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Strength in the midst of the storm.

No one chooses to have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) It is a traumatic event that you experience, survive and it then becomes a part of you. You may be able to lock it away in one of those small rooms in your mind. But as time goes by, and life happens, the doors on those small rooms begin to creak open. As those doors begin to open wider, all manner of thoughts and feelings rush at you from each direction. This may happen at night while you're trying to sleep, or it can happen during the day coming at you from out of nowhere. Your breath becomes shallow, you become incredibly aware of your surroundings. You look to see where the darkness is coming from. Rationally you know that you're OK. You know that you're in a normal setting. But as that darkness continues to settle around you and the heaviness weighs down upon your shoulders, it has the power to bring you to your knees. You fight. You fight the weight and you fight the darkness. You do your best to focus. What do you see? What do you hear? What can you touch? What do you feel? You work so very hard to focus. Your hands are clenching and your muscles are tense. Deep breaths. Don't let anyone see what you're going through. You've become a master at disguising all that's going on within your mind and in your body. Take a deep breath, keep moving forward and put a smile on your face. You tell yourself, okay, there you go, you got through that one. No one noticed anything. This may happen once in a while, or it can happen daily when you least expect it. The effort that it takes to keep control is so very tiring. And even though you're tired, you are not able to sleep. You know when you fall asleep, dreams will come and in those dreams you will be fighting different battles. Pray. Morning comes. You may have slept 3 hours. It's the start of another day. Don't look in the mirror. If you look in your own eyes, you will see the tiredness and the sadness that lies within. The total aloneness that you feel. Pray. There is a storm within you. You often wonder, if there is an anchor out there somewhere. A person who does not fear the storm, but is willing to chase it. One who is willing to be present. That in itself can be enough at times. Pray. You question your worth. You see yourself as weak. Pray. You cry out to God. You are so very tired. You believe. But does he hear? Pray. The storm begins to settle. You've gotten through another day. On your own. Exhaustion filters in. A fleeting thought enters your mind. "Were you with me?" Pray. As you settle into bed and begin to fall asleep, a gentle thought whispers through, "I am with you." And yet, you still wonder. No one chooses to have PTSD. It becomes a part of you and you of it. It's exhausting and yet each person who lives with PTSD is a warrior fighting battles no one sees. There is tremendous strength in that. Make no mistake, there is strength in that.

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