“She grew up in a small town. And it grew as much and as fast as she did; until one day when the town’s growth slowed, almost to a halt, as did she. But inside, she was still growing. Inside, she was finding out who she was. The familiarity of the town started to bother her a lot. She felt as if she was trapped inside of a room and she saw many ways out, but could not break free of the chains that weighed her down. So many factors drew her to want to escape, but only one motivated her enough to build herself a ladder. She dreamed of the day she would be able to wake up to silence, rather than the screams and the sound of objects being thrown and fists being slammed on the counter – the angry footsteps coming up the stairs – the hungry hand reaching for her doorknob.”
Millions of people suffer from PTSD, and not all of them are veterans. This, among other mental illnesses are not taken seriously, but they should be. I was not even aware that I suffered from PTSD until recently, and it has opened my eyes to what society deems to be understandable, among those who suffer mental illnesses. According to society, it is understandable (and often expected, which is sad) for veterans to suffer from PTSD. While I am not comparing the strength it requires to go to war to other life experiences, PTSD can be felt among those who suffer any traumatic life experience(s). This kind of thing was never explained to me. It is an exhausting effort to act like I am fine when I feel something sentimental trigger the “freak-out” lever in my brain. I am almost never fine, but it doesn’t make sense to anyone for me to suffer from PTSD until I explain my backstory, and the reason why I don’t explain it is not because it hurts or because I am embarrassed, but because I shouldn’t have to. I have been told hundreds of times that “only veterans experience things bad enough to bring about PTSD,” but that is far from true. I have always wanted to know what it’s like to connect with someone who had a similar upbringing, but it took me far longer than it should have to realize I need to speak up first.