I am so grateful to have had the privilege of interviewing Quinn, who is all the way from Rochester, New York. Quinn opened up about his heart-wrenching experience with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD for short. Please keep on reading to hear his story.
Adam: Hi, Quinn! Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me. I’d like to begin by asking you a bit about yourself, such as your age, location, your occupation, and what you do in your spare time.
Quinn: Hi, Adam. It’s no problem at all, I’m honored to be interviewed by you. I’m 32, and I live in upstate New York, Rochester specifically. Currently, I am not working or going to school, but I hope to be able to go back to school eventually. I spend a lot of my time writing, reading, and playing guitar (or trying to).
Adam: That’s awesome! So, Quinn, can you tell me a bit about your disability, how you were diagnosed and when? However, as I say to everyone, please only go into as much detail as you feel comfortable.
Quinn: So, at the age of 15, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after my best friend at the time committed suicide. I was unfortunate enough to witness this tragedy, so as a result, it affected me quite a bit. My best friend’s name was John, and he was unfortunately cursed with a “father” that was less than human, in my personal opinion. He came out as gay at age 13, to which his father replied, “no son of mine will be a f*g and retarded.” My friend was also mildly autistic, which was no easy feat, in terms of school and a social life and what not. Anyway, I digress. This event was the cause of the onset of my PTSD, which has only been made worse over the years as a result of more close deaths.
Adam: I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s passing, and I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatizing that must have been for you. For those that don’t know about PTSD, what are the challenges that you’ve encountered because of your disability and what practices have you undergone to overcome those challenges?
Quinn: Even to this day, I still have flashbacks and nightmares, and anything sounding like a gunshot is a major trigger for me. Having PTSD also makes it difficult to make it through something as simple as a thunderstorm. I also cannot tolerate fireworks, which is a shame because I used to enjoy them. In order to control the symptoms of PTSD, I have had years of therapy and medication. Even so, some days are better than others. Simple little things that a person might not even realize are triggers can actually be triggers. For example, cars backfiring or doors slamming, etc. It is for this reason that I’m always on high alert.
Adam: Do you believe that there are any misconceptions about PTSD? What do you want others to know about PTSD?
Quinn: I think a really common misconception about PTSD is that it’s a disorder that only soldiers in war suffer from, but this misconception could not be further from the truth. So what I’d want people to know is that while being a soldier can be definitely be a cause of PTSD, it’s definitely not the only cause that exists.
Adam: If there was someone younger than you who also had PTSD, what advice would you offer to them?
Quinn: I would tell someone younger than me who suffers from PTSD to ‘hang in there’ because it will get easier to deal with. PTSD never goes away, but you will learn coping skills as the years go by, or that’s the hope anyway. I used to hate when people would say this to me because I always thought, “how could something so horrific get better?” But as they say, time really does heal wounds. On that same token, though, it also takes a lot of work. That means talking about it when you might not want to, being vulnerable around others, etc.
Adam: If you could go back in time to say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Quinn: Oh man, where do I begin with that one haha. I would tell myself to use more positive coping skills, especially ones that won’t make things worse in the long run. Unfortunately, my PTSD is one reason that I became an addict. Now that I’m older and clean, I know that there were and are other more therapeutic ways to deal with it. However, I put myself and others around me through a lot of things that weren’t necessary for any of us to suffer through.
Adam: Quinn, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I know that it wasn’t easy to speak about, but I truly admire your strength and resilience. Is there anything you want to say before we sign off?
Quinn: Adam, thank you so much taking the time to interview me and share my story. I really appreciated getting the chance to shed some light on something that many people are inaccurately informed about. Talking about it helps me, and if I can help someone else, especially a younger person, that’s even better and makes it all the more worth it.
Adam: I’m so glad this this experience was positive for you. It’s been a pleasure, Quinn!
Quinn: Likewise, Adam!