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Watching a horror movie this morning with my boyfriend. We started talking about how we would react to the same situations. All of the sudden he starts talking about veterans coming back to war with PTSD. The movie had nothing to do with war or PTSD, so I am not sure what influenced his rant. Oh, by the way I have CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

He went on and on about how he doesn’t understand how they can categorize everyone with PTSD under the same thing. How fighting in a war is so terrible. The soldiers are afraid they are going to be killed, and generally live in constant fear for the rest of their lives. They watch their friends die; they may even have to kill someone out of defense. Of course this causes flashbacks and nightmares. Now before I go on, I have the utmost respect for our military and believe they should get PTSD therapy as soon as they get home.

My CPTSD is caused from sexual, physical, mental abuse and going through the deaths of some very close family members in a short time. Guess what I have experienced. I’ve lived in fear of death. I was afraid the person who physically and mentally abused me would kill me. He threatened to. Even attempted to a few times. A few years ago I went through another relationship where the man threatened to kill me then himself so we could be together forever. I had to get a restraining order on both accounts. I know what it is like to live in fear of being killed. I know what it is like to constantly have to watch my back and even fear the phone ringing.

Sexual abuse. Have you been afraid to let someone touch you? Even your own family members strike fear in your heart. To have flashbacks when you are in a loving relationship of someone abusing you when the person you are with just wants to love you? I know what it feels like to have flashbacks. To be afraid to go out in public because you may run into your abuser. Fear, flashbacks, and what about the nightmares?

You can’t run away from your past. It comes back to haunt you in your sleep. Sleep should be peaceful but instead you dream of the past. Of loved ones dying, of being sexually assaulted, being beaten or chased. I know the nightmares.

I am not a veteran, but I do have PTSD. The causes are different but the symptoms are the same. Everyone’s story is unique, but everyone deserves validation and help to heal.