Many people only associate PTSD with combat soldiers, and those who have dealt with domestic violence know what it is like to fight a constant war at home

Last night, I woke at 3.15 AM feeling unsettled and anxious. Again. Usually it’s because of a vivid dream that’s left me fearful, anxious, or angry (even if I don’t remember it).  But not last night. It was just the feelings on their own. It can take a long time to shift these harrowing emotions because breathing exercises and mantras only get you so far. Sometimes distraction is the key; I might get out of bed and camp out on the sofa so that I can watch TV until I’m so tired from exhaustion that my body literally as no option but to go into sleep mode.

This is PTSD. One of the ways it manifests at least. 

PTSD is what takes me back to the abuse, even years after leaving. It’s the involuntary physical responses to receiving bills or bank statements. It’s the crushing feeling of defeat when something trivial goes wrong. It’s the mountain of guilt for dishes undone or laundry unironed. It is the vivid dreams that take hours and sometimes days to shake. It is the jump or panic when I see a woman with short grey hair and glasses or a man on a mobility scooter wearing a hat.

So many people only associate PTSD with combat soldiers. But those who have dealt with domestic violence, for example, know what it’s like to fight a constant war at home. PTSD is a response to trauma, just as bleeding is a response to cutting your finger. Unfortunately, no bandage is big enough to cover up PTSD, and healing is an intense and long process. And sometimes that processing happens at 3.15 in the morning.

Fly Free,


we love to read your comments below

While I may technically be the Director here at SwanWaters, my unofficial title is Healing Cheerleader! I’m a survivor of childhood emotional abuse and workplace bullying. And believe me when I say that I’ve walked the walk when it comes to healing from trauma. I firmly believe that we can undo some of the damage that abuse has done to us, and learn the necessary skills to handle life and all it brings us.

One comment:

  1. Aubrey Cole

    October 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

    I will add, too, that from my own experiences, the times I am most frustrated are when I can’t remember a dream to correlate my fear to. I got very good at picking apart my dreams to take away the power they had, by going through each detail and examining why it wasn’t real. Sometimes they are memories, but oftentimes, it is our subconscious trying to work out the things our consciousness can’t quite deal with.

    I still have night terrors, waking up drenched in sweat and gasping for air. The last time I remember actually knowing what the dream was, I woke up choking and trying to breathe and remembered the dream was my ex on top of me with his hands around my throat. That never happened in reality, so it was obviously a figurative way for my mind to deal with the ways he was still trying to choke the life force out of me.


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