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!


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