Content warning: This post details anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Some readers may find this triggering. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.
“It was a constant battle between sleeping and staying awake because sleeping made the pain go away, but it still came to me through my nightmares.”
Seven years ago, this was Carly Miller’s day-to-day reality. At 26, she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder stemming from trauma she experienced as a five year old. Only she didn’t know it. She’d never spoken about it. All she wanted to do was sleep.
“I was at the point of having several panic attacks a day, and just crying all the time,” the now 32-year-old flight attendant told Mamamia.
“I couldn’t leave the house as I was becoming extremely paranoid. I was worried people were coming to get me – I didn’t want to see any of my friends and I completely shut myself off from everyone – I didn’t want to do anything with my life.”
It was always Carly’s dream to be a flight attendant, but at that time of her life, completing even the simplest of daily tasks was near impossible.
“I didn’t want to shower or brush my teeth, I didn’t want to eat – all I wanted to do was sleep,” she explained.
“But the thing about sleeping was that’d I’d have horrible nightmares every time I closed my eyes.”
At her lowest point, Carly’s mum fought to convince her to see a doctor, an idea she pushed back against until she realised she couldn’t go on living that way anymore.
“My mum could see what I was going through day to day, she was nice about telling me to go see someone in the beginning but I wouldn’t listen, ” she said.
I wear my #heartonmysleeve to encourage Mental Health sufferers to talk about it. Living with anxiety and PTSD sucks but I’m a stronger and better person for it and I’m proud of who I am today. Some days are tough, other days are peachy but it’s okay not to be peachy. Look out for one another. Be there for one another. Let’s come together to promote talking about these real issues. @heartonmysleevemovement . . . . #heartonmysleeve #heartonmysleevemovement #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #ptsd #depression #cometogether #itsoknottobeok #letstalkaboutit #imhereforyou #beyondblue
“I said I was fine, I didn’t want medication – I never really thought much of what I was feeling, that being down and upset was normal.
“I didn’t want to accept reality, but in the end mum got quite firm and basically took me to the doctor herself which led to a psychologist referral – if it wasn’t for her pushing me, who knows where I’d be.”
Carly was diagnosed with PTSD and began seeing her psychologist once a week. For her, knowing she wasn’t alone in her struggles was the first step in her recovery.