Taking a break

In December, I cannot discuss what happened, but something happened whereby I have been deeply emotionally affected ever since. I have deferred both of my University Psychology modules for my 2nd level of my Degree. I have also had to contact Talking Therapies to get another lot of therapy once again.

When I spoke to Talking Therapies, I covered a past incident whereby I was diagnosed with PTSD after the fact and I also covered a recent incident which involves the same person/s and the same ‘organisation’ as the first incident, but this time, the incident in some ways, was a lot worse. Due to the 2nd incident, everything I learned in therapy regarding PTSD completely disappeared. During my call with talking therapies, I scored off the chart for Depression, Anxiety & PTSD.

Since the incident in December, I have been a mess. I have not been able to banter with the boys I house share with like I used, I am taking their comments way to heart, I am not sleeping, I cannot concentrate on TV or reading a book for more than 5 minutes unless I am with someone. Some days, I don’t want to talk to anyone and just stay in my room, other days, I want to run away to a completely different place and change my name and identity, and worse, sometimes, suicide crosses my mind. Suicide for me will never be the answer.

One of my heroes is (not was) Chester Bennington and his suicide taught me that so many people love you without you even knowing. So many people need you, and you don’t even know it. You ARE stronger than the demon who places the idea of suicide in your head. Whatever the storm, you will come out stronger. Chester Bennington will ALWAYS be the reason I stay alive and not take my life – I will fight all of my battles in life for him. He fought his battles and healed his fans through his music; he gifted his fans, including myself with his beautiful battle songs and I will always hold Linkin Park’s songs close to my heart for this reason – Chester struggled, but, his death was not in vain – his memory, music and voice keeps me strong daily.

With the help of Chester’s memory, with the help of the love from my family, friends & housemates I know I can get through this but some days are so hard. I hear sirens from fire trucks, ambulances or police and I freeze until it stops. I hear a loud bang and I freeze until that stops. I get flashbacks of the 1st incident that caused my 1st bout of PTSD daily and when I am sleeping; I get flashbacks of the 2nd incident that caused my 2nd and more severe bout of PTSD also daily and whilst I am sleeping. I am very sensitive to people’s comments – my housemates, my family and my friends – I feel like I can no longer take a joke.

I am crying everyday, I am a mess most of the time, I feel like my whole body aches as well now – all I have to do is walk, and my back hurts – this is all neurological I believe – I am in such a state, I am feeling my pain not only in my head and heart, but in my body as well. I feel nauseous a lot more than usual as well and sleeping, well, forget about that because when the flashbacks come back – along comes sleep paralysis or extremely vivid nightmares. I have to sleep with the TV on – normally Friends or Big Bang Theory as they’re both very comforting to me. I am picking my lips on a daily basis they’re not looking good at all! I am literally fighting a battle DAILY and it’s exhausting, it’s hard and it is taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I also feel like everyone is out to get me sometimes and that I am not safe at all.

Despite all of the above, there are so many positives – I now know what is going on in my head and as someone who studies Psychology, therefore, I can reason with myself a lot more than someone who doesn’t study the brain. I have finally opened up to my housemates about how I am feeling and they are supporting me 100% like they did when I told them what happened after the 2nd incident occurred. They have told me they’ll be a lot more gentle and be there for me which is a wonderful feeling. As Talking Therapies told me I will be on a waiting list for 8 weeks for specialist PTSD therapy, they advised me of a number of things – one of the things to stop the flashbacks was to move my bedroom around as this is where I spend most of my time. My room had a perfect layout previously but it had to change – I did this today and to be honest, I am starting to feel like my room is already my safe zone once again.

After deferring my 2 modules, I have also allowed myself the time to seek help / therapy without the stress of exams and assignments and also allowed myself to 100% focus on my studies when I restart one of the modules in October 2021. I have also started dating someone whom I really like and he is completely understanding of the situation as well and I am able to just be myself with him which makes me feel so free and not as frightened at times.

One of the issues with PTSD – and I am definitely experiencing this particular issue (where I said I am crying everyday above) – when you also suffer from severe depression and anxiety, you do not know how you are going to feel from one day to the next. One minute in the day I am ok, the next day I am terrified of everything – every person, every noice, every bit of light and also every bit of emotion I feel as well – be it a positive or negative emotion. Your emotions are so extreme – extreme fear, extreme sadness or the complete opposite – extreme happiness and extreme excitement. I am doing the best I can to balance them out, take deep breaths and centre myself back into reality.

Thankfully, the one time where I seem to keep my head together and my emotions together is when I am working which is amazing. I work from 8.30 – 4.30 Monday – Friday and to feel OK for this amount of time is a relief to be honest. Yes, in the morning, I am exhausted as I am lucky if I get 4hrs sleep at the moment or any deep sleep at all…I have always had sleep problems but since the 1st incident, my sleep has not been OK. I suffer sleep paralysis regularly where I have woken myself up by screaming or thrashing around. So when I first wake up, I need my coffee but then I can work pretty well. When 4.30 ends though, that is when everything hits me but hopefully, in 8 weeks and by July of this year, I will have healed myself for the most part and I can get myself back to the ol’ Jade all my friends and family know and love.

I just hope if this posts reaches someone that it can help, it truly does help the reader. Even though I scored off the charts on the Mental Health questionnaire for my therapy consultation with Depression, Anxiety and PTSD – this does not make up my personality and this is not who I will be for the rest of my life. Just because you may be suffering intense emotions of fear, sadness and/or loss, you are most certainly not alone and there is help out there. Also, I really hope this allows my readers to understand that PTSD does not only affect people who have been in the military or those who have had an intense reaction to an incident where they nearly died or perceived their life to be at a major risk – PTSD can be any event or incident whereby the sufferer feels an intense fear – and this fear can be a fear of absolutely anything. I cannot give an example of why I felt fear in the 1st or 2nd incident but I can assure you one of them was related to a fear of my serious injury or death then and in the future – the 2nd incident bought back the fears of the 1st incident and an intense fear of a lot of different things where my life could be severely affected.

I really hope this does help at least one person; for now, please take care of yourself in these hard times.

Jade xoxo