Hope this week has been good to you. If you're in the Tri-state area, you're also in deep with this Nor-easter sitch. I'ma gloat tho because NYC is all clear rn 😬
But as the title states, today's post is gonna dig deep into PTSD!
I've been inspired and wired lately, but I need to slam down on the reset button. hard. Thankfully, this site is an expressive outlet for everyone—including myself.
There's a lot of newness entering my life, especially with the blog + enterprise I'm envisioning for bklynprose. I'm overwhelmed and, unsurprisingly, hitting a wall.
But fiiirst, here's a link to Started Small: Ashley Bryan of For The Culture Sound.
And a link to my first Started Small feature: Christine Delostrinos of Lightwork.
"Started Small" is my interview series! My favorite part of anyone's journey to stardom (heh) has always been the humble beginnings. This series unlocks the stories behind folks who started with a small idea and got it growing. (For any folks who've been jamming with me for a bit, it was previously called "Monthly Glitter"!)
Continue below for six words that both define my ptsd and encourage me to keep fighting 💥
When I started typing this blog, "can't" came to mind first.
I use this word in excess when the physical and mental manifestations of my post-traumatic stress disorder slowly bust through. There's this internal, cyclical battle between what I know is true and how my brain wants to hold me back.
I repeat things like, "I can't get over what happened to me."
I have to fight the "can'ts" that riddle my day-to-day. Some stretches of time are worse than others. (The last go occurred for an entire year leading up to starting therapy). Needless to say, I'm exhausted of the word.
During tougher weeks (like the present!), one aspect I feel I can control is working on my passion project: this site :] Which leads me to...
For years, my PTSD—related to a sexual trauma—flourished more as an internal conflict than a physical one. As written in the past, my woes are often invisible to the eye. This makes folks think I have everything under control when I'm actually more like a cracked egg. And the shell is definitely in the omelette.
Depression and anxiety are strongly connected to folks who develop PTSD. The fancy word is "comorbidity," which means a couple other issues join forces with the primary one 🖖🏼
When I started going to therapy last summer, I felt this new sense of control over both my mind and my body. But that doesn't mean this focus is always present. Again, with depression and anxiety being linked to PTSD, that leaves someone with a world of opportunity to easily lose control.
Trauma lives in the body, which means anyone (including children) can develop this anxiety disorder. We all have to fight to maintain.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can remain acute and flee in the shorter term. For folks like myself, PTSD is an ongoing battle, which means it effects me nearly constantly.
Writing and performing have been incredible outlets. they put me back into control over how i developed this disorder in the 1st place! 🙄
When I'm out of balance, though, my character shifts. I start to hear more of the "are you ok?" comments as a response to the change in demeanor.
As the years pass, and as I struggle to heal the most pertinent trauma in my story, I've learned to recognize and own the periods with which I'm not myself. I allow myself to hide, and I let myself cry doing the dishes 😩
I can almost always feel the buildup leading to my PTSD becoming difficult to manage. During those periods, I question not if my anxiety will increase into depression, but when.
It's like grabbing a bottle of seltzer and forgetting you shook it violently to embarrass a friend. Instead of the water splashing them in the face, you come back later and open the bottle for yourself.
Boom—now what do you do? maybe crumble first!!! 🏳️
On days like yesterday, my head becomes complete foggy. I'm unable to focus on what's in front of me and lose context of everything. I become forgetful, and it literally feels like I'm neither here nor there, though I look and function like regular degular goofy Latiana (remember, I mask well after years of practice!).
Other than a suggested path of going to therapy, being aware of at least some of your symptoms is an important step to maintaining your post-traumatic stress disorder. It makes it so much easier to regain control while at work and otherwise.
⬆️ That above link to the APA has a neat sidebar that gives tons of easy-to-read info on various disorders, their symptoms, and further resources.
And this candid Reddit link gives some insight into real voices talking through their experiences with PTSD (with some mention of the foggy brain stuff.)
Having had my first experiences with PTSD at 18-years-old, I'm now 25 and don't have the same opportunities to nap it off for a few days. You and I have to work and keep a sense of order to life, which can get v difficult.
As an adult who will probably function with PTSD for the rest of my life, I have learned to rely on positive relationships and familial influences to hobble my way through the rabbit hole. My sister notes how much happier I am now than I used to be, which is evident of:
good people impacting my life, me pursuing my passions, and not losing sight of a larger picture 🚞
That larger picture? Destigmatizing the 💩 out of mental illness. This IS my passion, and as I wrote earlier, this project is one thing I could never let go of. Reciprocity is the theme of 2018 between me and my good friend, Serena (haaay boo!!!). What you throw out there is what's returned.
Life and relationships are an exchange of dynamics, and positive ones can only reap positive energy. i try to remember this when my ptsd symptoms become heavy.
I read through my entire current journal on Tuesday night. Before then, and as mentioned in my last post, I thought my life had become so boringly content these few months! But alas—there's been several pots boiling leading up to present...
but As the blog grows, so does its impact.
And I hope ya'll will join me in my fight to destigmatize mental illness. Super excited for some upcoming posts and I'm looking forward to working with more of you!!! Thanks so much for reading. Here's a link to dat Instagram tho.
Also, I'm so randomly inspired by Laurie Hernandez, the now 17-year-old gymnast who ya'll know won gold @ the 2016 Rio Olympics...
When asked why she's so smiley, her reply was:
"I realize that the things I’m doing are extraordinary. I won’t ever take that for granted.”
Go read about her lifelong determination via that link above (she trained for 35 hours per week as a child!) and watch her light shine through this interview.
I'm always inspired by folks' stories, so here's another link where she discusses injury setbacks during the Olympic training process...and her passion for cookies. Always end the low with a high, folks. Comment and tap the black heart below!