PTSD Despair – the Beginning

Yesterday, there were two searches for PTSD despair, most likely the same person, yet I want to address it today and relate it to sobriety. I am thinking that whoever searched, was referring to the despair they feel because of their PTSD. So, let’s address this.

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. According to all the information I have read, and based on my personal experience with PTSD, it is comprised of three categories of symptoms:

  • re-experiencing the traumas through flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts about the trauma;
  • avoidance symptoms such as feeling numb, strong guilt, depression, or worry, avoidance of people and places that remind of the event, losing interest in once-enjoyable activities; and
  • hyperarousal, being on edge, getting angry easily, being easily startled.

You may be dealing with these symptoms as a result of recent trauma, or even years after an event that was traumatic for you. Or, you may be a veteran, dealing with either the long-term effects, or from the effects of recently being in service. If you are dealing with these symptoms and have not been diagnosed with PTSD, I gently invite you to seek assistance from a qualified therapist or someone at a VA Medical Center. There is great strength and courage demonstrated in the act of asking for help. For those of you long-term sufferers getting help, good for you! I applaud your efforts.

From my own perspective about PTSD and despair, I was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of about 53, and had been dealing with it since childhood, as a result of the trauma I endured and witnessed. I experienced all of the above symptoms, and I easily went to depression and despair. When I say despair, I am referring to the feelings that nothing is okay, in fact, everything is useless and there is no purpose in living. There is no hope.

In my case, I got to the point that I was praying to die because I was too scared to commit suicide. My anger had long-since been turned inward and it appeared in my life as major depression. I was a walking mess, feeling emotionally aweful. Fueled by my bitterness and under-lying anger at just about everything, I drank heavily, which only added to the flames. I felt there was no purpose in the events of childhood that had led me to misery in life. I had no purpose in life, no reason to be living.

Can you relate? if you are dealing with PTSD despair. I am thinking you are at the very hopeless stage. If this is the case, my heart goes out to you because I know how badly it sucks. Please know, however, that there is another side, another possibility. There is hope.

Hope came for me in the form of EMDR, a rapid-eye movement that retrains the pathways in the brain to lessen the effects of the trauma. With three of these treatments, my symptoms began to decrease, and even though some despair remained, I could see that there were possibilities to get out of the hole I was in. The despair was resolved in an instant, however, when I experienced the power of helping another, being of service to another.

And I’m going to address that tomorrow, because this post got to be well over 1000 words, so I decided to make it into two blogs. Tomorrow when I join you, I will be sharing my experience with you in the hopes that you may gain something from it that is of use to you.

I wish to acknowledge your pain by saying, yes, it is a very difficult place to be. I feel for you. You have great courage to face it and I invite you to keep putting one step in front of the other, doing the next thing that comes along your path to do. Writing in a journal with stream-of-consciousness writing works well. That’s where you write whatever comes into your head, in whatever order. It is very cathartic.

Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of PTSD despair. Until then, remember, hang in there. You never know when things are going to change around suddenly. Don’t leave before the miracle.