What is something you thought was grossly exagerated until it happened to you?

Well for me it would be the PTSD. When I was younger, I could see how somebody in Vietnam would be suffering for the rest of their life from hallucinations and nightmares, but I did not know the true extent it could go too or the fact that repressed memories of child abuse could cause it. I have no idea how I lived with it, kept it in somewhat control, and was unaware of it until I was close to thirty, but when that wall dropped it disabled me over time. First, it was the bloody nightmares in which I would do things that had me scared of myself when I woke up. Then, and for the past seven years I have had to take 6 pills a day or dehydrate from the constant bathroom attacks in a matter of a few days. I would develop unexplained phobias like not being able to keep my eyes open in a vehicle because every other car on the road looked like they were outright trying to see if somebody would hit them (I already had a fear of driving, but I could not even ride in one and I have never had an accident to my knowledge). Pains I can't explain. Feeling like someone just jabbed a huge needle into my head or various parts of my body (pain is intense, but combined with the sudden surprise, it can make me yell or even fall if in the right place). Muscles pulling for no reason. A weird vertical vertigo that makes the world look like an untuned T.V. channel. Suddenly unable to walk a straight line even though I don't even feel lightheaded. Radom numbness. Racing heartbeats just sitting around. Jerking violently every time I drift off to sleep as if I am scared too. Terrified to look someone in the eyes no matter how long I have known or trust them. Sleep paralysis like dreams (not the actual thing) in which I would fight to move and wake up only to be still dreaming and unable to move again as something I could not see kept getting closer (Four times in a row is the highest I have counted). I begin yelling in my sleep, gasping for air, and not remembering why in the morning.

That is not even touching the depression issues.

Throughout all this, I managed to work with the public and be a good ass employee. I had a strong work ethic and knew how to make people laugh. Over three years ago, the disassociation suddenly hit. It became apparent I was "not always there" and my short term memory would be wrong in weird ways. No way to know it ever even happened without something or someone pointing it out later for some reason.

I went from being a potential manager to disability, useless, and even more bipolar than ever before. Medication can only dull the severity of the symptoms.

I never knew depression and anxiety could potentially do so much to a person. I never understood why people would want to take the coward's way out or cut themselves. If you were not hallucinating, talking to yourself, or serial killing I did not think of you as having a mental illness.

Trust me, you cannot keep it all inside, refuse to deal, and just try to ignore something just so you do not look like a pussy. Until you truly deal, it is all there secretly controlling you in ways you don't even see waiting for that time when you finally feel safe and think your troubles are behind you.

/r/AskReddit Thread