Nightmares, the Minds Way of Dealing with Trauma

This morning I woke up with a dry mouth, no blanket, very stressed out, and with a strong urge to find a gym with a punching bag. Trauma comes out in soooo many ways but this is one of my least favorites.

Nightmares and PTSD

I have PTSD from a few different events but a pretty large traumatizing event for me was my mother’s infidelity in my parents marriage. It has shaken me and with the lack of after care and needed relationship rebuilding, it is something that my brain is almost constantly trying to process.

My dream this morning that caused me to wake up in absolute panic was about my mother getting married to the person that contributed to the demise of our family. In my dream I went to be a support person for my dad but ultimately left the room because I was unable to do it. At their wedding in my dream they were showing a video of how the relationship started and it played like a movie. I really think it’s funny how some of the details that you don’t know can get filled in by your imagination. I ran out of the wedding in tears from anger and punched a hole in the wedding locations bathroom.

I have felt all of these feelings before. They aren’t something new, but they can be just as real from the scenarios that PTSD causes you to relive. I wasn’t ever able to voice my hurt and concern without my mother telling me that it was none of my business and that I shouldn’t be affected by it, so my brain created a scenario where I could get it all out. It was my brains way of saying “Hey I’m still here and you need to deal with the built up pain, feelings of betrayal, anger, and neglect!”

I’m not sure today will be the day that I have the courage to tell my mother how much she hurt me, but I know with time and experience I will be able to. Someday I will wake up and know that I am ready to stop carrying this boulder that weighs me down.

Does anyone else have very vivid nightmares about past trauma? If you do, how do you cope? Share if you would like.

The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Sometimes when I think about my mental health I just immediately want to push stop and move on to the next topic. If I can’t even face my problems, I wonder how people would perceive me if they knew what I was fighting every day. It can be really scary letting people know that you are different.

I want to open this post up by sharing some of the things that have been said to me about the challenges I face every day.

  • You have depression? You always seem so happy
  • You can’t have anorexia, I see you eat
  • You can just choose to be happy
  • You don’t look like you have an eating disorder
  • Just stop worrying
  • It’s not that big of a deal, just get over it
  • Just eat the food

I look at that list and I just want to scream! It is total crap that the world we live in has an entirely warped idea of mental health. How would it sound if you told someone with diabetes that it isn’t a big deal and to just get over it or telling a cancer patient that they can just choose to not be sick? You would get cursed out, given the evil eye, and roasted alive if you had the audacity to post that online. It’s crazy how mental illness is treated so differently than physical illness.

Physical Illness VS Mental Illness

Here are my truths:

At age 18 I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) when my self harming got so bad that I could no longer hide it. I wasn’t constantly sad, so I didn’t even think depression was an issue.

At age 20 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It took being pregnant to realize how out of control my anxiety was, but I had been an anxious mess constantly since middle school, I was always to afraid to speak up about it.

At age 20 I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. I had no idea my depression could get worse than it already was and that Postpartum Depression didn’t just go away when your child was no longer a baby.

At age 21 when I saw my first therapist and psychiatrist I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is so much stigma around this one that I thought it was just for soldiers who came back from war, which I definitely did not do. *cringe*

Last but not least, at age 25 I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. There is a lot of backstory that goes into this one, but there’s so much stigma surrounding Eating Disorders that I never even considered it an option. It wasn’t until I came across something that had triggered me that I had realized I have struggled with food and diet culture my entire life.

It is so hard getting away from the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I have depression, but I’m not always sad. I have anxiety but I am not always a hot mess. I have PTSD but I won’t let it define me. I have an eating disorder and I am not overweight or underweight. These are my truths and I am not ashamed.

I firmly believe that with time, continued therapy, continued medical care, and my awesome support system that I can beat all of these. The stigma doesn’t have to define you and with the help of everyone talking about the importance of mental health we can end the stigma. I’m doing my part and I am done being ashamed.

My Beginning

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you for checking out my new head space! I am super excited and kind of nervous to make this first post! I plan on making this space my ultimate online comfort zone!

Before I get into anything too deep, I would like to give you guys a little more info about me!

I’m 25 years old, soon to be 26 (yikes)! I live in Iowa with my amazing husband and my 5 year old daughter. I work at Build-A-Bear Workshop and I firmly believe that it is the best job on the planet. I’m very lucky to have an awesome support system of both friends and family. I like to consider myself a positive and friendly person.

My home life hasn’t always been great and I am still trying to work through a lot of that as an adult. Mental illness has been something I have been dealing with for quite awhile and it is a huge part of my story.

Some of my posts will be really deep and for those I will try to post trigger warnings so that you can comfortably decide if you would like to read on or not. My ultimate goal is to help everyone realize that no matter what you are going through, the good and the bad, you aren’t alone.