If I had to put one word on myself as someone with a diagnosis of PTSD, that word would be “survivalist.” I have survived things no one should have to go through, and those events have left scars that will never heal completely. In spite of the horror, I have made it through and I can say I am actually fairly happy too. I am proud of that.
I once wrote a paper in college describing what it was like having PTSD. I compared it to feeling like “waiting for the other shoe to fall.” By that, I meant that we have experienced the first wave of horror and we know another wave is coming…we’re just watching and waiting for it to reach us. We have heard the first shoe drop and we know the second one is about to land. My professor thought it was a great way of depicting the general flavor of having PTSD.
PTSD is not something I would wish on anyone, but in spite of it, life goes on and I don’t want that to be the sum of who I am. I try to look at the bright side if there is one and focus on the positive. I guess being a survivalist is one of the positive aspects I can claim. I think I can say that although I may not be better off for having PTSD, there are strengths that I have in spite of it.