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Sick, sad and confused – living with PTSD

The Spectator | Vanessa de Largie | February 25, 2020

I feel tormented this week. I want to drink. I want to suck dick.  I want to self-destruct. I’m fighting an internal war, we all are in different ways.

I’ve been surviving on a diet of think-pieces about toxic humanity and I’m convinced think-pieces are the junk food of digital media.

I know when I’m about to go underwater because I become loud, opinionated and anxious.  The storm slowly passes and I’m left with a transient silence, which is even more uncomfortable because I’m not afforded the quiet needed to gather myself.

According to SANE Australia, around 25% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD)..  And women are more disposed to PTSD than men.

I’ve suffered from severe bouts of PTSD for most of my life after multiple traumatic events yet thankfully, I’m incredibly ambitious and my career is the glue that keeps all my broken pieces together.  

Much like the art form of Kintsugi in Japan where they fill broken bowls with gold, the Japanese believe suffering adds to an object’s beauty.  Gosh, they’d have a field day with me. Insert sarcasm here. But seriously, is there any authenticity in this belief? That adversity can add beauty to one’s character and provide opportunity, if one views the world from outside the pothole of pain?

To start off the roaring twenties, I decided to endure six weeks of sobriety to give the liver some much needed respite before I piss off to Old Blighty to speak at a sex conference and do an internship.

Little did I know that my full time sobriety would unmask a plethora of painful memories and intense emotions. I’ve literally spent the last ten days isolating, cancelling important meetings and participating in excessive masturbation — a pleasurable sport that is exacerbated by severe PTSD.

After my rape in 1997, I saw a psychiatrist, as well as a counsellor at Joondalup Hospital in Perth — they both specialised in sexual assault.  During that time I was sent to voluntary PTSD support groups that were primarily filled with rape victims and war veterans.  

Those groups certainly were confronting:  tortured individuals spilling their pain, like splattered blood over shiny sanitised floors.  I didn’t last long at any of those groups, it was all too much for me but many souls seemed to derive nourishment — which is comforting.

There’s no tangible end to PTSD as it effectively rewires your brain, yet there are coping mechanisms if one steps up and tries to find alternative ways through the maze.

Apparently, close to a million Aussies suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, making it one of the leading mental health disorders in our country.  Scarier still, many individuals remain undiagnosed.

No wonder there is so much violence and ongoing tragedy. A lot of Australians are broken and in pain.  Obviously an individual has to self-heal but if they are willing to TRY, shouldn’t we have more support for that?