How PTSD has changed me or made me stronger

Wondering if PTSd has changed you in positive ways, or made you stronger. What PTSD has done for me:

I am now more grateful for kind friends and I let them know that.

I appreciate my doggie Soooo much.

When I come across others with PTSD I know how they feel. I know how much they struggle.

I try to really to find "good" friends and people who care or seem to be genuine.

I have no tolerance for people who treat me poorly. I try to stand up for myself or avoid them.

I try to take it easy more than in the past.

I know that if I concentrate it improves my "brain fog" so I try to engage in prolonged concentration.

I am not as naive about people.

Getting PTSD drove me out of an abusive relationship.

I now live alone for the first time in a loooong time and I am learning to like it.

19 Replies

  • Wow this is great!

    I can add to this as well.

    I have found gifts that came from my experience also. Compassion for others, connection with animals, solid intuition, song writing and music to express feelings, helping others who struggle with the wisdom I have gained, and strong leadership because I had to take care of myself at a young age.

    The tips you gave about the brain fog were great. I am currently in the recovery process and I have a way to go but I do acknowledge that gifts have come from my experience. I'm glad you brought this up. Thanks so much for helping me remember this.

  • Very nice. Yes compassion, and a connection with animals. I like that!

  • A wonderful idea to share these things! :)

    After dealing with PTSD, I've learned how truly strong and courageous I am - I can confront and overcome, and I have gotten so much better at appreciating my strength.

    I am less judgmental about what others have been through. Humility does that.

    I have learned to live within myself and my needs to rest and recuperate - if an activity is not right for me, I have no problem saying "No thanks."

    I am a truly blessed person with a lot of gifts, and it is my obligation to steward my gifts lovingly.

    I've learned when a woman is not right for me, and how to walk away rather than start dating her.

  • Great! I think we may find some similarities in our experiences. Less judgmental that fits me too. PTSD may have some purpose. I know that sounds weird, but it is a part of who we are. I am trying to see how it makes me better too!

  • Absolutely - if PTSD feels like lemons, let's look at the lemonade! :) I think you've opened a great topic area. Absolutely - the PTSD has defined much of who I am.The way I say it is "I may have healed the wounds, but I'll always have the scars." That helps me see how I function in the world.

    Years ago, I worked with a prison ministry. We'd go into a prison, and work with the inmates. They always accorded me tremendous respect. I didn't understand until later - they saw in me the intimate acquaintance with violence. It's just part of me.

  • Everything we do and experience changes us, some more than others. I'm not a fan of the 'scar' idea. I've hung so many things on the back of PTSD recovery that it's more like a new limb. But my body has taken a big hit in the process and some of that damage is irreversible.

    I get your prison experience thing, that still throws me too. I don't think of myself as a tough guy but there is that recognition and the same instinctual largely non-verbal negotiation "We're both tough guys, no beef, no need to fight today, this is neutral/your/my turf, we're just passing through".

  • Good point, Chilli. I talk about the scars, but I haven't revisited that idea for a while. Maybe I'll start saying "I'll still have the awareness." A new limb - I like that idea.

    Yup, it's an odd thing to realize I'm perceived as a tough guy. :) But I do know this, people don't mess with me, like you're saying. It's shifted since I did a LOT of anger work - I'm a lot more mellow - but evidently some of that aura is still present.

    Funny story about that tough guy thing. I was walking around Chinatown in New York City. I stopped and took out my map, because I wanted to get to the Jewish Lower East Side Museum. I was trying to be subtle with the map, so I would look inconspicuous and not too obviously like a tourist. (Subtle, wearing reading glasses, mind you).

    I glanced up, and there were two burly guys staring at me pretty hard. They were dressed like construction workers, and looked pretty tough. I'd been in town for a couple of days, so I knew a little about how to interact.

    I just looked back and said "What?"

    One of the guys looked real intently at me for a moment, like he was trying to figure something out. Then he said "Are you someone famous?"

    I laughed real loud, and said "Only in my house."

    They started laughing too, and we had a fun moment over it.

  • "I stil have the awareness" yes, that's more like it. On some days I'm more aware than others.

    My fun story was that a few years back I was doing an early morning stroll in a very safe area of town. I had a guy approach me andhe closed in real fast - I was in a mellow mode so didn't really go on guard.

    He moved in so that he was literally towering over me. We were nose-2-nose and the only reason we didn't get closer is because he stopped moving. IF he hadn't he would have bumped into me. I hadn't flinched.

    So he's looking down into my eyes and I'm looking up at his, thinking, I might have to fight this guy any second now. I made sure he got a good hard look into my eyes.

    He was asking for money and directions to a cafe. I made myself clear I didn't have any money and didn't know any cafes nearby.

    And then I turned my back on him and walked away, ready to be attacked. The guy meanwhile scooted off in the other direction mumbling, telling himself off.

    I walked away thinking "Wow, I must be more run-down that I thought" and "Wow, tha'ts an odd response".

    A few weeks back I went into to pick up a take-away and there were a bunch of guys waiting for theirs. The owner pointed to a seat next to them but I went and sat on a window ledge. The owner was bemused. But the guys and I had done this strange recognition thing, and so I didn't invade their space and we all pretended to ignore each other - like cats do. And then, as I left of course there was a 'goodbye' signal.

    I still find it funny, punks go through life looking for fights to "prove" themselves and real tough guys go through life looking for ways NOT to fight.

  • Yes, I'm feeling more comfortable with awareness than scars, now that you mentioned it.

    Interesting, Chilli, how much happened in those interactions you had on a non-verbal level. So much communicated with eye contact, even to the 'goodbye' signal.

    Very true about guys proving themselves. When I did the prison ministry thing, they sent us to one unit where the inmates were all 18 to 22 - they called it a gladiator farm, because the kids were always bulling up to each other and fighting. You could feel the hubris floating in the air.

    Later I went to a unit where the guys were all serving life sentences. They were very polite, quiet and there was much less tension in the air.

    There's a whole level of interaction with guys that makes for an interesting dynamic to watch. I was told that when I felt threatened, I used to have a "rattlesnake look." Like we've been talking about, I didn't know I did that for many years.

  • Agree with most of whats been said! But find those scars inescapable. It's just there in the subconscious - there's no escaping it. Wish I could take a pill that dispensed of them lol

  • Whatamug1, science has proven that we actually can rewire the subconscious and so become more free despite the scars. There are some terrific, gentle alternative methods for this. Take a look here:

  • Thanks for the link - I think I'm at the point where I'm coping. Have noticed that I've talked about it all with people I trust. It was all such a long time ago & a breakdown over unrelated issues was the trigger. I never denied to myself what I knew to have existed but guess a very busy life inbetween gave me little time to acknowledge it (them). Funnily most of my life I've worked in sectors that empower ....from tinys through to adults & always knew why. So perhaps, guess I'll never really know, it may have helped. Thx Ann

  • So glad you posted this, Adjunctbear! Great things already listed. I would add:

    I trust myself more deeply because I know I have what it takes to survive.

    I believe in myself more actively because I've proven I can endure and overcome.

    I honor myself more often because I've earned my own respect.

    I give love more freely because I'm more connected to the importance of the present moment.

    I offer more kindness and compassion because I understand deep pain.

    I speak up for and protect myself because I know I am my best advocate.

    Yikes, I could keep going and going. Posttraumatic growth is a very real event after trauma and the fun thing about it is that it keeps continuing to evolve.

  • I know who I am

    Lots of things no longer faze me

    I'm not afraid of fear, or uncertainty or anxiety or worry.

    In a crisis I can still function and be mellow

    Every day that I wake up is another day to enjoy

    I no longer waste my time on toxic people

    What other people think of me no longer matters much

    My "I've bin through worse" bar is pretty damn high :)

    I'm a nicer guy than before

    I'm a tougher guy than before.

    I've helpec others to build healthier, more fulfilling lives.

  • I'm more able to be the open and gentle soul I really am, instead of putting up high walls to protect myself.

  • It seems like we have all grown (and in in similar ways) because of PTSD. Not to offend anyone, but I also think PTSD helped me turn more to "God" or a higher power. It seems to me that PTSD is kind of like a spiritual attack (dark forces against us? Maybe?) Anyway I now have to lean on my faith more than ever and turn to religion which I may never have done without my experiences. For that I say Thanks because I think I have seen pure evil "satan" "dark forces" and I never want that in my life again!

  • I have developed many of the same strengths that you report. Imperfectly but there are real strengths. People always comment on it - especially when they learn something of my background. It has driven me to seek healing in every conceivable way to try and pass on that learning to my two adult children. I am kinder, more compassionate, more patient, less self-destructive and ready to relate to others' troubles. This is a great post. Focussing on the positives is good for all of us.

  • Hello adjunct bear

    Thank you for your post and your willingness to open your heart to share. Ptsd is overwhelming me and I am sure their will be more gifts to report maybe later down the road. I am still in the bargaining stage of a lot,of sadness and how I lost my innocence as a innocent lil boy many years ago. So there is a lot of pain and challenges to face today. But the good thing I am thankful for is that ptsd or post traumatic injuries is treatable and can be healed and the emtional symptoms can be completely healed. If we work for that end. For that I am grateful. I am in this process like others in this group. Thank you friend.

    Keep up your courageous work.

  • Great post, I think PTSD helps me to be a better driver, more empathetic with people and better at facilitating an autism social group in my area. I have even identified abuse victims and helped them to have safer lives due to my experiences. I also appreciate life and feel without PTSD my autism wouldn't have been identified because I was shy and retiring before the PTSD.

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