In this fourth addition to the mental health series, DMVDaily and Investigative Journalist Gabrielle Alexandra Smith discuss more in-depth about how PTSD is affected in someone’s past, present, and future.
DMVDaily: This is a continuation of our last episode about PTSD. For those of you all who do not know, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many people with PTSD have an issue with handling their past which is their old selves. How did you handle this?
Gabrielle: I tried to forget it and move on. It is hard when people around you love to bring up the past. I only bring up the past to laugh. I have made my peace with the past. Anything dealing with the past is how I got here whether it is positive or negative. Talking about the past is not bad. it is only bad when you still have anger or negative emotions connected to the past.
I talk about the past 10% of the time now. Before, it was 100% of the time.
DMVDaily: When you say “before” do you mean before PTSD? and Why was it 100%?
Gabrielle: Yes, before PTSD. It was 100% of the time because I had never made peace with it. I lived in my mistakes. I had many negative emotions about my past. This made no room for my present and future.
DMVDaily: Wow. I believe many of us have this same struggle and problem. This issue is making peace with the past. I hear a lot of people dealing with the past a lot.
Gabrielle: This is not healthy. In this case, you remove yourself from these people and you make the choice to live in the present. This is what I did.
DMVDaily: How did healing or making peace with the past help your PTSD?
Gabrielle: It is interesting you asked this. I visited my childhood home last Friday.
DMVDaily: How was this?
Gabrielle: I did not want to visit. I had negative and positive memories here. I dreaded going. I told myself I had to go. It was hard emotionally. I did it.
DMVDaily: Why was it hard?
Gabrielle: It was hard because there are 12 years of my memories here. All of my childhood. My mind went back. I am starting to become a person who does not indulge in the past very much. It is nice to make small references about the past. It is not about spending 30 minutes on the past or longer. I can tell the difference between someone who has made peace with their past vs. someone who emotionally is still in their past. The emotional connection is still there because their past was more fun or their past holds most of their emotions.
DMVDaily: How did you make peace?
Gabrielle: This might sound corny, I wrote down everyone who did me wrong in my life from kindergarten to now.
DMVDaily: This is a very long time span.
Gabrielle: Yes, it is. So from the ages of 3-24. On this list had their names. I forgave with my soul and the wrong things they did to me. And I felt so great afterward. It was honest forgiveness. On the other hand, I made a soul apology for my own wrongdoings to people throughout my life.
DMVDaily: No many people can do this. This is hard.
Gabrielle: I had to because I did not want to continue to be haunted by my past. I had no choice. My past was literally haunting me. I am okay with talking about the past, but I do not stay in the past very long. It has become pointless to me.
DMVDaily: This sounds like a good tactic.
Gabrielle: With PTSD, understanding your past is challenging. I have explained this once before. I shredded the person who I once was. I figuratively constructed a new person. Now, a person might think I am the same, but I am not.
DMVDaily: Describe this new you.
Gabrielle: I am not focused on the past. I am stronger, respectful, sensitive to negative energy, and an introvert. In addition to being an introvert, I heavily enjoy being by myself. I take myself out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner whenever I want to. I hang out with myself to the point that being around someone has become hard. I do not have social anxiety. I just enjoy being by myself.
DMVDaily: Would you go as far as saying you might be in a sologamous relationship?
Gabrielle: It is on the cusp of this. I have thought about it. It is helping my PTSD. I do want I want and live how I want. No one controls my whereabouts or the time frame of my whereabouts. There is no drama. I wake up refreshed and happy and go to bed the same way. I feel so free. This is because I am talking about my story and what I have gone through. This is only the beginning stage.
DMVDaily: You must get to know yourself vs. trying to introduce yourself to people. There is nothing wrong with being sologamist. Most people do not know themselves. They have a lost identity. This is sad.
Gabrielle: I knew a few lost souls.
DMVDaily: It is scary to be a lost soul. There is nothing wrong with spending quality time by yourself. However, the only problem will come when you get confronted by someone.
Gabrielle: Are you talking about relationship-wise?
DMVDaily: Yes and also friendships.
Gabrielle: I only have business-related connections. I am too busy for a social life. People outside of my business-related connections do not understand this. I overly say, “I am busy.” I receive messages about what are you doing. Why are you not talking to me?” etc. It is nothing personal. I am just extremely busy. This weekend was the first weekend since April that I got to relax at home. My life moves extremely fast. I am not interested in a relationship or friendship. I am in the phase of my life where I am trying to get to know myself. I do not have time to handle someone’s emotional issues or drama. I live a total drama-free life. Young people love drama. It is contagious to them. Young people love to gossip about other people. I do not gossip anymore. I have made more changes. These few changes have already changed me.
DMVDaily: This is lovely. In closing out this episode, we understand that handling PTSD, a person must come to terms with their past to positively live out their present and future. This can be different for most people. For you, you actually went back to the past physically to get closure.