“In the course of a lifetime what does it matter?” ~ Sharon Creech
Since my psychiatrist believes that I’ve had complex PTSD and major depressive disorder since I was at least eight it’s perhaps impossible to say what sort of person I’d be, or what sort of life I would have had, without it. But it’s maybe a little easier to pin down some of the things that my condition is responsible for, or at least where it has been a contributing factor.
If I didn’t have C-PTSD I wouldn’t have grown up feeling like I was completely separate to the rest of the world and that I had no business trying to belong. While this made the entirety of the first sixteen years of my life almost unbearably lonely, it did make me desperate as all hell let loose to break away from the community that I grew up in, a cross between Stepford and Royston Vasey, and meet some more liberal, less parochial people. Which was, y’know, probably for the best.
Never having experienced the feeling of ‘fitting in’, I haven’t experienced the pressure to conform when to do so would be contrary to my own wishes, happiness, or best interests.
Having C-PTSD means that I have no conception of a future. This makes saving, planning, dieting, or being otherwise responsible an almost unwinnable battle. But it’s also probably responsible for the irrepressible spontaneity that saw me take off to spend a summer as the only resident of a Rio hotel who wasn’t renting her room by the hour, purchase flights out to Beijing and out of Singapore, on a whim, with no thought to what I might do in between, or move to the other side of the country at less than forty-eight hours notice.
Some of the best decisions I ever made.
If I didn’t have C-PTSD I’d probably have taken the sensible decision to remain with the same global finance company that employed me straight out of university. And my soul would have died long ago as a result.
I might well have bought a house and lived in it, instead of uprooting myself to a completely different part of the country every couple of years.
But then I would never have met so many wonderful and interesting people. And the part of me that still idolises the Littlest Hobo would have been condemned to living in terminal frustration.
If I didn’t have C-PTSD I would probably have never wanted to kill myself. I’m as yet undecided as to whether being able to write about it is enough to compensate for that particular trauma.