It seems odd to say and read it, but I am starting to see PTSD as a glass half full. I realize that life with a bad stutter and “episodes” (as I have now renamed my infrequent and short-lasting experiences with loss of muscular control) has its advantages:
- I live in a kinder world. Perceived as “disabled,” I trigger empathy in many clerks, managers and administrators.
- I positively thrive on solitude and that’s a good thing for someone who is alone a lot and for whom solitude was formerly anathema.
- I have a heightened sense of attachment to friends; I am less affected my loss.
- Having a psychiatrist whom I trust and respect completely is unexpectedly wonderful. Her presence in my life is a little bit coach, a little bit “sisterly” (familial) due to nature of what we discuss. It’s wonderful to have such an insightful and brilliant mind at my disposal — and for my betterment — for an hour every week. I don’t have to ask my friends for their advice; I can just enjoy their company.
- Intolerance aside, my symptoms have provided highly interesting and provocative topics for many discussions with Dwight and Bruce. Things like being able, for a while, to count to twenty out loud very easily but it was impossible for me to say eleven no matter how hard I tried or practiced. Same thing for the days of the week: I could say all of them out loud except Saturday. The variety and aspects of all my symptoms have intrigued us.
- My physiotherapy is focused on the muscles in my neck, diaphragm and back that tense then relax with every stutter. The incessant tension/release cycle makes my muscles ache. Christopher has spent twenty hours working intimately on my body—me, a guy whom no one touches and who’s uncomfortable with touch. His empathetic character, the touching, the talent of his touch and the healing I experience from it, plus the fact that we talk while he works on me has made me like him like a friend. It’s very nice and I see him every week.
- I used to love to read and sometimes, for the right program, watch TV but both activities are intolerable to me since the onset of PTSD symptoms. I’m too restless to tolerate the stillness. But writing can calm and settle me. I am writing more, better and enjoying it more than at any time in my past.