I asked my daughter who is quite the make up expert to create an image for me with her make up talent to make my face look like on the outside what it feels like on the inside during a PTSD moment…a moment of a flashback…a moment being triggered and brought to trauma. Day to day it would be different. One day it could be claw marks. One day it could be me screaming and wanting to pull my hair out. One day it could be in a ball on the floor. Today, this is what PTSD felt like.
The picture itself could be triggering…
Every part has meaning. The dark eyeshadow is the darkness that shadows over me. The various colors used represent the turbulence in my mind. She swirled them together to represent every emotion with deep darkness like a tornado swirling tearing up a pathway through my mind. The sparkly highlighter represents the flashing and flashing of memory. The red lipstick is the power in the pain. The red (blood) dripping from one eye is the explosion in my brain that has nowhere else to go but to trickle from my eye. It is also the depth of the excruciating stabbing pain that no one sees. The pain of PTSD can clearly be represented in blood coming out of my eye. The bandaids are the efforts I make to cover the wounds. The bandaids also represent a wound no one wants to see so we cover up the stigma with bandaids. The bandaids in abundance show the manic state of trying so desperately to make it all go away. The pale face is the death I feel each time in my soul when I go back to the past unwillingly in a PTSD moment. The black eyeliner darker on one lower lid than the other is the imbalance I feel in reality.
PTSD is very hard for me to describe to others. I have done it in poetry. I have done it in a few other images in the past. I will post them later.
Make up and photo done by my daughter. She captured exactly what I wanted to show happens inside my mind during a terrible moment.
She doesn’t know about the why behind the terrible moments she just knows I have PTSD and she has seen many PTSD moments. I chose the colors that I wanted to show outwardly what was inwardly happening. She said she found it haunting. She asked when finished if this was really how it felt to have PTSD. I said yes. It absolutely is for me.
I wanted to share these few photos so that others can have a picture of what it feels like as best I can visually show, what PTSD is. And that is just a moment I felt today. Tomorrow there may be different colors, different images, but today, this is how I felt.
The images I have done in the past are below.
This image below was created by me and taken by me
It is of me trapped behind glass (not naked but the vulnerability of the shower is supposed to imply that) wanting to be let out of the trapped feeling in my own mind. The image is about helplessness, vulnerability, and pain. It is also one of my triggering moments as the shower was one of the traumatic events.
The last image was taken by me and done by me.
This image with the tape over my mouth “speak” written over it as I was about to rip the tape off with the mascara streaked tears was to show the pain of the inability to speak my truth for so long. The sunlight behind me representing the light that would be revealed as the truth was finally spoken.
I do believe my daughter’s images she helped me created for PTSD were the best but all of the images were created to show others the pain of trauma that goes on long after the abuse. The many layers of grief, sadness, despair, anger, abandonment, fear, anxiety, and so many other feelings that happen after abuse. PTSD cannot be summed up in a blog post or in a few images but I have tried to capture a few to represent how it makes me feel. You are welcome to share the images to spread awareness of PTSD and the impact trauma can have on our lives.