Even the strongest hide to survive. A lot of time with us PTSD survivors we end up isolating ourselves. It's not because we don't love you or care about you. We do it as a coping mechanism to survive. Feel free to share your story if you're dealing with this.
Personally, I'm figuring out why I isolate so much. The obvious reasons which I've known from when it started was to keep myself away from my triggers. Imagine hearing a car drive by or seeing one and all of the sudden your body makes you feel like you're seconds from dying. Even know you're safe and you know it. Like I've said many times before and will keep on saying... It's not a conscious thought. We who have PTSD do NOT think ourselves into this nor are we living in the past. It's a problem in our brains from a traumatic event.
One of the many other reasons I'm finding that I do this is because it's embarrassing, extremely humiliating and I have no control over it. I can't make it stop or stop it from happening. Even once it's started I can't force it to go away. I moved to a new city in a new state a few years ago and was finding it very difficult to meet people. Please note that I have always been a very social person. Part of the reason is that I was avoiding triggers and stayed in. Another reason is that the lack of understanding by others on the subject of PTSD makes it difficult to meet new people. Because my triggers have to deal with automobiles that limits what I can do when meeting new people to avoid triggers. Movies for example. If there is driving, especially fast and reckless driving in the movie I can almost guarantee I will get triggered. Just about anywhere driving or automobiles are necessary and/or are very prevalent. That can trigger me. I do best with driving but I still get triggered sometimes. I can't really ride with others because I almost always get triggered that way and it doesn't matter how good or safe your driving is.
In the past when meeting new people I've always been pretty honest and straight forward about it. A lot of times I got poor and fearful reactions. Once I was on a date and the gal I was on a date with said, "Oh My God, you're not going to flip out and start hitting me and shoot me are you?" I of course, was shocked at the naivety of that question and reaction that I explained that doesn't really happen like it does in movies. I also had to explain that I was a nonviolent person and what happens when i get triggered. That response, which is only one of many responses that have driven me to hide or isolate. Because you can tell someone in the mostest bestest, educational way and they still don't get it. I can understand how if someone who has never been through it can't understand it. I get that. What I don't get is the lack of trying to understand. Opening a conversation when I try and invite them to open one up and instead get fear or someone trying to explain to you what you're really doing when they have NO IDEA or understanding of it. That's the best way to push people away.
Recently I went out with some new friends. Instead of taking the late night bus home (which the bus is the only vehicle I have not been triggered by) I decided to head out for some food with them and the ride wasn't bad. I was a little drunk so I thought... what the hell. I wasn't so drunk that I couldn't walk or talk but I had a pretty good buzz on. I was of course anxious because I'm not used to riding with others but it wasn't so bad. We got to our destination in about 15 minutes. I got out of the car and it hit me like a mack truck... pun intended.... I almost collapsed. I caught myself on the side of her car and I stopped breathing, my heart was raising and I could feel my blood pressure pounding through my whole body. I started bawling and couldn't stop crying and almost collapsing. that lasted for about 3o minutes and I just kept apologizing the whole time. Luckily my new friends were open and didn't judge me or get scared. They handled it like champs and I'm soo grateful for that. People/new friends handling it like champs and being supportive is something I'm not used to. That's when I realized that's one of the many reasons I've been hiding myself in isolation.
Thank you for reading my story. I am writing about my experiences to try to help raise awareness for people with invisible disabilities. I appreciate any questions or feedback you have and feel free to share. Let's start a conversation.