Grow Your Wings

Posted by Richard White/@shotgunborivers and Jamie Antinore

An interview with a friend.

My name is Jamie Antinore, and I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This sentence was very difficult to say for the longest time. To give you a back story about my PTSD, I suffered a very traumatic head injury. I was shopping with my grandmother, when I fainted and hit my head really hard off of a concrete floor. This caused a skull fracture, brain bleed, and seizures. This all happened a year ago on March 26, 2016. My day to day has dramatically changed, and my anxiety has gotten much worse. The littlest things that seem so irrelevant to most people are significant to me. An example would be; If someone was joking around with me and said something regarding my appearance, or my attitude I would get upset and take it to heart. After a comment like that is made, I sit there and analyze what is wrong with me.

Every day I find myself thinking about the day I fractured my skull. I think about it over, and over, again. It is mentally taxing reliving the event, that almost killed me. It’s also really hard to hear everyone say that it’s going to okay, and that I’m fine. I know the people I care about mean well, but they also don’t know the mental war that I go through every day. I know I’ll eventually learn to cope with this and be okay, but right now in this moment, I have a huge mental block that also makes me feel that I’m not okay and I never will be OK.

It’s very conflicting when the people who care about me just want me to be happy, and be back to my old self. I know I will never be the same person. As far as my anxiety my views on myself have changed dramatically. I think I’m the worst human being on the planet. Recently I have been questioning my status in every relationship that I have. This ranges from family, friends, and coworkers. This includes the fire department and ambulance company where I volunteer. I have pulled back from the things that I love since my head injury. I’ve also had a lot taken from me. I feel I can’t perform the jobs I used to be able to do with ease. I also feel as if my heart isn’t where it once was with ems because I’ve been out of it for so long.

I have a huge mental block when it comes to trying to get back to “normal”. I put normal in quotes because every ones normal is different. Some of the ways that I cope with my PTSD is therapy, going to the barn, music, and reading inspiring quotes. Therapy helps me to an extent, it mainly helps with the emotions I keep bottled up and repressed. Being with horses at the barn helps give me a chance to deeply think without the outside stress and pressure of other people’s opinions. It’s also the satisfaction of hard work that alleviates the stress of everyday life. I take pride in the hard work at the barn, it always helps when my best friend and her son let me go there to help take care of her horse.

Another coping mechanism that I use is music. I have a few songs that I go to when I feel upset. The two I listen to the most is Beautiful Pain by Eminem feat. SIA and The Fighter by In This Moment these songs have very deep meaning in the lyrics for me.  The first song lets me know that everyone is going to go through horrific events in life, you can either let it define you or rise above it.  The second song reminds me to keep fighting and be a warrior no matter how much I want to give up. I hope my story helps anyone who knows what it’s like to fight this battle every day, just remember you are not alone and you are loved.

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