Through these winter months sometimes my world comes undone. However, hard I try to fight the memories in my mind, I can not realign my mind to the present and not the past. But, deep inside my body holds the trauma and the somatic memories. I question will I ever be free or will PTSD always be with me?
I found after a couple of successful cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, I was able to manage and start to live my life. But, after this, it had the reverse effect. Through talking over and over about my experiences it re-traumatised my mind, reawakening those silent memories in my body, mind, and soul. Trauma is not just present in the mind but the body.
My mind has been my protector and my enemy for the last eleven years. It has shielded me through the abuse by shutting my mind down but as the days went by it kept me alert and in a constant fight or flight mode that I cannot switch off.
My body memory and somatic memories are incredibly physical and noticeable to others My body uncontrollably moving my neck, my arms and my legs. Jerking, twisting and twitching every muscle in my body. It’s physically exhausting and mentally draining. Every person with PTSD presents differently and this is not reflected in the treatment currently offers with the NHS or private sector.
I have found there are limited resources available to specifically treating PTSD. I have found many treatment facilities are ill-equipped to manage the different presentations of trauma, resulting in detrimental effects for that individual. The inflexibility and lack of knowledge surrounding trauma leading to misdiagnosis, limited therapeutic services available and prolonged periods of suffering for individuals.
Many people still believe that trauma only affects the military, police and ambulance services who witness atrocities during their line of work. Forgetting that trauma can come from childhood trauma, involved in an accident or witnessing a traumatic event and physical or sexual abuse. The much-needed services for veterans far exceed the service available to others who have experienced similar but different trauma.
I am not saying that one mental health condition or how it occurred is less important than the other. But, from my experiences, there has been less public understanding of PTSD, less compassion, and empathy when trauma occurs through abuse.
My experience is only one of many people suffering from similar or different types of mental health struggles. It is really a postcode lottery in the help you are able to access but with the constant government cuts to mental health services, no wonder many children, teenagers, and adults are suffering in silence with their own mental health struggles. Until the stigma surrounding mental health diminishes and it is valued as the same as physical health nothing in society will change.
We are all human and should be treated with the same dignity and respect regardless of whether a condition is noticeable to the outside world. My condition is invisible, just because you cannot see my pain does not mean that it is not there.
© Rosie Burnham