PTSD: Navigating life

Exposure therapy allowed me to beat agoraphobia, my plight of being trapped in my garage was over.


The last place you will find me is in a crowd like this. How do they feel safe?


I could tolerate functioning in public at times but some of those times led to suffering.

Exposure therapy was awkward, and at times, the aftermath was painful for days.

I could function around people but there was a price to be paid when triggered.

Exposure therapy never made me comfortable or feel safe, it allowed me to function amidst my fear.

Life was never going to resemble how a normal person lives, thinks, or navigates.

I think it’s why we isolate, we fear what others covet.

We do not fit into this dynamic, we are more outcasts, loners by choice.

When we have to mingle and socialize, we yearn to get back home to safety as soon as possible.

We do not receive great benefits others seem to enjoy being with other people.

Exposure therapy is similar to military training, they train soldiers to kill, but never teach them how they will handle it later.

Exposure therapy has benefits but also carries suffering for us.

I guess it’s worth it but not easy.

Healing says we need more community, more exposure therapy.

It’s a painful life, every exposure therapy has suffering before and after the event.

Wonder why we isolate?

9 responses to this post.

  1. Well thank you

  2. I don’t think of myself as not normal. I think the trauma response gets confounded because I’m expected to pretend, to act outside of what feels normal to me. To make other people feel comfortable, despite the fact that I was the one that was hurt. I don’t think it’s normal the way people treat adults who were abused as children, as if they are morally corrupt if they haven’t been able to overcome it. That’s been a lot of my experience anyways. It’s the backwards way of it that makes me isolate and avoid. I’d rather be honest, if that’s all I’m going to get out of life.
    I think exposure therapy would work if I was able to have meaningful conversations with people and connect in a nonjudgmental way. But I’ve always been naturally shy too, so that might be difficult regardless of the work I do in mitigating PTSD.
    And then, when exposure therapy doesn’t work or feels too horrible there can be shame and accusatory self talk if we’re not careful. Or the fear of missing out when you symptoms prevent going with the crowd. There are other ways to get pleasure. It takes a while to figure out what that looks like when everyone will say it’s this, it’s that without taking the changes and needs of a recovering person into account.

  3. Love your response

    At times I feel alone, isolated, thinking I am not normal, but responses like yours assure me my feelings are shared by most abused kids
    Thank you at times we all need reassurance

    The world discounts or misinterprets our challenges as weaknesses.

    “I don’t think it’s normal the way people treat adults who were abused as children as if they are morally corrupt if they haven’t been able to overcome it. That’s been a lot of my experience anyways. It’s the backward way of it that makes me isolate and avoid it. “

    We are judged harshly

    It adds to our isolating

    I do not fit in, I am different, my thoughts and nervous system are different, so I feel not normal more isolated

    I fear people and what they are capable of

    I do not see or experience their kindness

    I can be an extrovert, lead a mindfulness group in person for 9 years,

    I became my giving self while leading that group,
    I felt safe inside that group

    Was it the fact that members were needy and looked to me for relief

    Were it they were as vulnerable as me and I felt safe

    Wish I could replicate those feelings in life

    in the past, When exposure therapy does not work I can suffer for days,

    These are such primal emotions, fear, shame, failure, humiliation to have as daily companions

    All, abstract and many subconscious

    Even if exposure therapy is successful, we are uncomfortable, scared and anxious

    It’s a horrible way to live

  4. Not normal

    I think of Young Frankenstein. When Marty Feldman tells Gene Wilder the brain he stole was

    Abby Normal


    Gallows humor I guess

    You almost have to laugh at what scares us or triggers us at times..mundane things

    It’s hard to explain to someone without PTSD

  5. I hear you. I’m glad you were able to get the success and experience of your mindfulness group. That sounds really encouraging to me! Something I might aspire to.
    In my case, I’ve noticed I feel more safe around people who have been through a thing or two and feel less safe around those who haven’t. I tend not to trust them and also notice I can get hypervigilent about the need to protect them which can bring in a whole host of other issues.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences, it is really appreciated! and really helps! Shame is the worst especially when it is built on an absolute lie.

  6. Thank you for sharing

    Your words ring true in my brain

    Is our life an exposure therapy workshop

    Hypervigilance is tough

    When I feel extra vulnerable I resist going out for protection

    Hard to explain how vulnerable we can feel at times

  7. Posted by rudid96 on April 21, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Yes, I believe my life is an ‘exposure therapy workshop.’ I’m keenly aware of each human-to-human encounter. Mental gold stars are given for enduring anxiety going undetected. As Melissa mentioned, I too feel more comfortable around people that have been thru some stuff. The Hallmark people offer ease of superficiality but also trigger my resentment and societal alienation. That ‘no bad news’ life experience leaves me judgmental and ashamed.

  8. Oh we lose in comparisons but awareness makes it clear

    We live a much different life

    Enduring anxiety going undetected

    Who else lives like that

    Do not forget comorbid with PTSD comes depression

    Hallmark people judge me harshly

    There has to be a solution

    Ptsd is easy to heal in their mind

    These people are no longer in my inner circle

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