Is it ever possible to get over PTSD and have life again?
Here's a little background information on my story:
Growing up as a teen (15), I moved out early and started living with my boyfriend. He was physically and verbally abusive to me, as well as addicted to crack. When I was trying to sleep at night, he would steal my money for crack and bring strangers into the house late at night to do drugs. They would punch holes in the wall and yell for most of the night. I was very young then, and was scared all time time of making him angry/ felt like I wasn't able to leave that relationship. Eventually I did, but I got right into another abusive relationship. During that relationship, my boyfriends brother was raping me. Both of these situations set me up for falling into a position of forced prostitution- I was seeing a therapist for awhile who referred to what happened to me as "sex trafficking". I was 19 years old. Needless to say, during that time, terrible things happened to me- I was drugged so severely once that I thought I was going to die.
Since then, I was able to escape (read: flee) from that situation. I was extremely lucky and even received some help from my family. I've been able to get myself through college and am even planning to apply for a graduate program in the medical/psych field.
Because of what I've been through, I have pretty severe PTSD. It's been over 5 years since all of this happened to me, but I don't think that my symptoms have really gotten any better. When I was in class and when I am at work, I always have managed to get everything done, but am extremely anxious and begin to feel triggered/spaced out. Many times I start to feel panicked because I get a flashback and feel like I'm trapped, even when I'm in a totally safe situation. I have a boyfriend who is really supportive of me, but besides that I don't have many friends. I push people away and isolate myself because I don't think that it would be easy for people to understand me (what I've been through). I also worry that when someone gets too close to me, that they can tell that I have PTSD or think that I'm "crazy" or in pain/anxious. Sometimes it's very hard to relax in a totally neutral situation, because I feel so hyper vigilant, my heart racing, and on guard. I'm also extremely private and don't like talking about what i've been through.
Has anyone been through something like this? How have you coped with chronic PTSD?