It’s different for everyone.
While it is mostly known to be about ragged breaths and violent flashbacks, it’s not always the case. It is not always shaking or sweating or nausea. It’s not always about the pounding heart and the roaring in the ears. It’s not always that desire to self-destruct. It’s not always loud.
Sometimes, it’s quiet.
Sometimes, you don’t even notice it’s there.
But it is.
No matter how deep you seem to have buried it, it’s still there. Ready to rear its ugly head up at every crack in your control that it finds.
It’s in the way you hold yourself back from people – not quite in the middle but not quite at the edge. Or in the way you start to prefer your own company a lot more often than you used to. It’s in the way you refuse to acknowledge that those months, those years, have a lot more to do with how you view yourself and other people.
It’s in the way you feel your chest constrict whenever anyone shows you or tells you that they love you and then you have the irresistible urge to run away so you just smile and nod and silently vow to stay away for a little while to make sure those walls around you are thoroughly fortified.
It’s in those moments when you feel so unbearably sad for what you think to be absolutely no reason at all. For those times when you sit there comforted by your own company, yet wondering when comfort would come from someone else. And for those times when you quickly dismiss any comfort offered to you.
But worse, so much worse, are the nightmares you refuse to believe you had when morning comes. Those little heartbreaking moments that you relive while you’re asleep. A quick reminder that yes, it may have been over and you may sometimes forget it happened but no, not really, because it’s there imprinted in your mind. And your heart.
So, no. It’s not always loud. It’s not always the anxiety or the panic attacks. It’s not always the heightened emotions.
Sometimes, it’s the absence of it.