I need you now

I could feel myself begin to shake. My medicine was downstairs.
I made my way downstairs, holding on tight to the railing so I wouldn’t fall.
I turned and that is when my body gave out.

PTSD won…

I remember falling and then nothing. Surrounded in darkness I just slipped away.
A few times I opened my eyes and felt a wet tongue glide across my skin.

Our husky escaped from his crate and was there next to me.

His soft kisses bringing me back from the darkness.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and he helped me sit up.

I have no idea how long I was out. By the time the darkness left I was left sore and bruised. I thanked the dog for helping me. Something he’s done since he was a pup. He’s been there for me and lets me know when the darkness is coming. He’s more aware of my PTSD than I am.

Ice has been my friend. I have a nice baseball size bruise on my arm, stiff neck and shoulders.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a flare up of my PTSD this bad. I’d been so proud handling my PTSD. But that’s the thing with PTSD. Out of the blue it can knock you on your butt, and in my case literally.

My husband is away. So I wrote him a message to let him know what happened. To let him know I need him.

I need his arms around me telling me everything will be okay. To tell me I’m safe.

Kisses on my bruises and a good rub down.

Two steps forward and one step back. Struggling every day living with PTSD. Something I won’t let get me down.

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PTSD, my story

“I am most certainly back to anger. There are people I want to yell at. People I want to ask why you didn’t help me when I asked for help because if you had I wouldn’t have been hurt in the first place. There are people I want to slap for putting me in the position of getting hurt. People I want to scream at for not listening to me once I was hurt. People I want to lecture for making fun of my shaking and other PTSD symptoms. There are people I want to pay for the hurt and suffering I am going through.”  Elle March 27, 2014

I was sexually assaulted at a MTF (military treatment facility). Someplace I thought that I would be safe and wasn’t.

I was sexually assaulted by a HM in the Navy during a medical procedure.
What should have been a procedure turned into torture and sexual assault.

When I was telling the Victim’s Advocate in detail about what happened. I was told that a prisoner of war is treated better than I was. And that I had the worst case of PTSD that this advocate had seen his entire career, and the advocate had seen people straight from war zones.

It was said part of my PTSD symptoms were due to mylein being damaged. I was never tested so I am unsure if my mylein was damaged. But what I did find out was that tremors are a part of my PTSD symptoms.

I shake (tremors). I was once told I looked like a bobble head yeah I cried that is how bad I shook. It was like I had Parkinson’s disease. The shaking got so bad that I had trouble walking and sometimes would collapse.

My speech was limited. It was hard for me to talk. If I fought the shaking it hurt and you could hear the tremors in my voice. It was hard for me to get each word out. I struggled. I could tell people were frustrated but tried not to show it.

Walking was hard. My husband had to walk behind me supporting me. He would hold his arms under mine so when my body gave out he could catch me. And I could always lean back against him when I couldn’t take the pain any more. Because yes the tremors caused me so much pain. Pain if I fought it, pain if I let it take over my body.

I went through medicine change after medicine change. Partly to control the tremors. But also to control the flashbacks and nightmares.

When I was first diagnosed with PTSD I was told that I might not ever recover. That is that I might always have PTSD.

After the first initial months after my official diagnoses I went through the stages of grief. I always found myself going back to anger. I was angry that this could happen to me. Angry that because I wasn’t raped there wasn’t enough evidence at what happened to me. Pictures of bruises and other evidence wasn’t enough.

My main worry was that this HM would do this again. That this HM would rape someone if given the opportunity.

It took me a long time to trust someone in a uniform again. I didn’t automatically look at them and think I was safe. I actually began to fear the uniform and it became a trigger. Which thankfully didn’t last long my husband wears the same camo.

I created this blog due to my struggle with PTSD. I live each day with PTSD. I’ve had to learn how to do things over again. So I created this blog because I ended up finding out that it’s okay to have PTSD.

I am grateful to have the support team that I do. Grateful for the people in my life I can lean on for support. Grateful for my husband who was there for me when I needed him the most.

If you would like to share your PTSD story please email it to simplybeingelle@gmail.com and I will publish it. I don’t think anyone should hide that you have PTSD. But it takes YOU to say you have PTSD.

wpid-2015-04-06-19.41.20.png.pngwpid-2015-04-06-19.40.54.png.pngThe bruises are gone but the emotional scars are still there.

My name is Elle and I have PTSD.

Shades of Doubt

Fifty Shades of Grey is a book written by E. L. James. James has gone on to write two additional books Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed to make up the Fifty Shades trilogy. This trilogy falls into the category of erotic romance.

When it was decided that Fifty Shades of Grey would be turned into a movie I was excited. I wondered who would play Anastacia. My husband actually hoped a certain actress would but was let down when it wasn’t her. I was puzzled when the first Christian Grey dropped out but excited to see who replaced him. I wondered how the sex scenes would play out.

And I read about the controversy. That Fifty Shades of Grey condoned domestic violence.

I am against domestic violence. You see I’ve actually experienced domestic violence. I don’t want to go into the details.

But it puzzled me as to the pieces of the book they chose to prove the book condones domestic violence. But perhaps that is also because I have studied sociology and sexual deviance. I understand about BDSM, and the submissive and dominate relationship that Christian Grey is asking for.

I for one can tell you there are books out there that can be perceived as condoning domestic violence. For one read This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas. She actually has a trilogy based on This Man. Read The Life of Anna by Marissa Honeycutt, there are several parts to The Life of Anna (I’ve actually pre-ordered the next book).

I am also a writer. I have written several books and am in the process of publishing right now. As a writer I can say I have written from my heart. I have gotten a story in my head and it comes pouring out until the story unfolds to how I want it to unfold.

I would also like to add right now I have read the above books I’ve mentioned and loved reading them. I would also like to state not everything in the world is 100% happy. So why should a writer write about 100% happy things if those things don’t happen in the real world?

I for one am glad E. L. James wrote the Fifty Shades trilogy. I am glad Jodi Ellen Mapas and Marissa Honeycutt wrote their books. I am glad other writers that I have read have written their books. Not just because I love to read. But I’ve fallen into the world they have written about. I’ve let my imagination go and be absorbed into what they have written.

And my world isn’t 100% happy. Struggling with PTSD is hard. I don’t have combat PTSD, something I would like to add. PTSD is not always caused by combat. I have triggers, flashbacks, nightmares… I struggle. And sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that not everything is perfect.

I struggle with the term normal. Okay I’ve struggled with the term normal since my first sociology class. But I especially struggle with the term normal since my first PTSD symptoms started showing up. So when I find a book where everything isn’t 100% happy I am fine with that.

Now again I will say I am 100% against domestic violence. I have spoken up about domestic violence. I have helped people out of domestic violent relationships. I have supported people in domestic violent relationships. I won’t judge if you are in a violent relationship. I won’t judge if you are in a BDSM relationship. I won’t judge if you are LGBT. I won’t judge if you write a book that is controversial…

While you may have doubts about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie I will be going to see it. I am waiting a while after opening weekend so there are less crowds. I can’t wait and I am excited. Oh and one of my friends posted Fifty Shades of Bricks and Lego if you make that movie let me know!!! I will go and watch it, I’ll buy it too!! Hi my name is Elle and I am addicted to Legos.

You know… actually I think I am going to go buy the Fifty Shades of Grey book. My book is an electronic copy and I do not have a hard copy of the book. And I do have the hard copy of the other 2 books in the trilogy.

Hey if you are for Fifty Shades of Grey or against. It’s you’re own choice.

Just remember to read in between the lines…

How Broken is Broke?

Take 2 plates. Take one of the plates and throw it to the ground. Pick up the broken pieces and put it back together. Does it look the same as the other plate?

You never truly understand broken until you’ve experienced it deeply.

In college I studied biochemistry, quantum chemistry, analytical chemistry, forensic science, and sociology.  I wanted to go to school and become a doctor.

This was my dream growing up. Since the 3rd grade I declared I would become a doctor.

I applied to college and got accepted. About two years later I was accepted into the School of Science. I was going to get a bachelor degree in chemistry and a minor in sociology.

But my heart wasn’t in it. I could sleep through a chemistry class and squeak through with a C without studying. It didn’t capture my mind.

I soon left the School of Science for Liberal Arts. I changed my major from chemistry to sociology. Despite being only 4 classes away from my chemistry degree I went for sociology.  I decided on a minor in chemistry instead.

I had different friends on campus. I was a part of several clubs and in the student body counsel. Through those clubs and counsels I met more friends.

It just so happened a few of them were Veterans. They had come to school with their Vet benefits. I became someone they could talk to.

There were times I would run across campus just to sit with someone and listen to them talk. There were times I grabbed someone and reminded him where he was. It was my first experience with PTSD. Well not truly my father had PTSD but I was limited to his experiences. He hid it from me. But the first time I grabbed a friend and walked him through where we were. That no he wasn’t in a war zone. He wasn’t there being shot at. That was my true exposure to PTSD.

I became trusted. I honored that. I could help many Vets on campus if they needed it. I was someone they could turn to.

With my unique interest in sociology and how I was studying humanistic behavior it gave me a new out look on PTSD. 

Whether it was 10pm at night sitting outside University College having a conversation to help a friend having a flashback. Or noticing when someone had a trigger and I went running to help. I did this for them, and not for me.

I wanted to get my Masters in Sociology. I actually wanted to study sexual deviance. More specifically Transgender people, leaning more towards MTF (Male to Female) transitioning. And gender confusion (raise a child and let them pick their sexual orientation).

Years later when I decided to pursue my passion in photography I held onto pieces of what I was taught. It helped understanding people.

Despite the people I helped, the research I did. That did not prepare me when I began experiencing my PTSD.

When I first began to shut down I turned to Lego mini figures. I decided to lean towards my creative side of my brain. Which is harder to do with PTSD. But those Lego figures helped me. I could take my mind off what was happening to me by creating a story for them.

What I found the most frustrating of this whole experience was therapy for my PTSD. 

I could teach what they were saying. I could give play by play details of what should be said and done. I’ve done each thing that they wanted me to do with someone else I had helped through PTSD. And most importantly I had done it to myself.

I have a magical way to calm my breathing down. Thank you yoga!! I can lower my heart rate and calm myself. Now this isn’t a magical cure but it does help.

Quickly after the event I developed a phobia of people touching me. I actually carried hand sanitizer and would clean any part they touched of me. Even to this day I still have this phobia. When I’m in a crowd I began to freak if people get too close. It can easily trigger me.

I found out quickly what my triggers were. Loud noises startle me, and throws me off. So I’m not happy with fireworks or gun shots. I couldn’t tell you the state of panic I was in when the Seahawks won to go to the Super Bowl. I didn’t watch. But the fireworks made me jump. The 9mm that went off had me curled up in a ball crying. My husband was on duty and I couldn’t get a hold of him. I had to make a decision.

There are certain medicines I take. And certain medicines I am to stay away from. Those medicines can either set me off or make me dependent on them. But I had to reach for a valium. I needed that escape.

Because even though I’m put back together I’m like the plate. There are still cracks. It doesn’t look perfect.

I wish I could say I’m almost there.

A year is approaching. And each day I get stronger. But there isn’t an exact date of this is when my PTSD will stop. That this is when the nightmares will stop. No more flashbacks. No more picturing what happened in my head.

I don’t look broken. I look like myself. But inside I feel broken. I feel broken due to PTSD.  And I don’t know when I’ll be fixed.

In the beginning I used to beg to be fixed. Scream when this would all be over.

The saying “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger” makes me want to scream.
The saying “G-d will not give you anything more than you can handle” made me question Him. For how could He do this to me.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Thanks for reading my outlet. Thanks for letting me share my story of PTSD.

I will be expanding on a few things mentioned in this post.

Support

SBEFlower

In a blink of an eye things can change. One minute things can seem fine and the next they aren’t. That is life.

One thing I am grateful for is the support of my husband. That after the “event” he took care of me. Even before he knew what happened he knew something had happened. He held onto me during my weakest moments and listened when I finally explained. It was hard. Not just for me but for him.

Due to the shock to my system my body couldn’t handle it. As I previously stated I shook, I had tremors. My whole entire body.
It was hard for me to walk. My husband would walk behind me with his arms under mine. If I needed his support all I had to do was lean back. He would whisper in my ear that things would be alright. He would remind me he was there.

I guess I could best describe it as Parkinson’s. My head would shake, my arms would shake, my legs… like I said my whole body. I couldn’t control it. If I tried to fight it I would be in so much pain. It got to the point my speech was being effected. I had troubles talking.

I was told I had damage to my myelin and it would take some time to heal. Patience… everything I’m not.

I went on medications. Taking medicine every so many hours just to control the tremors.

The only place I felt safe was at home. Whenever I went out people would stare. It was truly hard for me.

But the one person I had, the one person who never left, my loving husband. Whenever I needed him, he was there. He would hold my hand, stroke my hair, comfort me, love me… be my all.

If I didn’t have support I don’t know where I would be. I had several people step forward and promise me I could count on them. Those people who I don’t want to list THANK YOU for your support. I needed a system, a network, a safe place.

I had to struggle to begin to put my life back together. I had to struggle to feel safe.

And without the support of those who cared for me I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

So from the bottom of my heart THANKS!

Welcome

Hello! This is my first blog post.

I decided to create the blog Simply Being Elle due to my struggle with PTSD.

I didn’t always go by Elle. But after what I will refer to as the “event” (the event that caused my PTSD) I felt lost. I felt that pieces of me were missing. I didn’t feel complete. I wondered who I was. I was scared that I lost a part of me. I was broken.

After the “event” I was broken. I was pushed over the edge to where my body could no longer handle it. I struggled with walking. Doctors told me that I had myelin (the thing that insulates your nerves) damage. The damage was done in partial due to the “event”.

I shook. There is no true way to define it. I struggled walking due to the tremors. My husband had to walk behind me to help me. Because I refused a wheelchair. There were certain things I wouldn’t let the “event” take from me. For example I had to sign my signature. And despite the pain I would fight off the tremors so I could sign my name as neatly as I could.

My head would shake as well. One person told me I was a bobble head. I learned very quickly not to let others see you cry. I couldn’t explain what was happening to me. It was very painful for me. But despite the internal pain I had to also deal with the emotional pain of how others saw me.

I want to say it is hard to remember the broken shell I was left in.

But often my PTSD flares up. I still have tremors but they are not as bad. Thank goodness for medicine. The nightmares and flashbacks are something I live with every day.

I survived what happened to me the best way I did. I fought. But in that fight something inside of me changed.

I can’t say whether it’s good or bad. But I walked away as Elle.

I simply want to be Elle, the survivor of PTSD. Not the victim, not the broken shell. But the woman who I am today.

This blog will be about me. I am unsure if I ever will talk about the “event” and right now I will just leave it at that.

If you have PTSD you are not alone.

I thank my friends and family for their support. For understanding that I need to be Elle. For letting me hide the broken part of me because I didn’t want them to see. I was afraid to show how much the “event” changed me. But I’m glad I’m Elle now. I wouldn’t change it for the world.