Every person is a universe. We all perceive our environment in different ways, we all have different experiences. We all have different ways of processing what happens around us. In my case, my experiences manifested themselves in the form of fibromyalgia. My perception of the world has always been quite frightening, and rightly so. I’m not saying I’ve suffered more or worse than anyone else. Health is not a competition. My experiences are mine and mine alone, and I decide how much I share and whom I share them with.
The reason I’ve decided to share my journey with PTSD is because in the last year I’ve been able to see how sharing my experiences have helped me and others improve our health. I don’t have THE solution to problems, and all I share are things that help me. If my experiences help other people, it’s maybe because they find some kind of inspiration in me. I know I inspire other people, that’s priceless and one of the most beautiful feelings I know of. And it is precisely in those people that I find inspiration back. That’s why I’ve decided to share my journey, because it helps me move on. It helps me thrive.
That being said, I’m going to explain a little more about my PTSD. It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that I was aware that I suffer from PTSD. It’s not something that appeared all of a sudden. In my case there have been a cluster of experiences shaping me since my childhood. I’m not going to spend my time explaining all the traumatic experiences, but explaining how those experiences have been manifesting in my body.
From an early age my body learned to live on alert, watching for everything that was going on around me. Movements, sounds, smells… everything. It’s no wonder I found calm in music, and fortunately I’m from the Walkman era. I mean, I could put on my headphones and escape to my own safe place. Music has been and is, without a doubt, a very important part of me. Back in my childhood, I found peace in music. But it’s not just music that has provided me with an escape route, but art in general. I have always been fascinated by our ability to transform our stimuli into art that in turn stimulates other people. The ability we have to shape our way of perceiving the world into something new.
I, like many other people, was not entirely fortunate and never got the help I needed. It took more than three decades for me to get the help I need. And it is during that time that my body has been manifesting PTSD in different ways. Despite having suffered symptoms such as sleep paralysis and other symptoms since childhood, it was in adolescence that my body began to show symptoms of exhaustion. There was a time when I couldn’t take it anymore, suffering from extreme exhaustion. I was diagnosed with leukaemia, something that traumatized me even more. But fortunately it wasn’t leukaemia. It was my body warning me about something that went really deep. At the time, the doctors who treated me didn’t know what was wrong with my body, fortunately it wasn’t leukaemia.
So my undiagnosed PTSD was evolving and began to show not only as physical pains, but also with panic attacks, anxiety and worsening my depression. It got to a point where I decided to go to the psychologist. I wasn’t lucky with that experience either. I was diagnosed with bipolarity and started a drug treatment that was obviously not right for me. By my twenties, I had learned to move forward with depression, panic attacks, anxiety and physical pain. Shortly after migrating to Norway, my pains began to be insufferable. Pains all over the body. So intense that sometimes I couldn’t walk, not even hold a book. Then I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A rather frustrating diagnosis, my pain was recognized as real, but the cause remained unknown.
For more than ten years I lived thinking that my fibromyalgia was genetic and incurable. In order to live with the pains, I was prescribed opiates. I didn’t get any help with my depression, which by then had become chronic for many years. In 2016 I just couldn’t bear it anymore. It wasn’t the first time, but I was already on the edge. I got to the point of going to the ER because my desire to end it all was so big that I couldn’t even trust my own survival instinct. It was in 2017 that I went into rehab. The first phase was one month in hospital, receiving 24/7 help. I was not yet aware of my PTSD, I came in to get help with my fibromyalgia. The second phase was another week in rehab after a couple of months. The third phase was the return to the routine.
During rehab, some of the traumas I had learned to survive with began to emerge, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. It wasn’t until October 2018 that my worst traumas started coming out. Continuous flashbacks. My depression, my sleep paralysis and other symptoms got much worse. It was so intense that I suffered dissociation. But fortunately my new doctor, whom I came to thanks to my stay in rehab, knows what kind of help I need. For a year now I have got help from a holistic point of view. I work hard with the help of my doctor, my psychologist and my physiotherapist. And now that I finally know that my fibromyalgia was caused by PTSD, I know what my best therapy is.
While writing this post, I received several messages from other brave heroes fighting PTSD back. YOU ROCK!!🤘😃💚