Not All Wounds Are Visible
A little over 10 years ago, I was reeling after the death of my brother and my father. I was lost and confused. I felt alone in the world. My PTSD and anxiety were running rampant. I always say, “I wasn’t living. I was merely existing.” Then I met a family and a dog that changed everything for me.
I had moved from Massachusetts, back to my hometown in New York. I was living on my own. Well, just my five dogs, four cats, and me. I wouldn’t leave my house. And when I did, I would have severe panic attacks. I missed my oldest brother’s wedding (went to the airport, had a panic attack, and went back home). I even flew all the way to Las Vegas, had a panic attack within 1 hour of arriving at the hotel, and was back on a plane to New York within 3 hours of arrival. To say my PTSD had taken utter and total control of my life, would be putting it lightly.
After so many years of feeling worthless, and being treated as such, it starts to wear a person down. I no longer really trusted people. Not just certain people. People as a whole. But, I could always trust animals (here’s where the whole, take every stray animal in, comes into play). They didn’t judge my intelligence, my weight, my looks, my mental health, or anything else. They loved me for exactly who I was, as I was. That all being said, 5 dogs and 4 cats are no longer “a couple pets”, but a freaking zoo.
Long story, slightly shorter, I got a referral for an incredible dog trainer. He and his son, were able to train my black lab, Mikka, to be a service dog. My service dog. With their help, Mikka’s help, and my doctors’ help, I was able to slowly, work through that place I was in. Though, I will never forget that there was a time in my life, where I could only leave my house with my service dog. THAT is how bad it got for me.
I’ll leave a full description of what my experience with PTSD is like, for another day, but what I will say is… When I’m walking down the street, smiling, talking, looking around… I’m not walking nonchalantly. I may make it look easy. Like I don’t have a care in the world. However, what you don’t know, what you don’t see, is that every single time I walk outside my house, shit, even in my house, I’m scoping the area, looking for threats, on high alert, wondering if someone or something is going to come up and hurt me.
Just because you don’t understand someone else’s experience, doesn’t make it untrue. You can’t “see” diabetes, or a seizure disorder (unless the person is actively seizing). If you see someone with a handicap sticker in their car, but they don’t “look handicap”, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes and find out if the person is legit or not. If you see someone with a service dog, who doesn’t “look like they need it”, it’s ok. Just keep walking. Not All Wounds Are Visible
You never know what someone else’s struggles are. Be the one who brings others up, not breaks them down. It’s not only important to have compassion, it’s essential.
#ptsd #ptsdawareness #traumasurvivor #iwillnolongerbesilenced