It is common to be diagnosed with PTSD if you experienced sexual assault. With that in mind I wrote this letter. I hope is resonates with you and if you need to write one to someone you will be encouraged.
I have complex PTSD. That is complex post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s complex because it was more than one traumatic event, it was too many to count that resulted in my PTSD. Specifically sexual assault. Which is any form of sexual abuse, rape, molestation, or unwanted sexual contact. This is not something I can just “get over”. I have to work through it, process every event that happened so that it no longer affects me. It is a long process. Please be patient with me.
My life with PTSD is difficult. I wake up in the morning and just getting ready is a task in itself. I have to have everything I need to get ready laid out or I forget to do something to get ready. If my hairbrush isn’t out I forget to brush my hair. If my deodorant isn’t out I forget to put it on. My mind does not work like a normal mind. I don’t really have much of a memory.
When I come downstairs for breakfast I have to have everything laid out again or I struggle to remember to take my medication and drink a glass of water to start the day. To remember to do my devotional I have to keep my book and Bible in a basket on my kitchen table. If one thing changes, I don’t remember what to do.
If things need to be done, such as the house needs to be cleaned I have to make a list. Look at it regularly and mark things off as I go. This is the reason I do not work. I simply do not have the brain function to be able to maintain a job right now. One day I hope that will change as I heal and process. Please pray that it does.
I startle easily. Please don’t ever scare me on purpose. I keep my phone on vibrate most of the time because I can’t handle the sounds from it when the house is silent. Loud noises are even worse.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder so I avoid large crowds. Traffic is difficult for me to drive in. I don’t sleep well. I toss and turn all night. Most days I feel like I live in my own little prison. However, I am in therapy working very hard to get better. But this is a marathon, not a sprint.
You can support me by not telling me to “get over it and get on with my life.” Helping me get out and do small things where not a lot of people are around. Walks are always nice. Calling me on the phone. Sending me a card (yes the United States Postal Service is still in service) to let me know I’m not forgotten. People with PTSD need all the social support we can get since we tend to isolate because we get overwhelmed so easily.
One day I will share more with you about what it’s like for me to live with PTSD. Thank you for listening to what I shared with you today. I can use all the support I can get.
Do you need to write a letter to someone explaining what it is like to live with PTSD? Depression? Anxiety? Putting your feelings on paper can help you release anger and frustration. I encourage you to write down what you can, even if it’s just for you.
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.