Inability to breathe. It feels like my whole chest constricts and the walls are closing in on me, the people who pass me are going to kill me or hurt me in some way. I am completely defenseless, as my mind attacks my body.
I can feel my heart racing in my chest, starting slowly, but speeding up as the attack gets worse. My vision either blurs, or gets spotty. My peripheral vision is gone, tunnel vision. Sometimes I see stars - literally.
If I'm around people, I have to get away. One time, I just up and bolted out of class in the middle of a lecture, only to crash outside in the hall, put my head between my knees, and pray no one got close to me, because I would have hurt someone, I was so on edge between fight or flight.
I feel cold and hot at the same time. I can't talk, I only sob, praying someone doesn't notice me. And they don't, because no one cares.
I get dizzy, so dizzy. Sometimes I get confused, I have to tell myself, you're at home. You are not there anymore. That place doesn't exist anymore. Talking myself down from an attack is so hard.
During my first panic attack, I blacked out. All of my repressed memories and feelings for 2, 3 years, came back at once and my body shut down because it was too much at once to process. I was walking in the hall, and then all of a sudden the walls in my mind came down. I started panicking during a passing time. Hundreds of people in the hall, and I passed out for about 10 seconds. Woke up on the floor.
I get exhausted after attacks. So tired I'm ready to fall asleep standing up. But then the nightmares come if I do.
I live with depression. I live with nightmares. Nightmares that you cannot even begin to imagine, I'm starting to cry just thinking about them. The mere thought of them is horrifying.
I get so upset. I don't see the point of living. Life is irrelevant. I don't want to do anything, some days I can't get out of bed. I can't stomach the thought of food some days, and others I just want to eat. Music helps me cope. Today was a day I barely ate. I ate at 4 in the afternoon, about 300 calories. Then again at dinner around 8 or 9, and I couldn't finish a small plate of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a porkchop. Depression is something I've hid well for years, even way long before the ptsd started.
I die every night in my dreams. I watch my family die. Sometimes it's a stranger. Other times I am forced to watch a natural disaster kill half my family, and I can't protect the other half. Some times I'm forced to choose to kill either a stranger, or my family. Or I'm forced to choose between what family members die, or they all die. I can die for them sometimes. Sometimes it's fire. Water, drowning. Guns. I'll go days without sleeping just to delay the nightmares.
The nightmares don't come just once a night or so. I think the record was 8 or 9, in a single night. When I'm having them, it averages 3-4 a night for months at a time. I'll wake up crying from one, then it feels like sleep is dragging me back, and I go straight into another horror. My friends said I was screaming in my sleep the other day, screaming bloody murder at their house when I slept over, and I can't even remember the dream that made me scream.
Can you imagine watching your family or loved ones die, even once, waking up and realizing it's a nightmare, only a nightmare? Over and over, every single night? There have been many nights where I go and I run to their rooms in a panic, crying from relief when I see them sleeping much more soundly than me.
I've been trying to move on. Forget everything that has happened to me. Last night I was on a second date with someone, everything was great, we got a little handsy and he touched my chest. It was fine at first, great. Then all of a sudden, memories swarmed my mind. Flashbacks. I started crying and just pushed him away. He hugged me, I couldn't handle that either. Nor could I handle a simple touch on my back or my shoulder. It physically HURT. Like wherever he touched was on fire, being electrocuted. It hurt so bad. And of course, awkward first date talk, but I had to explain to him that it wasn't him, that I had PTSD and this is how it affects me sometimes. Like someone could be fingering me, it can be great, then all of a sudden, I need them to stop on the drop of a dime.
They say when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. Imagine your life flashing before your eyes now, at 10 memories a seconds, and only the bad ones. The horrible ones. The ones where you were molested, attacked, where you find out how close your family was to being killed. How close you were to being raped. Over and over again. It's like you're reliving it, over and over. I can tell you all the precise details of when my younger brother tried to run away, of the fights on the porch, of going to the park with my younger brother to let them fight it out and get him away from it all, because he shouldn't grow up like this. When I have flashbacks, I'm only half here in the present. I'm also half there, in the fights. Sometimes I don't see during my flashbacks. I just have a blank stare. I can hardly breathe, my breathing slows so much. Someone can try talking to me, and I can't respond, I'm just trying to hold it together and not break out crying again. I can't focus on what they're saying, because the people in my memories are fighting again, and I can only focus on that time.
Apparently wanting a wall to your back in diners and such is a symptom of this. Which is exactly what I do. With a wall behind you, that's one less space someone can come up on you from. I can better see what's coming.
My PTSD did not get bad until about 3 years ago. It's been 5 since 'it' happened. The event. PTSD can start months, years, after an incident. I had blocked out all emotions for 2 years. Became distant. Then something made me feel again, I don't remember what or who it was. All my walls came crashing down and I melted. My nightmares are just coming back after a 2 month break from them. My mom says I'll be fine, I'm already working 40 hours a week for one company, and I have an extra job too. I want to get a 3rd job, and she has no idea that the reason why, is because I need to stay busy to keep the PTSD at bay. I HAVE to.
My parents have no idea how bad my ptsd is. I asked them for help about 2 years ago when I was first getting nightmares. They were like, you have ptsd? since when? Since years. I didn't end up in counseling. plans fell through. and I got worse. I don't tell my family how bad it is. I can't dwell on it.
I get severe migraines sometimes. From all of the flashbacks and panic attacks. The sleepless nights. They can last for days.
I am not suicidal. I am just sharing my experiences with ptsd, and how it affects me, so that others who are affected by it might be able to relate.
I wrote the take in this link a while ago, this is a short list of causes, symptoms, and treatments for ptsd.