Right now I am about to have a panic attack. I live in a condo and new neighbors are moving in next door only they want to do renovations first. It’s been quiet for over a year and now there is hammering and pounding and scraping that is loud and I can hear it through the wall. It sounds like it is right here in the room with me. I put ear plugs in just so I can try to write.
I got so frustrated and mad just now I kicked the wall several times to let them know how loud they were being. I’m sure they have no idea what I meant or that the message was for them. They have no idea why their noises bother me. Why should they?
Even people who used to be close to me do not understand. I am angry with myself right now because it makes me mad and I still don’t always get it – and I don’t like getting mad and kicking things. That is not who I want to be.
I know it’s not really me it’s – PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“People with PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger.” *
Symptoms include flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts, staying away from places or things that are reminder or the experience. Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event. Then there’s the one I’m really feeling today. Being easily startled, feeling tense or on edge. Difficulty sleeping or angry outbursts.*
These are not a full list of symptoms, but you understand if you are reading this more than likely you already get it. It can be beyond frustrating to live with. Our traumatic history of sexual assault leaves us with PTSD and it’s complicated.
Right now I’m scared to be in my own home. I don’t feel safe. All because of the noises and sounds that are not okay with my brain. I “know” they really aren’t going to hurt me, but my brain doesn’t get the message. That’s PTSD.
The ear plugs are helping some, but it makes me a prisoner in my own home. Plus I can still feel vibrations and hear some.
It’s like the fireworks on the Fourth of July. A car backfiring. The construction outside my therapist’s office that we had to work through so it was not an issue. Things that people who have not had our experiences can handle we have to work really hard to get through.
It takes a lot of emotional energy. It has brought me to tears today. I keep praying “God am I ever going to be past all of this?” You know the feeling right?
I tried writing a devotional earlier today and couldn’t concentrate because of the noise, but the verse was, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
I know God can deliver me from my fears, it’s the when that is the question. When will we be delivered from all of this – the frustrating symptoms of PTSD. I am impatient. I want it NOW. It has been 10 years so far and I’m not there yet so when?
I don’t know the answer to that but I know we must keep working and fighting to get better. It’s God’s way of healing us. Growing us. Giving up is not a choice. We must persevere so God can turn the sins done against us and turn them into good for His glory.
I have no idea what he has in store for my life or yours, but I do know He continues to surprise me. I never would’ve imagined I’d be writing to others online at any point in my life, much less have anyone reading it.
Nor would I have thought anyone would publish articles written by me about sexual abuse and this journey we’re on. However, they have and just this week another publication agreed to publish another article.
They may seem like little things, but to God there is nothing small about what we do for Him. He uses each of us and everything we do. So we must keep fighting and praying and holding onto God for dear life so that we cannot let evil win. That’s just what Satan wants. For this to get the best of us.
Don’t let it. I almost did today. I gave into my anxiety and anger and kicked the wall, complained, didn’t control my breathing. Then, I remembered to pray. Put in the ear plugs and wrote.
It doesn’t mean when I take them out I won’t fight feeling scared again. I’m still struggling with the ear plugs in. The PTSD symptoms are still there, but God is with me despite how horrible it feels. And many of PTSD symptoms make you feel like you’re dying sometimes don’t they?
So today let’s pray for God to continue to heal us on this journey and use everything we’re doing for His glory. – And remember you are not alone.
Please help me with these horrible symptoms of PTSD. They can be debilitating and frustrating beyond words. I need You to help me continue to fight and work in therapy to heal so the symptoms begin to fade away taking all my fears. Provide me with Your peace and love today. Help me breathe. Thank you for never leaving me and may this all be used for Your glory.
*PTSD information from nimh.hih.gov
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.