I talk a lot about my PTSD. I have not always been able to do this and some days still, when in a dark spell, it is hard to form coherent thoughts let alone capture them in words. I have found that talking about it helps me better understand myself and feel stronger.

I talk about PTSD to honor those on this journey…folks who may, at this very moment, feel terrified, “crazy,” overwhelmed and wondering what the point is in continuing to live. Many of us die each day. I know the experience intimately. When I resurface from the turmoil, I feel more resilient and have a greater sense of hope that life can be different. This continues until one day when it doesn’t work. How does one make meaning out of somethings so very bad and senseless?

I am in a fairly steady space right now (today) but know that this disorder I have can amp up in an instant and leave me flailing for days, weeks, months at a time. I speak out when I can so maybe I can lift up one struggling soul or their family who also wrestle with confusion, fear, frustration, and helplessness.

Offering myself and my story helps me as I morph something tragic and traumatic into something potentially positive. Perhaps this is only an illusion or my Pollyanna mindset but I am aware of an increase in my compassion for myself as well as others when I speak out. I am passionately committed to breaking down the stigma surrounding this illness. And what do I have to lose…the traumas have already happened to me and I live with the damage.

I have worked hard to seek out treatments that have been proven to help and they have changed the quality of my life. Many are not able to do this. I do it for them and I say it out loud . Maybe my hope will pierce through their darkness.

On my best days I envision a sense of thriving instead of surviving. Medication, EMDR, writing, equine therapy, guided visualization, some excellent counselors have all helped me. I am fortunate. My faith in something bigger, loving and protective has grown stronger as time goes by.

Other days mine is the space of darkness, terror, flashbacks, hyper alertness, fog and pain.

I have PTSD.