Emerging blogger series, Mental health

Emerging Blogger Series: Meagon (Prose for the Masses)

The emerging blogger series on Mental Health @ Home -background image of cherry blossoms

The emerging blogger series is aimed at community building through giving mental health bloggers who are early in their blogging evolution the opportunity to have their work seen by a wider audience.  It’s also a way to introduce you as a reader to some newer members of our community.

This post is by Meagon of Prose for the Masses.

rainbow-coloured mandala design
Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay 

PTSD’s Many Different Colors

I am not a veteran. I have not survived a major genocide nor am I a survivor of horrific abuse. I do not outwardly bear the signs of someone struggling, but inside is a catalyst of angst and worry all rolled into a nice package affectionately called, PTSD. 

My experience in the mental health field, both as a consumer and an employee, have taught me one valuable lesson about PTSD: It comes in as many different colors as the rainbow. 

I have seen elderly women who can’t listen to the TV set loudly because it brings back memories of their husbands who used to use them as punching bags while screaming at them. I have seen men and women in their 20’s who are petrified of intimacy because they survived childhood sexual abuse. Lastly, I have seen teenagers who, after years of neglect and toxic environments, have anxiety that cripples them during routine activities such as taking a test. 

These are all cases of individuals who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I fit into this category myself. 

My personal experience with PTSD stems from childhood abuse and was also something that went misdiagnosed in me for many years. I began presenting symptoms such as anger, night terrors and extreme anxiety when I was 18 years old. From 18 to 24 I was diagnosed with the following mental illnesses: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Every diagnosis came with a new slew of medications and, by the end of it, I screamed SCREW IT from the hilltops and stopped seeking treatment. Finally, at 25 I met an amazing therapist who talked me through my trauma before diagnosing me. At the end of our time together, she gave me the suggested diagnosis of PTSD. My immediate response was, but I have never experienced extreme trauma? I have never been to war or been locked up against my will, how can I have this? 

I, like many others, believed in the stigma surrounding this illness. I believed that my run of the mill childhood abuse was not severe enough to warrant a stress disorder? Society tells us that only severe and horrific trauma can be considered as such, but who gets to define what severe and horrific are? 

The definition of trauma is a disturbing or deeply distressing experience. Therefore, if something has happened to you in your life that YOU feel was disturbing or distressing, this is enough of a reason to label it as traumatic. But, we also need to remember that trauma is individualized.

For example, I am deathly afraid of heights. Climbing to the top of a tall building or, god forbid, climbing onto a rollercoaster is enough, just in thought, to make my stomach queasy. To others, being atop tall buildings and riding that new rollercoaster that flips you asunder 10 times is a true thrill! Traumatic for me, not for all. 

This is obviously a very mild example, but the point is there. Trauma is trauma if you feel the situation or experience was traumatic. 

This leads me to my next point: What in the hell do we do about it? 

All I can share is my own experience, and in my case, meditation and mindfulness saved me. At 26, I found the path of Buddhism and began to dabble in what this truly meant. This lead to my exploration into meditation and mindfulness. 

Meditation is a silent time where you sit and reflect on the here and now while quieting your thoughts and centering in on a nonmoving entity, I usually choose to focus on my breathe. Mindfulness is simply the practice of being in the current moment, not planning ahead or ruminating on the past. How do these help someone who is riddled with anxiety and unfounded worry? Otherwise known as my go to symptoms for PTSD?

Anxiety stems from the irrational fear of something or worry about something. Our thoughts begin to take a turn for the negative and suddenly, we see nothing but negativity on the horizon. Meditation and mindfulness do not fix this, but they do slow us down enough to gain control of our thoughts again. By silencing our thoughts and also focusing only on the moment we are in, there is no room for negativity regarding rumination on past experiences nor is there the need to plan for the future and instill worry about plans to be. 

So, to those war torn veterans, those elderly women who are piecing together their lives, that teenager entering high school with more worries on her mind then a prom date and to the young college girl who is afraid of anyone seeing her body-I see you and I validate your struggle. PTSD is not curable but it is manageable. Remember that your trauma is yours, but it is not the only thing that makes you an individual. Keep your head up, your thoughts focused on the here and now and your mind ever open to the struggles of others. Namaste. 

Meagon Nolasco is a practicing Buddhist, mental health professional, and lover of putting that stuff you never talk about into words. She is an avid mental health activist and human rights activist, and enjoys nothing more than fighting for those who need a louder voice. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and many of her writings stem from personal life realizations and past experiences, and feature a touch of bad humor and good puns.

If you enjoy what you read, give her a visit at her blog Prose for the Masses or follow her writing on Elephant Journal.

Thanks so much Meagon for participating!

You can find a listing of all of the posts in the emerging blogger series directory.

The emerging blogger series on Mental Health @ Home -background image of cherry blossoms

Do you want to be the next emerging blogger?

Criteria:

  • you have a personal (rather than business-oriented) blog that’s focused primarily on mental health/illness
  • you’re a new(ish) blogger, with WordPress following <100 preferred

Interested?  If you fit the criteria above:

  • email me at mentalhealthathome (at) gmail (dot) com
  • let me know the topic you’d like to write about and include your blog name/URL
  • don’t think of this as having to “pitch” an idea – I’m just trying to make sure people actually fit the criteria and spirit of the series

9 thoughts on “Emerging Blogger Series: Meagon (Prose for the Masses)”

  1. Yeah, I know two people who were diagnosed with serious mental illnesses when they were taken to the hospital due to trauma. It turns out they don’t have those mental illnesses; they were just going through really hard times. I have a hunch (and that’s all it is) that ER docs and other treatment doctors will throw a diagnosis out there to make the upset person feel better about things for a while, like, “Well, I’ve got all these mental illnesses, so I’ll nurture myself for now.” I’d say if you wind up going off the pills and you’re fine, you probably don’t have that mental illness.

    1. I agree that a diagnosis can be handed out to help ease ones mind. Also, insurance providers will usually only provide treatment if a diagnosis is attached. Medications can be altering as well, though in some cases necessary. The biggest obstacle, in my mind, is making sure that all of these treatment options stay choices. So as
      To not retraumatize via force. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  2. Lovely introduction Meagon and it’s good to hear that meditation and mindfulness works for you. I really appreciate mindfulness and have used it working with patients and in teaching sessions for staff. I’ll drop by to read more of your blog.

  3. We get cranky when therapists categorize people’s trauma as big-T Trauma and little-t trauma. It seems to deny people’s right to define their own experience

    1. The only time I can imagine that being useful is if someone has a hard time believing that what had happened to them was “bad enough” to “count” as trauma, but perhaps they might accept it as being little-t trauma.

    2. I agree, if the therapist takes the choice away to categorize our trauma, it can leave a bad taste in our mouth. But, labeling the trauma can help us put it into perspective, as mentioned above, and allow us to see it is enough to be called trauma.

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