Melissa Blake

Melissa Blake

Disabled and Thriving

My Battle With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Have you battled post-traumatic stress disorder?

Posted Oct 12, 2010

I wrote about my battle with post-traumatic stress disorder for TheFrisky, and would love to share an excerpt. Have you battled with the disorder?

It can be something as little as the time I was standing in a hotel parking lot while on vacation one summer, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man walking toward me. He looked exactly like my father. The closer he got, the larger the lump in my throat became. Or, it can be something a little bigger, like the few dozen times I've walked past the building on the campus of Northern Illinois University where my father worked and pictured him galloping up the stairs with a huge smile on his face. Or, even the time when I found the blue-knit cap he wore during the course of his chemotherapy and radiation to treat an aggressive form of sinus cancer and up until the day he committed suicide two weeks after finishing treatment. Or, the smell of his clothes and how they'd remind me of his big bear hugs.

That's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a nutshell. It's the body's way of trying to process the massive stockpile of emotions left in the wake of a traumatic life event.

For some, the sound of a car's squealing tires may make them jump in fright following a car accident. And with the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're seeing more and more soldiers coming home both physically and emotionally scarred.

Having been born with a physical disability-Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome-I'm used to labels. But PTSD? That was a label that took a little more time to come to terms with. Before my father's death, I'd always prided myself on being such a strong person. So to wrap my head around the idea that, "Yes, admitting I have PTSD does make me a strong person instead of a weak one" took some time. I've been in counseling for much of the time since my father's death. In fact, I'm returning again this week after a year off. I told my therapist I thought I needed a "tune-up." There is nothing wrong with that, I keep telling myself.

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