Talking About it

I think a lot of times when we are dealing with certain personal situations, we tend to keep it to ourselves and not want to talk about it. Although at times it is important to keep certain things to ourselves, I think we have to make exceptions as well. When I started realizing that I was dealing with a Post Traumatic stress disorder, I did not want to talk about it. I didn’t want to tell my friends, my boyfriend or my family; Especially my parents who were already dealing with so much. I felt like I would be adding to their burden, so I kept it to myself for months.

For months I was literally suffering in silence. I would be in my dorm room having a serious panic attack and I wouldn’t call my roommates to tell them anything, I would just simply cry about it until the moment pass. I would be driving and I would have an attack, have to pull over until I feel better and get home and not tell a soul. I remember once one of my friends was having a birthday celebration in the city and weeks prior to the event I was already panicking. So many thoughts were forming in my mind about going to the city that night. Back then although I was in school, I still had really strict parents who questioned my where about. So I would have to lie to them to go, and the thought of me lying and going and the thought of something possibly happening and having to explain to them why I was there drove me nuts. At the time everything was scary for me. I was scared to leave my house, Scared to drive, scared to go to a health center for a simple physical; I was scared of everything. As the date of the event drew closer, I started having nightmares about it. I had dreams that something bad was going to happen, So I made the decision not to go. The worst thing about it was I couldn’t tell anyone why I did not want to go.

In my mind nobody would understand if I told them what I was feeling. I thought people would brush it off and think I am making excuses. I know that people deal with depression, but I was dealing with something beyond depression; I felt like a slave trapped in her own body. I made the decision not to go to the event, and I lost a friend. The crazy thing about it was even after I lost the friend,I still could not find ways to tell anyone about my battle. It wasn’t until I had a really crazy nightmare one night and I woke up in a sweat and I could not breathe and I felt like I was going to die, that I decided it was time to open up to at least one person. I decided to talk to my boyfriend about it, and let me tell you it felt great. My boyfriend is a nurse, so I think him being in the medical field made it easier for me to tell him what I was feeling. It actually made me feel lighter, in the sense that I was no longer carrying this by myself.

Over time I ended up sharing it with my sister and some of my close friends. The funny thing is they all noticed there was a change; they knew something was up prior to me even approaching them. It really helped knowing that they understood what I was going through and helped me deal with it. A lot of times my sister would go places with me knowing I was too scared to drive alone, my friends would also do the same. We have to let our guards down sometimes and allow others to help us with the things we are dealing with.  The best thing you can do is to confide in the people who love and care for you. It’s always great to know that you are not carrying the loads alone. 

 

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Something is Wrong

I’ve heard of anxiety disorders before, and I’ve heard people talk about being depressed and having panic attacks; but I had no clue what the signs were or how one knew they were dealing with those issues. Months after my dad had his stroke, I remember started feeling down all the time and not feeling like myself. Of course I associated it with my dad having to deal with his health, and him not being able to do the everyday things anymore.  But I really started realizing something was up one Sunday evening when my parents went to a wedding.

So my dad had the stroke November of 2012, In September 2013 they had a wedding to attend in South Jersey. My dad had completely lost function of his right arm, so in the first few months following the stroke he could not drive. By summer 2013 he had learned to drive with only his left arm, so he started driving places by himself again. Although it was great progress, the thought of him driving by himself with one arm freaked me out. So on that Sunday evening, my sister and I drove back on campus and my parents went to the wedding. The whole entire day even prior to them going to the wedding I was on edge. I was sweating heavily, thinking about him driving that far and literally freaking out; but I said nothing to anyone.

When I got on campus, I called my mom just to make sure that they had gotten there safely, and they had so I was at peace. Around 10 pm, I decided to call my mom to make sure they were home and she did not answer her cell. At the time we had just moved to a new home and the house phone was not working yet. I called her cellphone at least 5 times and she did not answer, So I started losing my mind (literally) So many thoughts were running through my mind. Where could they be? why is she not picking up her phone? did something happen?

Hours went by and still no call back, by that point I was sick with worries. My mind was literally telling me that something tragic happened, so My body went into full panicking mode. I was shaking, sweating, crying. I forced myself to go to bed and that night was the first time I had the first nightmare. Woke up in a sweat and never went back to bed. By 8 am, I started calling again because my mom is usually out the house for work by then. Still no answer. I called my aunt who lived close by to see if my mom had called her that morning. She told me she had not heard from her. I called out of work and decided to drive a whole hour back home just to check on them. right when I was about to leave my apartment my phone rang, it was my mother. She had put her cell on silent for the wedding and never saw not one of my calls. I cried for hours after that, I could not comprehend what was happening to me; it was scary.

Following that incident things got worst, the nightmares got worst, the sleepless nights got worst, the panic attacks got worst; EVERYTHING became dark.  Something was wrong with me.

 

 

My Life changed

four years ago my dad suffered a stroke, and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.  My dad was a healthy man, ate right, never got sick. I could not understand why he had a stroke and almost lost his life. After the stroke I suffered from severe post traumatic stress. It was my Junior year in college getting ready to graduate and my life completely changed.

I started having nightmares every night, I spend months being scared to fall asleep. When I did sleep it was after several hours of counting sheep, drinking tea and praying. On top of the nightmares I started suffering from severe anxiety/panic attacks. I could not do the everyday things anymore, I was afraid of EVERYTHING. I started blaming myself for my dad getting sick and I tried to be as good as possible so that it didn’t happen again. I couldn’t drive far by myself anymore because I would have severe panic attacks on the road, I would get scared if my phone rang and it was my mom. I lived on campus so phone calls began to scare me. I was scared that I would lose the people close to me.

It got so bad that one of my closest friend was celebrating her birthday in the city and I was too scared to go. I thought if I had gone I would have to lie to my parents about where I was going, and I was afraid that God would punish me for lying. I started overthinking everything that I did. It really got bad. Being that I was mentally sick, it started affecting my body. By my senior year I kept getting sick all the time,missed so many days of work and class. I couldn’t tell anyone, I just spent hours crying in my room by myself.

I could not understand what was going on, I was literally living in fear. My relationship with my boyfriend suffered because he could not understand the change that was happening. Nobody understood what was going on, so I lost friends over it. At 23 I was on blood pressure medication, and I refused to have a short life because of my anxiety. I started working out, eating better and mediating. I wanted to take my life back, I hated the feeling of living on edge.

Today I can truly say I am at a place in life that I haven’t been in years. I am laughing more and enjoying life. I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing the things that I was always afraid to do.  So if any of you out there are dealing with the same, trust me there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It might seem scary but there is help and putting your health first is the best thing you could do.