When the Writer Uses Programming to Cope with PTSD

Today is a hard day—one I wish I didn’t remember.

October 30, 2014. The day I was officially diagnosed with PTSD.

It’s been 7 years and The Beast still plagues me….

The past 48 hours have been a blur, a memory whizzing by in a mental blender, completely—well mostly—unable to be deciphered. I woke up groggy, disillusioned, and still a little dissociated this morning. I almost called out of work—I should have called out of work. If I didn’t have responsibilities, then I probably wouldn’t have moved out of bed.

But alas, that was not the case. So, off to work I went, intrusive memories following me, invading my space all the while, like a demanding toddler crying, screaming for cookies…

Restarting the Journey into Programming and Hope

I recently restarted my journey into programming and web development, after a brief stint of recovery, first from major surgery in March, and then, from just life stressors. (Does anyone ever really recover from stress though?)

I have to smirk. I just wrote “<hr>” in the Block editor just above and I’m chuckling now because of what it represents. In HTML (hypertext markup language), those seemingly simple characters (“<hr>”) create a horizontal line across the page to be used as a separator from one paragraph to the next. But I couldn’t see the line because I was trying to edit in the Block editor and not in the HTML editor. (There are certain things you can do in WordPress only with the “Edit as HTML” option.) It’s sobering honestly. As someone with too high expectations of herself (probably because of anxiety and wanting everything to be perfect the first time around), this world of programming is eye-opening. It’s showing me, if nothing else, that I can learn new things. I am capable of producing something good. That even when I am too hard on myself and want to give up, that I can do this. I did that line of code without even thinking about it. I learned that yesterday through this site with HTML tags and other cool stuff. I’m actually doing it—actually coding!

Needing Control and Freedom

I suppose the main reason why I drifted back into programming tonight is that I need a distraction. I’m tired of being dragged back into the past because of triggers during conversations and/or intrusive memories. I’m tired of fighting constantly. I desperately need a distraction tonight. Better yet, I need something to control. I can control my computer (sort of). I can manage my VS Code editor; I can learn a new HTML tag or CSS property, and practice it repeatedly until I can code in my sleep. If I code in my sleep, maybe I can dream a new dream that doesn’t end with me waking up in a cold sweat or a panic attack. If I can control the external environment in front of me, namely my laptop, maybe I can control the inner, darker parts of me too. With Halloween being tomorrow, and the day not quite being over yet, I need all the light and promise programming offers that I can get.

I will have control. I will have freedom. One line of code at a time.

5 thoughts on “When the Writer Uses Programming to Cope with PTSD

Add yours

  1. Haha Matrix Code… I was fascinated by the way Neo could see the code that made things up… Kinda like how a post looks when you switch between Block Editor and Html editor 🤣🤣


  2. You know what they say at WordPress… Code is Poetry
    Here’s to coding the world one tag at a time

    Random question are you a fan of the Matrix movies? 🤣


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