a type of compound trauma, arising from many things and culminating through many years of extraordinary difficulty as well as some short lived traumatic experiences.  Once I officially had post traumatic stress the circumstances in which I found myself worsened, hastening me toward the very severe condition I have now.  

I recall the day the traumatic stress hit.  I was alone in my home with my daughter and pregnant with my son when I sudden began hallucinating and falling onto the couch, held my head between my hands for my mind felt so badly squeezed into a vise and locked down immovably that I felt it would literally crack at any moment.  All my exertions proved vain and in desperate confusion I cried out, "What is happening to me?"  At once I felt a strong impression, indeed a voice, which said, "Calm down.  You are going to be okay.  You have post traumatic stress."  I had little studied the condition but now uncovered my old college psychology textbook and reviewed the list of symptoms.  I had been profoundly experiencing every last one.  

Generally the condition proves seasoned by continual attacks of nightmares, lack of emotion, flashbacks, and the inability to live life as one did before its onset.  I remember staring blankly at the wall for I know not how long and thinking I can't feel anything.  I had lost the ability to feel happiness, sadness, love or virtually anything else.  Indeed, at its worst the only emotion I never lost was compassion.  

Due to the circumstances my symptoms worsened and involved the sensation of anguish filling every inch, every cell of my body, and I have at length become rather prone to fainting through the toll it has taken on my body.  I remember for what I vaguely recall as weeks, a constant sense of wetness in my skin as though pain were continually seeping out of every pore of my body.  I lost the ability to read, write, sing, and converse normally with people.  I am told, and can well believe that I looked as a walking corpse, with no life in my eyes or expression for many months on end.  The most compelling symptom I have is a very rare one known in psychology as a pseudo seizure.  I have known some cases in which people have died from this condition, as indeed nearly happened to me.  The strain of involuntary convulsion proves too much for the already weakened frame and heart, leading to the heart skipping or stopping completely.  I have come to that point and by only the grace of God still sit here to record such things for the public eye.

I do not know why I have felt so compelled to write as I have but know the Lord wishes me to do so.  Perhaps it is for my own sake or for that of a beloved reader, but one of the greatest things I have learned through this experience and which has carried me through it against all reason and imagination, is that when the Lord impresses me to do something, that I immediately and entirely comply.

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