Personal Stories - Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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“I’m grateful for the experience of my panic, because it taught me that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to panic and anxiety.”

Resolve and Resilience From Panic

Rita Zoey ChinThere was a time when basic things—like driving, climbing a flight of stairs, taking a shower, or going through the checkout line at the grocery store—landed me somewhere between mortal unease and full-throttle terror. It all began with a single panic attack that seemed to strike out of the blue. Mistaking it for a heart attack, I called an ambulance, but I quickly learned that there is no ambulance for an alarm of the mind.

“I'd like to say I no longer suffer from flashbacks, but even at the time of this writing, I am in the middle of recovering another memory from my childhood.”

Honoring the Person I Am

I am a middle-aged woman, married with two children. I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at age 25. I am grateful to say that I have had tremendous support, terrific professional help, a strong will to recover, and a resolve to do whatever work necessary to overcome all of my trauma. Other miraculous help has been my spiritual beliefs and practices.

“I'm no longer at the mercy of my PTSD, and I would not be here today had I not had the proper diagnosis and treatment. It's never too late to seek help.”

My Story of Survival: Battling PTSD

It is a continuous challenge living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I've suffered from it for most of my life. I can look back now and gently laugh at all the people who thought I had the perfect life. I was young, beautiful, and talented, but unbeknownst to them, I was terrorized by an undiagnosed debilitating mental illness.

“Thanks to a very loving and understanding partner, I was able to work through more of the anxiety I felt.”

Redefining My Life

My struggles with emotional and mental problems began at age 12, when I experienced my first nervous breakdown. At age 20 I was diagnosed with major depression. By the time I was 30 that diagnosis had changed to chronic major depression with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Later, ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were added to my diagnoses. At age 40, and after three suicide attempts within two years, my therapist began to suspect that I suffered from bipolar disorder.


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