It has been a friend and an enemy. I feel it has become part of me. It has become my safety and my deepest fear. I am challenged to face my demons but also search for light in the darkness that surrounds my head. I struggle with the fact that people can’t see my past and my PTSD. Some days the loneliness in this world can seem endless and isolating. I have to breath, believe in myself and constantly re-train my brain to understand that not everything in life is a threat. When you have the images in your head of the attacks, the uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings in your body, it makes you lose hope. The cycle continues, in my case, for years. It’s learning to break the cycle, which might take years, but I have to believe it is possible.
As soon as the storm seems to pass another comes and drenches me with rain. There is no shelter in the empty room. Last year, when I began to fall apart I remember that my bedroom was my safety nest; a place where I could arrange things how I wanted and where I felt at my safest. I thought no one could hurt me but indirectly my mind was struggling to process and be able to carry out the basic tasks in daily life. I’d draw a picture to express to people how I felt. I drew an empty room with four walls. The room had no windows or doors. The darkness was all around. I felt as if the attackers was somewhere in the room. I was trapped in the memories in my head. The room became a part of me for those long eight months. But with a new year and a new beginning I would try to step out of the room more but the flashbacks came and engulfed me. I couldn’t control them. This will take time but I am willing to wait.
I am in a better place now. I know things will take time. With all the uncertainty in my life at the moment, I have to take a step back and look at a situation and think can I change it? The answer is no so I have to let it go and focus on what I can do now to help myself. My PTSD is part of me; it will always be: but instead of it being 98% I want to decrease it to 2%. This will take time and work but I am up for the challenge.
The empty room can be an enemy for anyone. What I mean by this is that we can all feel alone, isolated in our lives. This is normal. I use the description of the empty room to explain how my head feels and the damage that has been done. But I am not a victim; I am a survivor and I have a voice.