How I Live With PTSD, An Invisible Illness Most People Don’t Know I Have

I don’t let very many people into my apartment. It’s partially because I’m an introvert and like my alone time, but it’s mostly because I struggle to maintain a level of cleanliness fit for company. There are usually a couple dirty dishes lying around, I haven’t vacuumed in a while, throw blankets are tossed haphazardly onto the couch. I keep a very “lived in” space compared to my more put-together friends. It’s an image that is totally at odds with what people see when I’m out in public, which is this powerhouse of a woman who’s totally got her life together. But both people are me; I just have PTSD, an invisible illness that can sometimes make everyday tasks too overwhelming to handle.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is most commonly associated with military veterans, but anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can develop the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. Dr. Shainna Ali, licensed mental health counselor, educator, and clinical supervisor, tells Bustle that trauma itself is subjective, meaning that something might be traumatic for one person but not traumatic for another person. For me, that traumatic experience was repeated sexual assault when I was a teenager.  more

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