Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) doesn't sound real pretty. Trauma, stress, and disorder are highly negative words, and the disorder itself interferes with healthy relationships, how a person views the world and the people in it, and can even prevent them from holding down a job and functioning as a normal person in society.
As a result of living through a domestic abuse situation, I now struggle with PTSD. I have done some healing over the past nine years, and I know I have a lot more healing to do. In fact, I don't think I will ever be "finished" healing. I will never be the person I was before my first marriage. The experience has permanently changed my personality and how I view the world.
I acknowledge there are times when my PTSD does interfere in my normal day to day life. I have nightmares that rob me of sleep, and so I walk around like a zombie the next day. A simple rude person at the grocery store can fluster me so much that I have to stop shopping and immediately go home so that I burst into tears in the privacy of my own car instead of in the middle of the cereal aisle.
But don't feel sorry for me! Some of these changes are for the better! As a normal progression of aging and learning, we SHOULD be changing, learning from our experiences, and growing wiser. I like to think my experiences have made me a wiser person. It has made me more sensitive and aware of others, which is a rare trait these days. I have loving, open, and honest relationships with my amazing daughters and my dear Hunky Buns. I have a deeper compassion for others who are hurting.
The best analogy I can come up with about how PTSD has changed me is to compare my life to sand. Most people live their lives like grains of sand--easily flowing from one situation to the next, blending in with all the other sand around them, sometimes doing something special like being part of a beautiful beach, and sometimes being a part of something annoying, like the never ending supply of sand in your car after a trip to that beautiful beach. Before my first marriage, I was sand. Then lightning struck, and that trauma changed me into something totally different. Now I am glass. I'm a little more delicate, and if handled harshly I will break. However, I stand apart from the rest of the sand. I have a solid shape and I know exactly who I am and what I feel. I am transparent because I share my feelings with the rest of the world, and that honesty is truly a beautiful thing. I don't flow through a typical mold anymore because my shape is irregular; but that shape is what makes me beautiful.
Yes, PTSD has given me some additional challenges in life, but that life is more beautiful and rich because of the way I view the world around me.