I want to begin this post by offering my condolences to those affected by the recent Las Vegas shooting. I can only imagine the pain you are feeling. I hope that you are able to access the care and support you need to heal as best you can from this traumatic event.
Whenever a tragedy involving a lone gunman and multiple fatalities takes place, we wonder why it happened. What went wrong? Our social media feeds buzz with conversations about politics, gun control, and mental illness. Often, we tend to center the mental illness discussions on what kind of mental health problems the shooter may have had, and what kind of treatment he did or did not receive. I haven’t seen the Las Vegas shooter accused of having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but past perpetrators of similar acts have been speculated to have PTSD. Is it true? Does having PTSD make people more prone to committing acts of extreme violence?
I’m going to make a somewhat embarrassing admission. Well, it would be embarrassing if most people did not already know it about me. Ever since I was a wee gal, I have wanted to be famous. Specifically, a famous writer. Sure, I have entertained fantasies of being a rock star, or an Oscar-winning actress. On my especially bad days, I’ve contemplated what it would be like to be an infamous serial killer. But my dream has pretty consistently been rich famous writer.
I know, it’s a very difficult dream. Especially when you add the “rich” in there. I think it may actually be easier to gain recognition as a writer than it is to a make a comfortable living as a writer. But dreams are dreams. For better of for worse, we all have our big shiny pie-in-the-sky aspirations. Being a famous writer is mine–don’t get me wrong. I definitely have other motivations for writing what I’m writing these days. Reporting on stigmatized populations is not the most surefire route to fame or fortune…regardless of the practicality though, I’ve had big dreams since childhood.
I have not yet accomplished my dream of being a rich famous writer, in case you were wondering. But I have accomplished some success with my writing, which is a start! Betty’s Battleground was recently ranked number 26 on Feedspot’s list of top 75 PTSD blogs! HealthyPlace, which I also write for, was ranked #2. Pretty sweet! Writing for VICE was definitely a bucket list item; I just turned in my third assignment for their health sciences channel. I’ve had two widely circulated articles on Vox, both of which landed my subsequent radio spots. One of them showed up in my treatment counselor’s inbox as the title post for a mental health & addiction e-newsletter. I’m paying my half of the rent with my writing. Interesting people with blue checks by their names are following me on Twitter. There are still no guarantees on that fame, but it looks like I’m on the road to some form of success.
Problem is, this all doesn’t feel half as awesome as I expected it to. And it’s definitely because of my damn PTSD.
I don’t usually do this, but today I published my first “real” post on HealthyPlace, besides my introduction of course. I wanted to share it with you, because it’s about something that ruled my life for many years–the unfairness of the universe. Or rather, of trauma. So check it out! You’ll be re-directed to HealthyPlace, so don’t forget to come back and read more posts on Betty’s Battleground when you’re done here. Ta!
“Everyone experiences trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differently, but one fact is universally true: trauma is unfair. Living with PTSD is also unfair. Nobody deserves to be traumatized. So how do we decide to heal from something that should never have become our burden in the first place?”