My name is Janae, and I'd like to share something sort of personal with you today. Why? Because I've learned that when people are quiet and hide things, it's usually because they're ashamed. I used to be that way, but I've become a loud and proud woman with strength and understanding beyond my age. I also have been able to help many others who struggle with similar issues as I do. To see someone begin thriving and finding happiness because I supported them and helped them gives me and my past so much purpose. And it brings me some of the sweetest joy I've ever felt.
I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). While that is definitely its own condition, mine is accompanied by bouts of depression and anxiety. From what I've learned, that's pretty common, but it doesn't make anything easier. I lived for over 15 years not realizing that I had any of it, and then I finally sought out help after my now-husband witnessed an awful breakdown I experienced one night. After seeing my therapist for a little while, she told me that she'd never seen anyone with my condition make so much progress so quickly. I was simply ready to stop letting my past and my fears control my life. Considering that, I'm not surprised by my rapid progress at all.
Day-to-day life is mostly uneventful--in a good way. Occasionally I'll have really difficult weeks, sometimes a few tough ones in a row. I usually know my limits and boundaries, and I can often take care of myself during those rough times. Rarely, I just need to not even get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, I need to focus on my immediate surroundings and listen to my husband's soothing voice to keep myself from spiraling into a flashback. Other times, I have to let myself feel whatever raw emotions my head and heart are experiencing, even if that means that I crumble into a mass of tears, snot, and sobs. While those probably sound unpleasant to you, they sound downright great to me because I used to not even recognize what I needed in order to take care of myself, among other problems (like being emotionally dead, having lapses in my memory from blocking out trauma or flashbacks, no self-esteem, etc.).
I suppose I wanted to write this guest post on here today because I want to continue raising awareness about mental disorders, especially PTSD. I also want to keep spreading hope that even if you have an emotionally or mentally crippling disorder, you can still find happiness and success in life. Your condition doesn't have to rule you. And you can live a relatively "normal" life, even if you have to do things differently than others who don't share your condition.
I'm proof of that: I'm married with a 1-year-old son. I'm successfully self-employed. I enjoy hobbies like surfing, snowboarding, cycling, and rock climbing. I can smile at myself in the mirror and feel confident in my own skin. I'm no longer a victim. I'm more than just a survivor. I'm a strong and loving woman with a past that doesn't define her. I am who I want to be.