“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.”― Juliette Lewis
“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.”― Susan Pease Banitt
Speaking Only For Myself, My Mental Health Issues Include Anxiety, Depression and PTSD
Speaking on PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.The Mayo Clinic
Our lives would be much easier if mental health issues were something we’d been taught about as children.
It’s only in the last 3 years, in all of human history, that we as a global society have decided to really talk about mental health issues, and we are very selective about the kinds of mental health issues that we actually discuss.
We still struggle – as human beings – to talk about sexual abuse, religious and cult abuse, and experiences that Soldiers face when they are fighting abroad for “our freedom.” In the 90s we were conditioned to believe that ONLY armed, government-employed soldiers could experience PTSD.
It was only later, many years later after Desert Storm, that we learned PTSD can attack and affect literally anyone, for any fucking reason that you can imagine.
PTSD doesn’t care about your race, age, size, orientation, where you come from in the world, what you do for a job, or what you look like. If PTSD were a living breathing thing, it would have 1 mission and 1 mission only: DESTROY ALL TEH THINGS!
PTSD is like that. It goes from “huh, okay this particular triggers me and that’s something to deal with,” to “500 ALARM FIRE THE WORLD IS ENDING EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY AND I CAN’T HANDLE ANY FUCKING THING.”
It can take a lot to get people to understand, believe, and trust that you are dealing with mental health issues due to PTSD, which means that it can be a really long wait between understanding you have PTSD and actually getting help to treat that PTSD.
Speaking on Anxiety
Anxiety is the worst for me, because it’s to my mind and not to my mind alone, the silliest. Anxiety tends to make me afraid, like all the time. I’m like a puppy watching squirrels for the first time, “oh look oh look oh look oh look oh look,” constantly though, I’m looking for danger.
I don’t go anywhere unless I can go in a cab, so that I never, ever have to travel alone, lately especially I’ve been isolating myself more because of whatever I’m dealing with, and I am constantly worried something is bad going to happen.
This often means that I don’t go anywhere, because travelling by bus, even though I can, would actually mean that I’d be at risk of seeing a former abuser. Given the number of attacks random strangers have experienced on the buses across BC lately, I feel this is a valid argument for staying the fuck home.
Speaking on Depression
When I first moved to Surrey BC I was alone. I didn’t know anyone and it took me a really long time to make friends. Many good times, many beers, many joints, and many bad experiences later, I am alone again and honestly, this just feels safer. Many people assume that I’m lonely but I’m not, what I am is bored and un-entertained by the continual stream of global traumas happening around the world.
Depression is different for me. I don’t clean as much as I need to, I don’t interact with my local community the way I used to, and I’m struggling to find my place in the world and where I might fit given both my community-based experience and my mental health issues.
Depression for me comes with the fact that I’m living in poverty, I am not where I thought I would be, and life most certainly didn’t turn out the way that I thought it would. THAT BEING SAID, that’s just me, there are a variety of other reasons people are depressed that have nothing to do with why I am, but I can’t speak for other folks.
For some people, it’s all-consuming and way too much, and it’s a constant state of “what will people think?” especially when those people have power over us. Friends, family, home managers, apartment managers, politicians, doctors, friends, allies, and organizations designed to help us.
All of these groups of people, or individuals, have the power to alter the things that make us most comfortable and feel safe, and while THEY may think they’re doing the best possible, honestly when people force their help on me, it often sends me into a state of shock and makes things much worse.
I don’t find people trying to take care of me comfortable because I’ve not used to it, and often terrified of the prospect of asking for real help.
Lots of folks struggle, so be patient with us, give us time to find our footing again and understand that may take a while. Not everyone can just “get over” the shit that we’ve been through.
Understand that when you offer us help, we probably have very valid reasons for saying no and that it’s never okay to force your help on someone without their consent, no matter how well-meaning you think you’re being.
Especially for those escaping or living with domestic violence, (read gang violence as well,), you could actually be causing us to be in more danger.
Many of us know what we’re doing, but many of us are just as equally lost. Use your best judgement, and always, make sure you’re willing to have a serious, honest, and open conversation BEFORE you try to force your help on someone else.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
If you have thoughts you’d like to add about this post, please leave a message, and let’s talk about them in the comments below