I was raised in a war zone. I won’t go into detail here, but only will say that in my early 20s, I was diagnosed as having PTSD. As the years went by, I learned as much about my PTSD as possible. I guess that falls under the “know your enemy” heading. I felt I would have a better chance at controlling the fallout if I knew what was happening.
As I grew older, I began to see the ways that PTSD had shaped my personality. I was able to see how I “worked” a room full of people. I hated going to parties or events where there were lots of people; I couldn’t keep track of the dangerous ones if there were too many, and that was a function of my hypervigilance. In order to feel safe, I had to track who was in close proximity to the door so my escape wouldn’t be blocked if I needed to get away. After a great deal of time, I began to see that I was not in grave danger while at these events. No one was looking to attack me; no one cared at all about me in a negative way. I did not need to be so vigilant about danger that I would create fear where there was no danger.
Now I can attend public functions without falling apart. I’m much happier and I’m proud of the fact that I was able to challenge a belief that was keeping me prisoner and preventing me from leading a full life. It was worth the effort; it’s much nicer being here than it was being there!