My life as a Russian Roulette


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When you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, life is one hell of a ride.

But that doesn’t say much, does it, now? There’s hell of a ride and then there’s hell of a ride. The one I’m talking about is the kind that feels like a Russian Roulette. By which I mean, I never know when I’ll end up shattered in pieces, scattered on the floor.

I could be on my way to meeting a friend for coffee, or watching a movie, or going for a walk, or browsing my newsfeed and wham! Hit by a truck I didn’t see coming.

A while back, a friend tagged me in a post about depression. Naturally I went to see cause, you know, depression.

There was this long thing which was actually kinda beautiful, a nice picture and then a link. In the comments, they added another link, saying the first one was wonky.

The second link had a different picture. It raised all sort of flags but I decided to ignore them (yeah, I know). It is just red paint, I said to myself. It’ll be fine, I said.

Well, it wasn’t *just* red paint. And I got triggered. Was up all night. Miserable night.

All I could see when I closed my eyes was my mother’s blood all over the place…

I think my friend tagged me precisely because I am so vocal about depression and PTSD (the article was about how people from Rwanda are dealing with both after the genocides) but I also think they have no clue about how PTSD works.

I told them I had had to quickly close the page as it had triggered me so I couldn’t read the article. They apologized and then proceeded to tell me how it was not an article but a podcast and gave me the skinny, which only triggered me even more. Something to do with the ritual sacrifice of rams and roosters to exorcise depression and PTSD out of Rwandan survivors. [like, WTF?]. It was the account of a white man who went through the ritual so he could tell the whole world about it.

I politely said something to the effect of the explanation making it worse and how I didn’t condone animal cruelty and that as much as I felt for the Rwanda genocide survivors (I do, I carry them daily in my heart) I believe not even their recovery justifies ritual slaughtering of animals.

Also, that I rather live a thousand lives in the claws of PTSD and depression than be the cause of such cruelty even if I knew it worked. I know and can imagine many will disagree with me on that part, seeing that animal testing is still widely used and still considered ethical. But that’s where I stand on the issue. Feel free to disagree even though I’d much rather you didn’t.

So even when people are well-intentioned, you never know when something is going to jump at you like a jack-in-a-box and trigger you.

Not that it means you should live life being afraid of what awaits at every corner. I refuse to live in fear. I also refuse to sanitize my life to the point of missing out in order to protect myself.

But that means I have to be aware that triggering will happen and that I need to get stronger so I can deal with it when it happens.

So yeah, the way I see it, life with PTSD is a Russian roulette.

© Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


10 thoughts on “My life as a Russian Roulette

  1. Great post. I too have struggled with triggers but mine are mostly things I see on TV or in movies. I wasn’t expecting some of the scenes in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” or in “Saw.” They both triggered me badly and I was a mess for the next 24 hours at least. Like you, I have to be vigilant about what I see and read because I hate being triggered unexpectedly. Best wishes for success in your struggle.

  2. I so relate to this post as my life has also been severely damaged by PTSD. It started when my mother was very threatening to me as a child and I thought I was going to be murdered in my bed at her house. I developed OCD searching all over the house for serial killers planning hiding places and escape routes from the serial killers. Then in later life I thought random groups from the television were going to come and kill me. I had to completely stop watching the news which was very frustrating as my career was a journalist. Although I have had EMDR (have you tried it?) I still can’t watch any violent or serial killer films. I’m 11 years clean this week but the PTSD has sometimes made my recovery a nightmare. Luckily it and all my other mental health problems are now in recovery.

    • So sorry. Hugs! What a terrible thing PTSD is. I wasn’t even aware I had it until well into adult life so for me life was utterly incomprehensible. It wasn’t until recently that things started to make sense, the recurrent nightmares, the night terrors, etc.

      I have not had EMDR and you are the second person to suggest it. I will have to look into it. I Know what you meant about violent movies. Glad to hear things are going well for you. I am still trying to pick up the pieces, though

  3. Working with asylum seekers here in the UK, we’re told not to ask specific questions to them, but if they want to volunteer information, that’s OK. Some of the stories are pretty grim. I may not understand PTSD even slightly, but I can understand the need to look after yourself, and ideally, those around you.

    (Besides, if animal sacrifices actually worked, then we wouldn’t have had any need for Christianity.)

    • Hahahaha love your comment!

      Levity aside, yes. I’m glad some organizations understand that being asked certain things bluntly is very damaging for people with PTSD. I’m always amazed and appalled at how many health workers still don’t have any training in this. I’ve had even general practitioners ask me very bluntly “so I see here you have PTSD, what caused it?”. Even a person doing an intake interview for a mental health program. A MENTAL HEALTH program. It is sad 😦

        • Right? RIGHT??!!! I would think it is a matter of common sense. But I guess it isn’t. And yes, I understand they need to know. That is why I am there in the first place, so I can get help. Oh, well

  4. This is a great article on a real dilemma in the mental health field (research practices). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s hard to find active blogs on mental health these days.

    • Thank you. I am sad to hear it’s hard to find active blogs on mental health now. There used to be many of them a few years back. I have several posts written in my head. I really need to get around actually typing them.

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