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Why I Write

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. – Anonymous

Last week was slightly dramatic here on the blog. In fact, last Monday I would have told you that I was never writing again, at least not in a place where people could be cruel, condescending, and judgmental. Yet here I am.

I received a lot of advice last week, most of which was given with the best of intentions. Many times, I heard, “Maybe you should stop writing about your personal life.” Well what’s the point in that? If I wanted to write an encyclopedia, I would. But instead I created this space to share my thoughts and feelings and that’s what I intend to keep doing. And if my posts were personal before, I don’t even know how to classify what I’m about to say today. Buckle your internet belts, people, because it’s going to be a long ride.

Some Background

I never ever talk about this. Ever. But I’m going to now because I feel it’s relevant.

As a kid, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I’m not going to go into details because it’s none of your business, but suffice it to say that something really terrible happened to me. As an adult, I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD because, unlike some lucky people, I have never been able to move past the symptoms and achieve “recovery.”

I’ll never forget the day I told my parents I was hearing voices. Now, before you think I’m nuts, I was actually experiencing flashbacks related to the event that caused my PTSD. But at the time, I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what was happening, so we were in the car and I started having a flashback. I said, “I keep hearing voices.” My parents looked at each other, glanced at me in the rearview mirror, and continued their conversation like I never said anything. Years later, my mom told me that was one of the scariest moments of her life.

So in case you didn’t know, PTSD sucks. The most random things can trigger a flashback – a smell in the air, the tone of someone’s voice, a particular facial expression or even a song on the radio. It’s kind of like those old cartoons where a hypnotist snaps his fingers and the character immediately goes into a trance. While I recognize the flashbacks for what they are now and can usually control them, when I was younger I had no idea what was going on. I would lose small chunks of time and not be able to remember what I did or said, which is scary as hell.

Then there are the nightmares. Yes, I am nearly 30 years old and I still have horrific nightmares that are so bad, I do everything I can to avoid sleeping. I prefer to sleep in two shifts of 2-4 hours; that way I never really achieve the deep sleep that leads to dreams. I wake up every morning absolutely soaked with sweat and gasping for air. Fun times.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but after my symptoms appeared, it became the only outlet that seemed to help me. I would fill pages and pages with doodles, poems, stories, and journal entries. When I wrote, I felt like I was in control. I could tune out the flashbacks and process the jumbled up mess in my head. I could choose the outcome of a story I wrote, versus my own situation where I wasn’t given a choice. Writing gave me a sense of power, a somewhat positive way to cope with what happened to me.

Last Week’s Drama

Last Monday I wrote a post about empathy. Because of my diagnosis, which very few people know about (before today I guess), I’m acutely aware that one never knows what another person has been through or is going through. And for that reason, I find it impossible not to have concern for others or help them whenever I can. That’s what the post was about, for those who didn’t get to read it.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I had three email notifications of comments on that post. (I have to moderate my comments because so many people on the internet are idiots.) Two of them were from random trolls who just wanted to tear me down. That I can handle – if people want to disagree, that’s fine, but if they can’t do it like adults, their comments go to spam. The last of the three comments, though, made me forget all about the first two.

The commenter was someone who knows me in real life. I know that much. And the reason I know that is because this person referenced the traumatic event from my past that caused me to have PTSD – in detail. “You should have just killed yourself a long time ago,” the person wrote. “You don’t deserve to be alive.”

I don’t know how to explain what went through my mind at that moment. A thousand things. Maybe a million things. It was one of those times when I simply had more thoughts than I could process. So I deleted the comments, deleted the post, and decided I was done blogging. Maybe done with the internet altogether. It just wasn’t worth it.

A Little More Background

Recovering from a traumatic experience is no easy task. “Scarred for life” is a phrase for a reason. And that event in my past, combined with its aftermath and several experiences since, has affected every single part of my life.

Once you have been traumatized, you are more likely to be retraumatized by other events in the future. (There’s a good article about this here.) That’s probably the worst part about PTSD – certain things really bother or upset me, even when they may not be a big deal to other people. It makes me feel weak and stupid, like I don’t have enough control to handle things that should be easy to deal with. And when I have random flashbacks, especially in public, I just want to crawl in a hole and disappear.

Several years after my initial diagnosis, I started making choices with one objective in mind: ESCAPE. I developed unhealthy relationships, romantic and otherwise, because they enabled me to distract myself from my symptoms. I experimented with drugs, though I quickly learned that wasn’t the kind of escape I wanted. I became sexually active way too young because I was so desperate to find something that would make me feel normal. I still wrote, but not with the same sense of urgency I’d experienced before – writing was no longer enough to help me forget.

My regular readers know how that “get me out of here” mindset worked out for me. I got pregnant with my son when I was still in high school. Not on purpose (I’m not that stupid) but because I was uneducated about birth control and too busy looking for a way out of my own head. I married my son’s father at 19 and we proceeded to spend our way into bankruptcy by the time I was 23. I spent and spent and spent money that I didn’t have because obsessing over the perfect shoes or jeans was much more fun than obsessing over my past. And when I caught my husband having an affair, also when I was 23, I got to experience retraumatization at its most destructive. By age 26, I was divorced, broke, and consumed by the fact that I’d managed to screw up in so many ways.

PTSD hasn’t ruined everything, though it has made a valiant effort. Through all the stupidity in my decision-making, I managed to finish college and graduate school. I raised my son myself and put him first – always, always first – despite the fact that I was still a teenager when he was born. I spent 7 years in a career as a therapist, trying to provide the same help to others that I have received off and on throughout the years since I was diagnosed. And now I get to work from home, one of the truly joyous parts of my life, designing websites and helping people establish a place on the internet where they can share their own stories.

So This is Why I Write

As you can tell, my life is not exciting or inspirational. It’s actually pretty depressing at times. But it’s a story with elements that way too many people can relate to, judging by the emails and comments I receive (from non-trolls, anyway). When I resumed writing in early 2011 on this blog, it was because I felt the need, once again, to purge some of my demons. Oddly, a keyboard and monitor can be just as therapeutic as a pen and paper.

Trauma can happen to anyone from any background. But trauma doesn’t have to be a war or an explosion or some enormous catastrophe. It can also be a culmination of a lot of small events built up over time. And the ripple effect of trauma can result in a crazy, out-of-control life where you just throw up your hands one day and scream, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME? THIS IS NOT THE LIFE I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE!”

That won’t be the case for the majority of people who stumble across my blog. And that’s okay. There’s no requirement that you must have a screwed up past to read and discuss here. Just know that it’s where I’m coming from, so some of my posts will definitely reflect that.

I write because I have things to say. I write because I hope someone will read my ramblings and feels less alone, or maybe make a decision to change the direction of his or her life. I write because I don’t want people to waste precious years on a self-destructive path of insanity like I did. I write because my stupid choices are just as much a part of me as all the positive things I’ve done.

When I think back to those first few months after my original PTSD diagnosis, I think of how amazing it would have been if the internet had existed then. The idea that I could have found other people with similar experiences, read their blogs and learned from their mistakes and triumphs, is almost magical to me because I believe it would have changed the course of my life. Maybe I would have understood my symptoms more. Maybe I would have felt empowered to fight harder or found inspiration to keep going on the days I huddled in my bed and cried.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert. I can’t speak on behalf of single parents or trauma victims or former teenage moms or anyone else. I can only speak from my own experience – the one area where I am an expert. But my experience might be just what someone needs to do things differently or consider another point of view.

The Bottom Line

To those of you who read here and have been supportive of what I do, thank you. It’s not easy to open up like this, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it might have value for others. And many of you have affirmed my decision to share my life; some of you have even shared parts of yours in return. And it means the world to me.

To those of you who come here looking for a chance to insult or attack me, I feel sorry for you. Sorry that your lives are so empty that you would find joy in trying to hurt my feelings. And for what? To feel powerful for a few seconds? To put a notch in your keyboard because you anonymously triumphed over a mentally ill single mom on the internet? Wow, kudos to you. What an accomplishment. If you don’t want to read what I write here, please do me a favor and click away – it’s not necessary to attack or berate me on your way out.

I didn’t write this post to make people feel sorry for me. I wrote it because *I* need to be reminded why I’m doing this, why I’m subjecting myself to the internet assholes who seem magnetically drawn to my site. There are days (like last Monday) when I really don’t want to write at all. But more often, I realize that I write because it’s just what I’m meant to do.

If you do enjoy reading, I hope you’ll take time to participate and share periodically. It reminds me why I’m here.

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web designer and single mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!

Comments

  1. I am so very sorry that someone was so cruel to you. I will never understand why some people are so intent on tearing others down. I enjoy your blog and your viewpoints. I also became pregnant in high school and had a pretty traumatic childhood. I put myself through college and am now teaching 3rd grade for the 13th year. My daughter is now 20 and is a sophomore in college. She is my greatest accomplishment. We are strong women and we will NEVER apologize for that! So keep up the good fight and know that there are people out there who are cheering you on!

  2. You are an inspiration and a WONDERFUL writer.

    You are courageous.

    You are an affirmation to the strength of the human spirit and your words are the building blocks to help many who may have experienced or known someone who has experienced some of the same challenges. Each one of the building blocks is a small gift.

    Keep writing… and let your words pour over the hearts that need to hear them like raindrops from the sky above.

  3. 20sfinances says:

    I am so glad to hear you are sticking with it Andrea! Thanks for being vulnerable. I think your writingis one of the few that I read that is gut-wrenching honest and so valuable for so many people. I'm sick of fluff… thanks for inspiring many of us to do better.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece of who you are, friend. My only knock on you would be you don't give yourself enough credit. :) You show us all that no matter what life throws at you, to keep fighting. I think life rarely turns out the way people think it should…….we're all far too utopian for that. Life is what it is, and you have to find something to grasp on to that makes it worth it. Whether it's your son, your writing, or banana tea at Cheddar's there's also innumerable things in life that are enjoyable that you also may have never thought life would be. Blog on, Andrea.

  5. Everything Finance says:

    Andrea, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing your story. Please continue to write and feel free to disable comments. People who know you, will find you if they have something to say.

  6. Wow, Andrea, I am so glad you are back to writing and kudos to you for opening up so much to us. Not an easy thing to do. In fact, I don't even know if *I* could be brave enough to do that.
    Love love love your writing. Please keep it up becuae you are The Awesome :)

    Oh, and it's a good thing you left the name of the person who gave you that last comment out, because I'm sure an angry mob with pitchforks and torches would have shown up on their doorstep tonight :P :)

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. Its funny but one person's experience can help someone else who is reading but cant put it in words like you do. Relating is just as reassuring. I think your blog is awesome and like i've told you before, it seriously gets me through the work day! I was bummed to see your last post stating that you would no longer post, but im so glad you are back. Keep doing what you are doing and stay strong! Let the haters hate, they keep you in business because they keep checking into your page! :)

  8. Like you, I feel sorry for the people who feel like they have to be mean to communicate. Who have to make others feel as horrible as they are on the inside. You've written a beautiful story here describing what makes you who you are today. It's beautifully written, well thought out and inspiring. Yes, inspiring. Although there were tragic moments in your life, you have chosen to not make your life about those things but to make the best life possible for yourself and your son. He's blessed to have a mother like you, and you've given evidence of that many times. I feel blessed to have found your blog and to share a bit in your journey by reading it. Keep writing, we'll keep reading.

  9. Glad to see you posting again. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing. It gives much more insight into your writing. Go beat some trolls.

  10. I'm happy you're back. Too many people think bcs they are "anonymous" on the internet that they can say whatever they want without reprocussion. I enjoy reading what you have to say and hope you are able to continue, troll free.

  11. "As you can tell, my life is not exciting or inspirational."

    I strongly disagree with that sentiment. It's because of your broken past that you're so inspiring today. You are proof that people can overcome. And that gives hope to those who haven't made it yet. You may have times that make you feel like you're that little girl again, but the fact that you can pick yourself back up and go on proves that you are overcoming. You're a shining example to your son and the rest of us that hard work pays off in the best of ways. You may not be rich (yet…), but you're doing work you love, enjoying time with your son, and making new friends every day (even if only in cyberspace). Well done, Andrea, well done.

  12. This quote keeps appearing just when I need it the most and eloquently expresses my thoughts on your post:

    "You are the piece of a puzzle of someone else's life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you". -Bonnie Arbon

    As someone who's personal trauma is the "culmination of a lot of small events built up over time", who screams and screams inside my head, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME? THIS IS NOT THE LIFE I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE!”, I can state with authority that you have an amazing purpose in life. Whereas well-meaning others set the bar so high just knowing them makes me feel like failure, your insight and the manner in which you share it, makes me want to try to improve my life. I am privileged to count you as a friend.

  13. I am happy that you have decided to keep writing. Your blog is one of my favorites and I hope you will still find the value in expressing your thoughts in the time to come. I think this post is very well written and gives us more insight into what has been going on in your past and I think that it takes guts to write that. Your brutal honesty about something so personal is something that I don't even know I could do. Whatever may be happening right now, I hope you will remember that for every asshole on your site, there are ten more people who are supporting you and cheering for you no matter what.

  14. I want to salute you today for having the courage to come out talk about your life, feeling and the choices you have made – good or bad. The courage you have shown in coming out about PTSD has given me lots to think about as i am also suffering from the same since childhood and have chronic depression as a result. Maybe one day i will have the words to put together the feelings and the aftermath. Please don't stop writing as for every hater there are thousands who are inspired by your words.

  15. I'm glad you're planning to continue writing here. Your blog is one that I look forward to reading every day. I am sorry that you are struggling and that someone was so cruel to you.

  16. So, so glad you're back. The internet was lonely without you. Seriously wish you were approximately 2000 miles closer to my house!

  17. You are not alone. Just be aware of triggers and do your best to remain in control. I was able to eventually overcome the nightmares by sticking to a strict sleeping schedule and by engaging in relaxation techniques before bedtime.

  18. Wow, just wow. I cannot believe that someone would actually take the time to write such an absolutely horrendous thing.
    A friend of mine has PTSD, it sucks. For her, one of the worst parts is feeling vulnerable, all the time.
    I am very impressed that you were able to put all of this out there on the WWW.
    I, for one, love to read your stuff and was really sad to read that you were contemplating abandoning this blog!

  19. kimateyesonthedollar says:

    I'm glad you decided to stick with it. You have a talent, many talents. Most people in your situation would have thrown in the towel as far as finishing school and making a career for themselves. Haters are probably just jealous. I missed you last week and am glad you're back.

  20. I think that you have shown many of us what it means to have courage and to be honest…when it would be easier not to write and not to write about some of the deepest hurts and pains. You're an amazing person, and I am sad that something so terrible could happen to you. I am very, very sorry. I think you have a loyal legion of supporters though. And you're right, it's your blog and you need to write about what you need to write about. That may make some people more cruel or prone to rude comments, but as Sinatra says, that's life. We can't win over every person, but when we make just one or two real connections, you get something that no troll will ever understand.

  21. <3

    Thank you for this post. I'm glad you're back too.. I was so worried when I saw that "never writing again" post. I don't think I saw the original blog or the nasty comments that followed it. That's pretty fucked that someone would tell you to kill yourself — who does that? How depraved to you have to be to say that to another human being??

    "I don't care what you think about me, I don't think about you at all" – Coco Chanel.

  22. Mean people suck. I'm glad you're back and had the guts to share the background behind what happened last week. I was really concerned and sad that you might leave for good over something that one or two bad people did.

    As an adult Aspie, I still spend time people-watching to better understand what is going on with humanity. (I'm sure that sounds inelegant, but bear with me.) I really enjoy reading you because what you share about your life, the mistakes, the frustrations, and the triumphs are really interesting to me. You're clearly and vibrantly human – not just a public shell. I've learned a lot from you and hope to keep doing so over time.

    In case it helps, I sleep with an iPod at night playing an audiobook. I can set it to a book that is pleasant and probably (or known to be) without big triggers and it will guide my sleep, in a way. I can get 8 quality hours of rest with the help of a Terry Pratchett book. I've tried other things, public radio, classical music, ambient noise, and they haven't been nearly as good as a nice book read well.

  23. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's amazing how people can be. I guess it should not surprise me as there's a felt sense of being able to say whatever you want because there's a felt sense of anonymity.

  24. I am so proud of you for deciding to be more vulnerable and NOT giving up. "I write because I hope someone will read my ramblings and feels less alone"… this is the only reason I continue to write.

  25. I'm glad you're back! So sorry to hear about those crushing comments. Please know that the minority does NOT represent your loyal readers.

    thank you for sharing your story. PTSD is very debilitating and can feel like a life sentence. I hope you keep writing and keep healing!

  26. I read a lot of blogs, but I rarely comment. I never email or contact anyone I don't know directly. Last week when I emailed you I was so discouraged and overwhelmed. Your thoughtful reply really meant a great deal to me. It was a huge relief to have someone that understood and that wasn't judgemental. I'm sorry that someone was so cruel to you. I am glad that you have so many supporters and that you're back!

  27. I had no idea, Andrea. My opinion of you has just gone way up. :)

    My guess is the person who was so inexcusably nasty to you feels guilty about his/her role in the traumatic events in your past. This person cannot face what they have done, so uses nastiness in an attempt to mask their guilt.

    I'm so glad to see you're back. Survive and thrive!

  28. Andrea, that commenter is horrible! WTF type of person says something like that?? Seriously, they are the ones who have real issues by holding in all that hatred. It's ALWAYS the case when someone negatively attacks. There's something going on with their lives that they are projecting onto someone else.

    The people I admire most are the single mothers. From your ability to multi-task, to raise, to earn, to live!

    Thank you for your inspiration!

    Best,

    Sam

  29. Andrea, people are just plain mean sometimes and that is that. I am sorry you have had to go through most of your life with this bad experience. I do understand the flashbacks and they can be scary. They do appear at just random times and just freeze your soul. I wish there was some way to help you get over this but it is probably the trial that made you the wonderful person you are. Please keep writing for your own sake and mine. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kim

  30. dealwithmoney says:

    Andrea, I'd hate to see your blog disappear. Ignore the haters, and keep blogging. What you have to say is important, and this site is awesome. You and I haven't personally talked, but I know you've helped many people get their blogs up and running and looking really good. You're awesome for that.

  31. Andrea- Thank you soo much for being open and trusting enough to share your experiences in life both good and bad…

    A person never knows what a persons life experiences are and it is a shame that anyone would ever criticize a person. I know for one, My life is enhanced because you are in it!

    xoxoxox

  32. plantingourpennies says:

    Was thinking of you this past week, and am so glad you are back writing. That is all =)

  33. Andrea, I'm so proud of you for your decision to continue blogging. F@ck the haters!
    I'm also concerned for you because you know someone who's so sadistic they rub your face in the memory of an horrific event and also tell you you should be dead!?! You don't have any contact with this person, do you? Do they know where you live? Do they have access to your son? Seriously, I'm freaked out about this. Please take care.

  34. Veronica Hill says:

    I was worried when you posted about quitting this blog. I know I've made some comments in the past that may have been too straight-forward (forgive me, because this is how I think) but now that you've shared part of your life with us, you should know that you deserve a lot more credit than you think. All of us have made mistakes we regret, yours are truly depressing, but at least you're here now and you're fighting for a better life. Your writing is amazing and the reasons behind it are even more so amazing. I hope your blog never disappears and you never feel the way you felt when some asshole left the comments that they did.

  35. My jam packedli says:

    I also appreciate your openness and honesty, I don't imagine it was easy to write about. I love what you write about and have to say both personal and professional. Anyone can write a technical blog with how to instructions but it's the extras from a personal blogger that keeps you coming back. Stay strong. You are doing amazing.

  36. You are not weak, you are human. Having a bad day does not mean weakness. I'm really proud that you're someone I know, someone who I can talk to about silly things like Walking Dead (and let's be honest, Season 3 looks 100% better than Season 2 did) and other television awesomeness. I'm glad to read the blog of a REAL PERSON. Someone who struggles with flaws and things that I can relate to. You are amazing and I hope that you don't let that awful turd put you down.

  37. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE BACK! Now that I announced that to the world…

    I can't believe someone would think it was okay to tell someone that, especially knowing what you've been through personally. It's not fun to struggle with anxiety or depression or anything else that is mentally a struggle. I can't believe someone would take it upon themselves to be that cruel to someone.

    Thank you so much for continuing to blog and thank you so much for BEING YOU and sharing what you share so that others don't feel alone or can relate to whatever you say. I'm so happy to have gotten to know you enough that I feel comfortable calling you not just a friend but a good friend. Thank you for being you friend. You are awesome and a wonderful person. Don't ever forget it.

    <3 Athena

  38. Last week I was heartbroken to read that you were done. Then I thought, she just needs a minute. A minute to be furious and sad. A minute to cry and hate everybody. A minute to say oh hell no.

    I've been waiting on this post. I knew you would rally. I knew you would not go out on the words of some idiot. I knew you were strong enough to write a post like this one.

    I come here to read you. You are a strong, amazing woman. And, we are all glad to see you back!

  39. I don't understand people. How do they have so much time as to where they can insult and bother people! Makes no sense. I'm so sorry.

  40. Andrea,

    Wow thanks for sharing. Maybe you should make your blog anonymous or with a screen name like how JD roth does. Your an inspiration to me being a single mom and see you starting your baby steps of starting your own business , able to finish college , and putting your son first. All of the goals are something to aspire to and i think your doing a pretty good job which is why on twitter i suggested submitting a reader story to you. If i can acheive 1/10th of what you did i would be happy. I think one of your calling is writing (though i don't think it is the only thing that may be your calling you seem to have a lot of talent ). One of the reasons i like your blog is because it's so real and relatable not something i find a lot now a days in the blogs. Whether your here to stay or not is up to you .

  41. I do'nt have PTSD (I had to look up what that even is!) but I did drop out of highschool, get a girl pregnant, and make a general muck-up of my life, too. Legal trouble, drug trouble, crime trouble… I'm with you on these past mistakes. And I agree that we really don't know what peopel have gone through or go through on a daily basis. We really shouldn't be dicks to people, like you said, because you never know what's lurking beneath the surface or what's happened or what made someone make the decisions they did. I agree with the empathy post — it's better to face life and other people that way. Who ever the douches were that had douche things to say… well, they're just douches. It's easier to point and laugh from the sidelines or criticize or judge from teh sidelines than it is to actually be doing something and putting yourself out there. So F 'em. You've got a lot of blogger friends who ARE happy that you're around and who ARE happy that you're empathetic and who ARE happy that you share your stories with us. So keep sharing, and actually, this PTSD/voices/flashbacks is interesting and something I don't know much about… you could talk MORE about that stuff actually to help yourself out and to help inform us ignorant people all about it! And then block the douche comments from douchey people.

  42. I read a lot of blogs and rarely comment. Your blog is one of the most intelligent, well-written and honest ones out there, and after today's post, my opinion has gone even higher and I'm very glad you have chosen to soldier on – and kudos for your openness.

  43. I don't get people that say cruel things like that. Thank God you didn't believe that crap and that you're moving ahead. I love your blog and am glad you're still writing.

  44. You are so brave to talk about this. I totally respect you and wish I had this kind of courage. Yes, courage. I know that you might not think you have it because of your issues with sleeping, but first of all–you're not alone. Second of all, I can tell you that it is extremely brave because I can't talk about something similar to your situation on my blog. I've thought about it, but I can't. If you ever need anyone to talk to, you know I'm good at both talking (do I shut up?!?!) and listening sometimes too. :) Xx
    -M

  45. I'm proud to call you a friend, Andrea. You are so brave for putting yourself out there like you do, especially in the face of such hatefulness. Thanks for choosing to continue sharing your life with us. <3

  46. It would be foolish to think that you're not an inspiration Andrea. PTSD is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with, especially if you've been traumatized at a young age. You're still here, you're still kicking, and you're still dealing with things day by day. It may not be what people would consider optimum, but its your life, and you're doing far better than many others. For that matter, you're doing better than many others who haven't experienced a traumatic past. You are an inspiration, don't you ever forget it.

  47. I really enjoy your writing! I think having something really bad happen truly does make a person a better writer and you are proof of that. I experienced a trauma in my childhood as well and use writing as an outlet — it's great because it's my way of making sense of the world, at least in small pieces.
    And based on the comments on your blog, you have so many supporters. Try not to let a handful of trolls take away from that!

  48. Thank you for your honesty and authenticity. It takes so much courage to write a post like that. Please know that you have so many supporters out here.

  49. Canadianbudgetbinder says:

    Hi Andrea! Your story is so inspirational in so many ways and likely to so many people. When people can hide behind the computer they can be so cruel. People judge without thinking first and that is wrong. People don't know what others have gone through or are currently going through. There are many invisible diseases and disorders out there that affect people in so many ways yet others are easy to judge. I know my sister is one of those people and has been all her life. I don't judge someone even if they are off their trolly (you're right it's none of our business about your past and current life), all I care about is that they are living life to the fullest as we only have one shot at it. We all have a choice what we read on the internet but being cruel is not something we should tolerate from anyone. It's not a constructive way to give feedback as I realize not all comments are meant to be fluffy,pink and full of roses. You my dear, are a beautiful, smart, intelligent person who many look up to so don't let some twat control your happiness… … people like that can get stuffed and be on their way. :) Mr.CBB

  50. Even though you aren't "in" on this old story between myself and a friend, I'd really love to "world peace" some of the haters-especially the ones who comment just to cause pain or to attack. Basically, if I had a room filled with zombies, I'd want to drop that horrible person in it. I've called you inspirational in the past, and I meant it. I'm so glad that you are going to stay blogging-I love (truly love) your site. I might not comment all the time, but I read everything you write and love it. Thank you for being as awesome as you are.

  51. Glad to hear you are sticking with it. Your blog is one of the few I actuall read all the time and look forward to :)

  52. I stumbled onto your blog about 6 months ago and have enjoyed it since then. I got to feel I knew you even though I don't except through your blog. I guess I have been kind of a "lurker" since I have never sent you a comment before. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It took courage to do it and could help someone else out in ways you would have no knowledge of. We all have stories to tell. It's kind of like, do you want to tell yours first or do you want me. Our past and experiences are what makes us what we are today, fair or fowl. I was kind of concerned since you had not posted anything since the 12th. I'm glad you are writing again and please continue, we all missed YOU.

  53. Andrea, I found your blog by accident but since then, i've enjoyed reading it. Your variety of posts will make me think, sometimes they make laugh, but more often than not, they make do both. Unfortunately there are people out there that use the internet to inflict pain on others because they wouldn't be able to do in person. I think you are a brave women who has managed to pull herself through the tough times. I can't say I know how you are feeling, but i do know that I don't like it when people say things that hurt me. I wish you all the best and continue to brave, continue writing and continue inspiring us all. Have a blessed day.

  54. I just want to add a voice of support to the others. I don't know you but I feel a huge amount of compassion for what you've been through and continue to go through.
    You write very well and I'm glad you've decided to continue, both because it obviously is a great thing for you and because it's helpful and an inspiration to so many people out there you're not even aware of.
    And as someone else has no doubt already said, don't let the bastards get you down, kiddo.

  55. Knowing what you've been through makes me like you even more, Andrea. I agree with those who say you're a wonderful writer and an inspiration. The people who leave you $hitty comments can really go to hell – please pity them, don't let them get to you.

  56. When you wrote about haters comments on that original post, I thought it was something along the lines of "Take care of yourself and forget about others" written in a very thoughtless way. The reality blows my mind away. What kind of monster writes that type of thing? I would never suggest that a douchebag of that size kill himself, but I do think if you find out who it is he/she should be called out. In public. By name. There is NO excuse to add to your trauma, no matter whose fault it was.

    I always smile when your blog comes up in my RSS feed because I know it is going to be about something relatable. This post might be more traumatic than anything I've gone through, but it is still similar to things I experience and written in a way that is not only understandable, but the writing style does not get in the way of the sentiments being expressed. Well done!

    I read the whole thing, now where's my prize! :)

  57. Kudos to you for sharing your story! It takes a brave soul to do just that, and you did it with amazing ability.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I always say my husband has Bipolar disorder, and not IS Bipolar. PTSD may have helped shaped you towards being more of a writer, but it will never be who you are. You are so much more than it, and, if I may say for lack of better words, screw everyone that made you feel like crap. Screw the trolls and that person who knows you personally. They aren't worth it, so F them!

    I too write as an outlet for all the problems I have. I have never had a support system growing up as a kid and call myself a bad-ass orphan now. I guess my whole point is we all have or had issues, it is what we make out of them that counts. I am sorry you had such a bad day last week, but you are better than that. We all are. :)

  58. I'm glad you're not giving up writing, but now that you've decided that, can you put the original post back up? Judging by the above comments, there are plenty of us who would appreciate what you wrote!

  59. You are an excellent writer. Keep it up. Your experiences can help others. I am sorry that people are cruel.

  60. Thank you for writing again. You would've been sorely missed if you stopped.

  61. Great article Andrea, i really like the way you channeled all your emotions and put into writing. You not only offer people wonderful feelings while reading but you also taught them a lot of things.

  62. Glad you're still writing Andrea – to be honest, this is the only personal blog I read. Thanks for sharing some of the stuff that makes you the writer you are – It's sometimes difficult to put those words onto paper/a blog, so it's much appreciated!

    (Also, yes, the Internet and real life are full of dick heads who get a kick out of the strangest things – not sure what goes through their heads – but glad you're coping!!!)

  63. Wow! This is an amazing post! I'm so glad you have continued to write and that jerk that said that is a terrible person!

  64. People can get real mean when they don't have to show their face. Cowards. Keep writing. It sounds like it's therapeutic to you and you writing helps other people that can relate to your situation.

  65. Amazing story and resolve. You are so brave to put yourself out there like that to provide value for others. Glad you got your mojo back. I can't believe people can be so cruel. Keep inspiring and healing!

  66. Happy you didn't decide to stay away forever! :) You are awesome.

  67. Oh Andrea I am sorry that someone was so mean to you, people can be cruel. However I am glad that you decided not to let it get the best of you and that you decided to keep writing. xoxo.

  68. Ms. Andrea

    Let me start off by saying anyone and i mean ANYONE who has the nerve to put you in a position that you feel less than dirt deserves none of your time. NONE!! Those that take the time to put us down and rip us apart for things weve been through and take advantage or our vulnerability have lived perfectly little lives and think they know everything there is to know about life. In reality they havent even begun to live there lives. They build themselves up by stepping on others.

    I have personally been where you have been. I dont know what traumatic experience you have had or what personal everyday issues come up and make you ride that edge that look so inviting to jump off. But you are not alone. Not now. Not ever. There are more of us out there that are going through this everyday struggle to reach "normality" because of some hunting past experience. You more "normal" than you think! :)

    To be clear let me tell you. Im 27. I have an 8 year old son. I realized that i had an abuse mother at age 19. When my son was 18 months. He has opened my eyes to what it truly means to love and be loved. I realized what it took to be a mom and what SHE should have done for ME. Not the other way around. Everyday was an eye opener. Realizing that my life was NOT normal. It was NOT normal to be treated like dirt. EVERY DAY. It was NOT normal to have to BEG someone to love you. To pry even an OUNCE of respect out of someone. ANYONE.

    Opening up about this past experience is going to LIBERATE you. (in your own due time of course) You will see things for what they TRULY are. And you will be able to see what YOU truly deserve. And that its not wrong to want something for yourself. Including to be HAPPY. And NO ONE can take that away from you! You DESERVE to be respected. You DESERVE to be treated with dignity. If anyone says otherwise or tries to make you feel different. Tell them to go SUCK A LEMON!!! :)

    Im sending TONS and TONS of love and hugs your way!!!

    Tarah

  69. stacyverb says:

    I missed all the drama with the horrible commenters, but I'm glad you decided to keep writing and not leave the internet. It's baffling to me how some people have nothing better to do with their time than to make others feel bad. You just keep on keepin' on, and don't let those jerks have any power over your blog.

  70. You are such a wonderful writer Andrea. I admire your articles and the style of your writings. Keep it on.

  71. I am late to the "party" on this, but it just goes to show that haters are gonna hate! All we can do is moderate comments and keep our (physical, emotional, mental) boundaries up. You are a fantastic blogger with a fantastic following….and to have done all this to spite your traumatic experience will hopefully (one day) just make it sweeter!

  72. myliladventures says:

    Too bad you can't figure out who this person is and remove them from your life for good.. They're a coward and need to seek professional help. They're hiding being the internet. Seriously…cyber bullying? How old are they? They may as well have said your ankles are fat – sheesh!

    Good on you for ignoring them and moving on. You blog about whatever you want to. If they choose to read, thats on them.

  73. Obviously, I'm pretty late to the party, but thank you for writing this post.

    As I've mentioned in my blog, I have/had PTSD. I guess it's "had" because almost all the symptoms have faded over time. Except my hugely exaggerated startle response. It's gotten better over the past 15 years, but I still jump at loud noises, especially in an otherwise quiet environment.

    Right after the event — or, more aptly, right after my denial about the event finally broke down — I had flashbacks and was very into self-medicating with alcohol. Thanks to a poor self-image, I was definitely overly sexually active.

    I can't imagine living a life where I was still so burdened with PTSD symptoms. I won't say you're brave because it always pissed me off when people pulled that crap. It's not bravery when you have no real choice in the matter.

    But I'm impressed that you have… ugh, "come so far" sounds cliche. Nevertheless, I guess it's most apt.

    You've made amazing strides in your life. Surviving a trauma isn't a choice. Our minds and bodies are made to keep going no matter what. But picking yourself up emotionally and physically, working toward a healthy life.. That's one of the hardest choices — both to make and to sustain.

    You can always contact me through my blog if you ever need to vent about mental illness, others' small-mindedness or blogging backlash.

  74. I don't know how I missed this post before. I thought I'd read nearly every one on your site… but I followed the link over from today's entry because I had a bad night… and you're right, reading others' experiences DOES help. PTSD sucks, but I think God every single day for people like you who are strong enough to share your struggles and reach out like a candle in the dark, letting each other know we're not alone.
    You're an amazing, successful person and your blog helps give me hope that things can get better. Thanks for that.
    -Mary

  75. Renee S says:

    You are an inspiration. I love that you keep on going even though you’ve been dealt a very rough hand. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to reading more about you. I know that you have had a rough few months, but I will still be here waiting to read when you are ready to write about whatever you want to write about. *hug*

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