I have PTSD; it doesn’t HAVE me!

This month’s blog is a personal one for me; June has been designated as PTSD awareness month. There are currently 8 million people in the United States that have been diagnosed with PTSD, and sadly, many of those who have been diagnosed, do not receive the help they need to work through the real issue of past trauma (ptsd.va.gov, 2021).  I am one of those 8 million, I used to be ashamed to admit that I have a form of mental illness; but through counseling and an insatiable will to not give up or give in, I manage pretty well on most days. My diagnosis came in the summer of 2011; I served my country for 20 years and have been in some pretty dangerous positions while serving abroad. The trauma of losing friends, always being hypervigilant, and never really being able to let my hair down and relax; is frustrating and exhausting.

It’s no secret that in our country mental illness and the lasting effects of trauma are frowned upon, and too often overlooked, but the truth is there is hope. I will never overcome the carnage of this debilitating condition, but I have the ability to manage it and live a full and successful life with it. This month’s blog is to help you understand where PTSD comes from and recognize some of the signs. PTSD can happen to anyone at any age; it stems from a traumatic event such as: a natural disaster, combat, sexual assault, or even an accident. No one is exempt, trauma is trauma, and too much can cause a down spiral of emotions and fear. Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories: 1. reliving or re-experiencing the event, 2. avoiding things or places that remind you of the event, 3. Negative feelings or beliefs, and 4. Hyperarousal or being on guard.

It took me many years to accept that I came home from combat a changed woman, and for others it is hard to accept that the trauma experienced at some point in their life changed them forever. I used self-sabotaging and erratic behaviors to cope, but through my faith, counseling, and the understanding and love; from those who took the time to educate themselves for my sake, I am a beautifully broken and healthy person. If you or someone you know is suffering from signs and symptoms of PTSD, I want you to know you are not alone, and there is help and hope for them and you. PTSD doesn’t have an identifiable face, but it does have a sound and proven solution.

In closing, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Tammie S. Brown, the founder and owner of Restoring Bodies Fitness & Nutrition Services, and I have PTSD, but it doesn’t HAVE me.