4 Mental Health diagnoses from trauma. What it’s like.

4 Mental Health diagnoses from trauma. What it’s like. #ptsd #cptsd #mdd #mentalhealthawareness

What it’s like…..Remember when Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz was caught up in the tornado, and she saw the wicked witch ride her bike by her window? Knowing that no matter what, that wicked ole’ witch was still there.

The house spinning around, furniture sliding back and forth, not being able to grasp onto anything to feel grounded.

That’s one way to describe ptsd.

Another way to describe ptsd, cptsd, mdd (major depressive disorder) is not wanting to move, bathe, get out of bed, eat, sleep or even be alive. In my case the symptoms cycle. One minute I’ll be “up” and feeling positive, feeling like…”ok, this is good, I’m going to have a good day today.” So I set out with bells on and go about whatever it is that I have planned. (Side note: I help take care of a ranch where I keep my horse, and we have “barn cats”, and deer, and such, so I absolutely have to get up and go take care of them, no matter how I feel, I never miss a day, 24/7/365).

There are some days when I’m toodling along, at home, or at the ranch, and no matter how good I feel, something triggers me and I start down the rabbit hole of panic attacks, flashbacks, and morbid thoughts (in my case suicidal ideation). Sometimes I can identify the triggers, other times I cannot. When I can identify them, I stop and start my coping skills.

If it’s at the ranch, I sit with my horse, or out in the middle of the pasture. That may sound weird, but for me it works. I force myself to look around me at the calmness of nature. Also, my horse is amazing…she knows when I’m having a hard time, and comforts me with hugs, or just comes and stands next to where I am.

I count out loud what I can see, hear, feel….the grass, which is brown right now. The male Cardinal sitting on the branch, the sound the wind makes as it blows through the trees. If it’s evening, I can count on usually hearing the coyotes off in the distance. I literally MAKE myself stop and be present in the moment, and try to tell my brain that I am not experiencing the trauma again, it’s today, not the past. I do the 4-7-8 breathing technique. When done right it can lower heart rate, and help reset the brain.

Then there are those days when I feel hopeless, humiliated, embarrassed…like I’ve failed my family and friends in every way imaginable. Like I would be better off not on this planet. The depression is all consuming some days. I cry a lot, I reach into my tool box of coping skills, use them all, and it doesn’t work. I’m just all out of spoons.

That’s when I call crisis.

Logically I know that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. My therapist and I have protocol set in place for when it gets that bad. But emotionally I feel worthless, like I’m not worthy of help, like I’m not good enough for it. Those are the battles that intrude and make the rough days, ten times harder.

I push through though. A few years ago I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I had lost my grandmother, and actually thought I was going to die myself. My mind was constantly spinning, unable to keep a straight thought. The emotional pain of not being able to call my grandma and talk to her was unbearable. There was one day in particular I had decided that I was going to kill myself. That I wanted to be out of this pain, that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had a plan to take all of my medication.

But something stopped me…I like to think it was grandma telling me not to do that, but I can’t pinpoint why I didn’t swallow all of my meds. All I know is I didn’t, but I wanted to really really bad.

Instead I called crisis, and checked myself into the psych ward. (This was pre-covid so I was able to get a bed.) I’ve had five psychiatric hospital stays, and I’ve come out of them learning something that I didn’t know prior to being admitted. I count that as a positive. I don’t like staying inpatient because it feels like I’m a prisoner, but it’s needed nonetheless, and I try to learn and find the good.

Mental health needs to be destigmatized. We live in a world of dysfunction, and trauma changes the chemistry of the brain. I recently found out that a person I had become acquainted with on social media, took his own life. He had built a company, had the things that people think make a person happy, (money, home, friends etc)…but he couldn’t outrun his demons.

So far I’ve outrun mine. I hope to keep it that way.



4 mental health diagnoses from trauma
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Keywords: 4 mental health diagnoses, mental health, 4 mental health, coping skills, suicidal ideation, 4 mental health, 4 mental health

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