what the next step is, advocacy.
I never thought I’d be an advocate for anyone. Never thought I’d have any ground to stand on so to speak, but I do. There’s two things I know really well: living with PTSD and recovery from a TBI.
It’s my opinion that PTSD, like autism is a spectrum because people are not one size fits all. But because I’ve lived with it so long and because I’ve recovered or integrated so much of it, I’m in a fairly unique position to talk about what PTSD is and isn’t to people both with it and those without it. Mostly I’m thinking about explaining what it’s like, experientially to people who don’t have it. Describing symptoms is fine, but telling someone you go into a panic state at the drop of a pin just either sounds completely out of control OR like you’re making it up. And it isn’t either.
The TBI thing is something a doctor told me years ago. He was a customer of mine and I told him my experience waking up from the TBI and what was confusing and what I did (or couldn’t) do about it. He told me I should give talks to medical professionals. He specialized in brain injuries.
So, it occurred to me that as weird as it is, I DO have something I could stand up and talk about, actually two things, and both from the perspective that’s rarely heard: the patient/client’s perspective.
Big downside: it requires me to lose the last squeemishness I have about standing up in public and saying, “This is who I am.” In some ways that will be a win for me and a loss for the abuser. But in another way, it will mean that for the rest of my life I’ll be pathologized by almost anyone I meet, not a particularly comforting or welcoming vision.