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What it Feels Like to Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

written by: Nicky LaMarco • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 6/21/2011

I was diagnosed with this medical condition several years ago. Even though the traumatic events that caused it were long ago (the first one was in 1987), it still causes symptoms. In this essay, I will share my story and describe feelings of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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    Traumatic Events

    For me, the events that caused my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) happened in a large span - from 1987 to 2005. Let's go back. When I was six my brother died in a car accident. When I was nine my sister was murdered. When my brother died I thought people were lying to me. I refused to believe them. I was not allowed to go to his wake, which I wanted to go to. I made up stories in my head about how he was missing and no one could find him. In my mind he was alive. It wasn't until my sister was murdered that reality struck me hard. I was allowed to go to her wake. Although the team at the funeral home had a hard time covering up the numerous bruises, contusions and the strangle marks on her neck, it was an open casket. I held my mother's hand as I carefully walked up to my dead sister. I could see marks on her neck and chest. Now it was real. She was cold. She wasn't coming back. Now, I understood that my brother was dead too.

    In 2003 my nephew was killed in Iraq, and in 2005 another nephew of mine accidentally killed himself. These events caused a lot of the feelings from my past to creep back in. I felt enraged, depressed, confused, and overwhelmed. Some emotions and feelings I felt I cannot even describe. They all come on at once and it is so hard to deal with it.

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    The Aftermath

    When I was young I would have visions of my brother and sister. After my brother died I was at school and overheard the popular girl complaining about all of her pets dying. I was painfully shy as a kid, but this made me mad. I screamed at her and told her that she should be happy her brother didn't die. After my sister's murder I felt no one could ever understand what I felt. I always had panic attacks, but they worsened after her murder. I spent many hours in the bathroom stall at school trying to calm down from panic attacks, even though I didn't know what they were at the time. Once I was twelve, rebellion hit me. I did not care about anyone, because anyone could die at any moment - including myself. I felt that I was not going to live much longer. So I put myself in dangerous situations countless times. I drank to keep from feeling anything, because feeling nothing was better than dealing with the symptoms of PTSD. I acted tough, but at night I had nightmares about dying or killing someone.

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    Today

    I still suffer from this. I have panic attacks, flash backs, and nightmares. I still worry that I will die young or my loved ones will die. In order to decribe the feelings of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I have to endure the symptoms. Although I am in a much better place than I was when this all started, I still suffer on a daily basis. Living with PTSD is not easy, but I believe you can live a happy and healthy life with a supportive loved one with you.

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