People Just Like You

Brenda Wahm

I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and CPTSD for over 20 years now. My trauma started in early childhood, so it’s always been a part of who I am. It was then made worse by domestic violence but I honestly don’t know life without it. However, I do know that my daily “norm” isn’t what others consider “normal.”

My PTSD/CPTSD bring with it a lot of anxiety. I hold myself to impossibly high standards and have a hard time relaxing. I always have to be doing something but going out of the house to do things isn’t easy as I quickly grow overwhelmed. Loud noises often send me into a PTSD attack where I get caught up and lost in a flashback, as if it were happening all over again. When I’m really stressed I’ll jolt or sometimes scream out of nowhere and when it’s really bad I’ve been known to dissociate.

To cope with things I try to stay busy either with my writing or with my crafts while at home. I also have a service dog and a guinea pig who depend on me so I have “someone” to take care of. My service dog helps keep me grounded when I’m out in public. While I don’t recommend this for everyone, being active/busy really is my best coping mechanism.

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