I have just finished a 10-day trip to Washington State and Oregon. It is the first time I have been on a travel vacation since I left my work on disability in the 2005-2006 school year. The challenges started at the airport when the panic attacks began (like an Elephant sitting on my chest). I had flashbacks of 9/11 and the Malaysian airplane that was shot down. These 2 catastrophes reactivated the trauma for me and the terror never left me for the flight there and the flight home. Because of these events air travel will never be easy for me and I think not easy for many with PTSD. My triggers became more activated and were present through my entire vacation. I did my best to utilize all my tools to cope with them. On the other side, I had incredibly blissful times with family especially getting to know my 2-year old great niece in Seattle, and seeing where other family had chosen to live their lives at this moment.
In addition, I found the beauty of Nature exhilarating! Yet even when going on short contemplative walks in the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula, I would have great fear when coming across other hikers. I would see them as the next ax murderers while my husband would say “Hello” and joke with them in passing. Living with PTSD is not a “Simple” lifestyle.
My husband and I wrote this summary blog together. The richness (and pain) of the full experience, which I wrote from my heart, is listed under the further reflections section of my blog site. It has the same title. You can connect to it using this link.