CONTENT EDITOR/QUALITY CONTROL, #PTSDchat MONITOR/MENTOR
I live in Tennessee, in the United States of America. I have four dogs, and believe in the healing benefits of the security, love and unbroken trust that they provide.
For the last fifteen years, I have researched PTSD, and have frequently discussed it with, and been taught by, those who have it, helping where I can. I learned early on, how beneficial just listening to others can be for them, and for me.
My PTSD Story:
I have not been diagnosed wtih PTSD. I was initially introduced to it because my cousin, a Marine who served several tours in Vietnam, had it. There are incidents in my background, including another cousin’s murder, that could cumulatively add up to PTSD- or CPTSD-like symptoms. Some of the incidents I have never discussed, and I may never discuss them. Others, I talk about freely.
From being a full-time sole caregiver for my mother for five years, I understand how secondary PTSD is created. A sole caregiver becomes devoid of all ego. The caregiver is so “in the moment” and on the edge of survival, in addition to being influenced by and having to live almost exclusively in the world of the patient, that the caregiver’s thoughts, habits, and outlook change to meet the patient’s needs and level of communication. That, combined with the constant sadness of losing someone you love when you are a close relative or friend of the patient, and watching them die a little each day, creates the stress that can lead to secondary PTSD-like symptoms.
I call the PTSD-like symptoms I have “parallel symptoms”. They exist in spite of the lack of a diagnosis, or even an attempt at one. I have sorted out a lot of things on my own, so that they do not now affect my life in devastating ways. I understand so much of what is discussed because I live it.
How I First Got Involved With #PTSDchat:
I crossed paths with Kate on Twitter, around August of 2015, and heard about the chat from her. At the time, I did not realize how new the #PTSDchat was, because it was already well-established. The first week, I was a watcher, figuring out how things worked. I have a special place in my heart for the watchers I know are out there and cannot participate, for whatever reason.
By my second week, I could not stand to remain out of the conversation. I just jumped in and kept going from then until now. It was the best decision I have made in a long time! I started the evening as a stranger, and left for the evening with new, supportive friends. The closeness of the group, and the honesty of the discussions amazed me.
Why I Want To Be a Part of the #PTSDchat Team:
Knowing how it feels to live with secrets, fear, and people’s lack of understanding in parts of my life, I made it a personal goal to help others through their tough times. It is next to impossible to find people who both care and can make sense of the PTSD puzzle. Therefore, I will use what I have experienced and have come to know in ways that can help others. My feeling is that if I am in this pain, and I hear of those whose experiences are either much deeper than mine or went on for a much longer time, then how much more anguish must they be carrying? From that perspective, I have to help, as I have been helped.
My feelings on special groups – Watchers, if you are in the background, don’t feel you can never talk about your experiences. There are ways you can remain anonymous, and also still be able to pour out some of the pain you now carry alone. It is true that by talking, allowing someone else to know you and your story, that your burden does become lighter. There is no time frame you have to meet, and nothing you are required to say. You are in control, and it is your call. I encourage you to try allowing at least one other person to know your pain, in the interest of giving yourself some relief.
Other groups I think of often – the family, friends, and general public. PTSD is complex, but can be explained and understood. If you are reading this, you have found a current, informative resource in PTSDchat.org Patient, kind explanations and caring solutions are available here.
This you need to know – if you have had false starts and fears in dealing with PTSD before, whether you have it, know someone who does, or just want to understand it, try again and again right here. We volunteers will work with you, and will help you to feel more comfortable in understanding and in working on coping and recovering.
My Role in the Future of the #PTSDchat:
I am currently a Chat Monitor/Mentor for the Wednesday night #PTSDchat, as well as Content Editor/Quality Control for the website. The PTSDchat organization is quickly evolving and adding additional media and opportunities for us all. I plan to help with whatever is needed of me as the chat, radio show, and website progress.
My blogging/writing can be read on both PTSDchat.org and also on my website, Truthpathing.com