I’ve had PTSD for about 11 years and also live with anxiety.
I haven’t had health insurance in over 4 years, so haven’t been able to consistently afford health care, including medication.
On an every day level, the largest way it impacts me is sleep. I have anxiety-induced insomnia: the anxiety makes me worry about nothing—or everything—and the adrenaline keeps me from falling asleep. Since those chemicals are in my brain when I’m trying to fall asleep, I also suffer from nightmares, so those wake me frequently. On top of that, I’ve become a very light sleeper because of the PTSD. When I got a fitbit I was completely unsurprised to find that I wake up 10–20 times a night.
“When I got a fitbit I was completely unsurprised to find that I wake up 10–20 times a night.”
Side-effects of being unable to get solid sleep include being more prone to sickness or feeling unwell—migraines, IBS flareups, flu-like symptoms, etc.
As for external challenges, violence and yelling are extremely triggering for me, so I can’t watch many of the movies or shows that people enjoy. I stopped watching the news years ago, but even reading it can be triggering.
I avoid in-person confrontation, very loud or dark public places and try to have people I trust nearby that know about the things that affect me. Spaces where people are forced to be crowded together increase my chances of anxiety attacks.
Aside from that, I can be triggered by seemingly small things, like someone surprising me, an unexpected noise, or certain visuals created by spoken or written word. Stress magnifies my anxiety, so things that may be a level 2 stress for some people are a level 5 stress for me.
All of those issues amount to feeling completely out of control sometimes. I minimize what I can by avoiding certain types or events or places where certain types of people may show up. I tend not to invite people into my home to create a safe space. I have a small handful of very close friends who I trust completely because it takes a long time for people to get to that point with me.
“All of those issues amount to feeling completely out of control sometimes.”
I don’t drink, use drugs, and rarely take medication that is stronger than tylenol so I can maintain control and protection of myself as much as possible.