WARNING: May have triggers for you. Very descriptive imagery.
Post traumatic stress disorder, I did not even know about this until I had it and I denied having it for a while before finally giving in and admitting I might actually have been weak enough to acquire such a horrible thing. This thought being 22 years ago. I now know that it is NOT a weakness to have PTSD, but a way the brain handles the horrific things that you go through. It is the strength of the human mind that allows PTSD to form, to shelter and protect you from ever being put in that situation again.
PTSD is serious. It alienates you from your friends and family, it takes away simple pleasures in your life, it makes you want to hide and fills you with fear of the unknown, crowds, sounds, movements. It affects all of your senses and has them on high alert for more trouble.
Overcoming PTSD is a life long ordeal. For me, it is knowing my fears and trying to face them, with affirmative action. I learned this after 20 years of counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Putting myself in situations that I did not like; driving, going to the grocery store, everyday activities that should not have been a challenge for me became near impossible to do. But with therapy and medication, I successfully got to a place in my life that I can live almost at ease. I still do not like crowds or enclosed areas. I don’t like feeling trapped and I never search out the cause of a commotion.
I’m going to bare it all here and hope that someone will get some good out of my story.
CAUTION: Reading beyond this point may produce a trigger for you. Please be advised.
I witnessed a fatal stabbing at work. At first I did not see anything, my brain shut down and though I could describe everything in great detail, I told the FBI, that I did not see anything because that is what my mind led me to believe. I went weeks with stomach problems, I started to lose weight quickly, I was eating heartily trying to keep my weight up. Then in a month’s time I was crying, for not reason that I knew of, tears were just running out of my face. I started missing work. I ran out of personal days and had to call the district office for time off. The man on the other end of the phone asked me why I was crying, I told him I did not know, that tears just fall out of my face and I can’t control it. His second question was, were you working the evening of Feb. 23rd. I said yes, but I didn’t see anything. He said that I did see something, but didn’t realize it and that very day he found me a counselor to go visit. I went to visit this counselor and that began my road to realization. I had in fact witnessed a man being stabbed to death by a woman with calculated determination. I described his face as the knife went in his stomach and lifted him up, I described how he fell to his knees as she sliced his arm and I described how he managed to get up and run holding his stomach, with her only steps behind him. He died at the hospital, a newly married, young man with a 1 month old baby. The woman got 10 years probation. A mere slap on the wrist and this terrified me to my core. What if I saw her in town, what if she came after me, what if, what if, what if…..the what ifs never end. The what ifs have not ended. I have just learned to push them aside. I still see his face, his eyes of fear while he struggled to regain his footing. I still see her blank stare, her determination, her vile intent. What if I see her in a store in town? I would ignore her, as if I didn’t even see her. She is nothing to me, she has to live with what she did, and I think that knowing it affected me is not in my best interest.
My therapist has retired. I have gone through spells of deep depression without her, I have been suicidal and homicidal. But I have a very supportive husband and he sees the depression and gets me to my neurologist who prescribes the medications I need to survive. I am in search of a new psychologist or psychiatrist that can take over my case because I feel I still need counseling. A little help to take off the edge, a little more cognitive therapy. I do not feel like I am free of PTSD, I do not think I will ever be free of it, but I will not let it kill me.
I hope that you get help with your PTSD. Recognize it for what it is and fight against it. Be the new you, because the old you is no more. You have to adjust to your new way of being whole. It isn’t the way you were before because your brain has altered that self, but this new self can be better than the old self with new insights and enlightenment of just how awesome the brain is.
Take care of yourself first. You are not able to take care of others if you are a mess. Visit some websites and find a counselor or therapist. If you have to wait for an appointment, find someone to talk to that can sit and listen and bare it all. It is ok, you will be ok, if you allow yourself to be. You are not responsible for what took place, you should not feel guilty. You can be in control, take affirmative action to help yourself.
Get help if you’re in crisis
If you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else:
(1-800-273-8255) anytime to talk to a crisis counselor.
The call is confidential (private) and free.
Chat online with a crisis counselor anytime at
You can also call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
Here are a few websites to look at: