By Christian Benedetto, Jr.
Much like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, where you earn badges, it would be interesting if we did the same for those of us with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I know I would have a few hundred badges by now, but let’s just cover 10 of the more important badges you could get. To folks without PTSD, you may find these ridiculous; to those with PTSD or a loved one with PTSD, you know how hard these would be to earn.
1. The “I Got Out of Bed This Morning Before 10 a.m.” Badge.
Note: if you can do this seven days in a row, you get a gold rim on your badge.
2. The “I Showered Today” Badge.
Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. If you have PTSD you have a pretty good shot at also having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Studies show that it actually hurts to shower if you have fibromyalgia. Imagine you’re in a state of mental distress, your whole body aches and a warm shower hurts you. Again note — if you can do this seven days in a row, you get a gold rim on your badge.
3. The “I Drove Someplace in Rush Hour Traffic and Didn’t Have a Panic Attack or Feel Panicked” Badge.
Much like a unicorn or Bigfoot, we are still waiting on physical proof this one exists.
4. The “I Did Something Nice Today for Someone” Badge.
Also known as the “I Gave a Shit Today About Anybody but Myself” badge (IGASHABM badge), this seems like something easy enough to do. Wrong again; you hurt mentally, emotionally and physically. Being nice left the building with Elvis.
5. The “Stable Relationship” Badge.
Sure, we were maybe in love with someone before we got PTSD from a traumatic event. That was then; we are not the same person from before. So, if you find yourself lucky enough to love the new you…
6. The “I Went to a Dark Crowded Place” Badge.
Movies, concerts, malls, shopping centers or public transportation can all earn you this highly-cherished badge.
7. The “Panic Attack Survival” Badge.
This is one of the first badges you get, and arguably the hardest. Kidney stones and giving birth are two of the hardest things in the body, physically and emotionally; a full blown panic attack is a close third place.