Oh, how true this is. Everyone has a story. And we all have our ways of telling our story. We write a book about it, we write a blog (ME!), we express them through music and film and or on social media. Whatever way you choose to share your story, don’t be ashamed of sharing your experiences and where you come from.
Honestly, writing about my battle with the Triple Threat Disease (Depression, Anxiety and Panic Disorder) was a story that I kept to myself for 25 years. 25 years of my story bottled up inside me and the only ones that really knew my story were my therapist and close family and friends. I never told my story to co-workers or even a total stranger. This kind of story is very personal and some don’t know how to react to it and would probably say the wrong thing to me.
I realized that keeping things bottled up in me was eventually cause an explosion. It did. My mother is notorious for being silent about her struggles with Depression and Paranoid Schizophrenia. She would never tell people that she’s attempted suicide many times, has been institutionalized many times, and gets ECT treatments every three months. Why be ashamed about this? The social stigma and the shamers out in this world make it hard for us sufferers to tell our story. We shouldn’t feel this way, but we do.
In late June, “No Laughing Matter Living with Depression” was born. Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations at all when I started the blog and the website. If people enjoyed the blog, great. If they hated it, then they don’t understand what it’s like. I needed to do this for my own well being. I needed to write out what I was feeling on a daily basis. Many therapists will you tell that writing or WET (Written Exposure Therapy) is beneficial for you in so many ways. For me, I never thought about it. For 25 years, you would think that I would’ve written an entire encyclopedia of my struggles with mental illness, but I didn’t.
This idea took a lot of thought and many days even weeks of planning. I talked with my parents and friends about starting a blog about living with mental illness. My dad got me books on “Blogging for Dummies” and “WordPress for Dummies”. He said: “Do what you got to do. I support you.” Thanks, Dad. Friends said the same thing, too. My mother was less than thrilled. She said: “I wouldn’t tell people about my struggles with mental illness. That’s no one’s business.” Of course, but I told her to look at the big picture. Writing does help clear your mind of those irrational thoughts and you may help someone by sharing your story. You just may inspire others to tell their stories without shame or fear. But my mother is a little stubborn. (Probably, the German quality in her! I’m stubborn, too). But if she doesn’t want to share her story then fine! However, she can’t keep that secret forever.
After I started the blog, I had just seen my therapist and we walked about what was going in my life. I told her that I was being transferred to a new store and got a raise along with it, I was having some sleep issues and those got worse after that visit, I said that I’m still recovering from PTSD because of a crime in April. But other than that life, was OK. Life would get more interesting after that visit. I was sitting at home and also at work thinking about writing, but nothing came out. If I was going to do this, I needed to motivate myself and push myself outside of my comfort zone and do this. So I gave myself a swift kick in the butt and started this.
I didn’t realize how cathartic this was going to be from the gecko. Writing helped me. It kind of saved me in a way. No longer do these feelings enter my brain after I write. I can go on with my life with a clear and uncluttered head. What really surprised me is that many people online started “liking” my blog, my website, and on my Facebook page. Wow. Was I doing something right for a change? Probably. Am I helping anyone with this blog? Yes. Everyday, I’m amazed at how many people follow and check out my blog posts and my website. And I always tell people to share. If you enjoy reading the blog, then share it with someone. My story can help anyone.
One of the things that I learned from another sufferer is a newer tool to help with PTSD and it’s called: WET Therapy (Written Exposure Therapy). With this therapy, you write about a specific event that has caused serious ramifications in your life such as: a car accident, surviving a natural disaster, surviving a shooting and/or whatever event caused you to be diagnosed with PTSD. You basically, write out in specifics about your experience, what happened and how it’s affecting you. You tell your story through writing. I’ve witnessed a lot of terrible things in my (almost) 35 years of life on this earth and one of the scariest things I have ever seen was witnessing a crime.
I wrote in a previous post about witnessing a very violent domestic dispute between two teenagers and one of them was brutally stabbed. This happened in the drive thru of my old store and I was horrified. I went outside and went to see what the commotion was. I saw blood everywhere, I saw the long (sharp) knife on the ground. I heard the blood curdling screams crying out for help. I called for help and helped put pressure on the victim’s wounds. I was afraid because I was a witness that I was going to be killed myself. But I didn’t. Let me you that was the scariest thing that I’ve seen. For the first time in my life, I suffered bad PTSD. I had nightmares (daily), numerous unrelenting panic and anxiety attacks, and horrible depression. I can’t even imagine what people go through when mass shootings or bombings happen. No, thank you! I think witnessing that would make me suicidal if I saw that carnage.
For me, I had to take care of myself. I had to keep my calm and keep my blood pressure and heart rate down. When I went to urgent care for bad stress induced migraines, my blood pressure and heart rate were at stroke and heart attack levels. Yikes! So it’s important to relax yourself. Easier said than done. I had to remind myself that it’s going to be OK and I will get through this. But writing this blog has helped my PTSD in so many ways. I highly recommend that if you’re going through a lot of drama and rough times, get out your laptop or legal pad and write it out. Write about what your feeling, write about what happened, and then don’t look at it. Just get those negative thoughts out of your mind and your body. Heed the advice of the quote below!