PTSD management on a non-climbing day

Mental illness is hard. First of all, nobody can see it. Second, if they can see it or do know about it, people tend to use it against you, knowingly or unknowingly, and no matter how close they are as far as relationships go. The closer they are to you, the harder it is to take, especially if they do it knowingly. I can’t climb today and I just suffered an injury of this sort from one of the people closest to me. So I’m writing this from my doctor’s office, where I can cool off and try to get the rational part of my brain to work again. This is my way of getting my excess neurotransmitters cleaned up and shoved in the closet enough to work through it.

One of the hard things about PTSD is the rage that’s buried deep inside. It’s always there. Mine is directed against myself most of the time. Regardless of who it’s directed at, it’s intense and it causes me to be extremely reactive, and that reactivity is sustained for a very long period of time (days to a week, for example) because I have an overactive limbic system, more specifically, a particularly angry amygdala. Plain speak, my reactions are extreme and my emotions stay extremely intense for long periods of time. Par for the course for PTSD. That doesn’t mean that some sort of reaction isn’t warranted. What it does mean is that the reaction people get is almost always over the top. Then, to add insult to injury, the offending party often says something derogatory regarding the mental illness. In this case, it was to call me “frail”. If you thought you’d seen a through-the-roof reaction already, think again. You ain’t seen nothin yet!!! For me to avoid a worse outcome, this was the time to grab my iPad and my keys, and walk out the door. I came directly to my doctor’s office, let the dear office manager know that I needed a coaching moment and a safe place, and waited.

The Doc saw me right away for a couple of minutes and told me it was okay with him if I just sat in here and calmed down for a while. So here I sit, so angry that I can barely see straight in a dark testing room (lights off being my choice) utilizing what’s working of my frontal lobes and my motor skills to try to explain how difficult PTSD can be. If the climbing gym was open, I’d be there climbing, utilizing my frontal lobes and my motor skills. Typing this will have to suffice as a substitute for now.

I don’t think that this person’s problem was meant to be manifested the way it turned out being so. I think this other person was having their own problem and I reacted in an extreme manner to what probably should have been a 3 on a scale of 10 instead of a 20 in terms of reaction intensity. Like I said, it warranted a reaction, but not this intense of a reaction. This level of intensity will take several days to come back down, too. Thank you, PTSD. And just think, this is me on medication!!! My doctor always reminds me not to do anything that would make it worse, like going to jail. Yeah, in jail, they’d take away my meds!!!

So, you may be able to tell that this exercise of mine is working a little way toward calming me down because I’m beginning to actually evaluate and analyze the situation. I would much prefer climbing over being this incredibly angry, but at least I have an understanding Doc and his wonderfully compassionate office manager to go to in an emergency!!! Signing off, and catch you next time, be kind to yourself and others! You never know what people are going through!

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