Yes, Things Get Worse Before Things Get Better

Published 26 September 2018
woman sitting inside looking at a fire outside

One thing about trauma in PTSD is that it starts to show itself when you’re safe(r) than before. Our brains are working on overdrive trying to protect us and to handle all the threats and to keep us alive after the earth shattering trauma(s) we lived through. We feel scared because we know how bad things can get. We feel anxious because we don’t ever want to experience what we had to endure in the past.

That’s why when we are finally safe, some of the worst of the traumatic remembering pops up. Our brains are trying to push us to process it. “Hey, so…looks like we’re in a safer spot today, might be time to start sorting through those trauma files that are taking up a lot of space in the present memory storage room.”

I’m still learning more things about my traumas all the time. I’ve been in therapy consistently (once or twice a week) for four years, been going to a psychiatrist for a little less time than that, and been attending a 12 Step program for the last 3 and a half years. I can tell you, that for me, things got so much worse before they got better. They got worse in my head after things in my life had leveled out. The worst year of my life, that I can remember, was January 2012-January 2013. I call it the hell year or the year of trauma. I have traumas from long before that, but that year broke the camel’s back.

My dad passed away suddenly, my mom gave up the house, I was living across the ocean with an abusive boyfriend who just got more abusive when my dad died, and then when I escaped him about 11 months after my dad died, I moved back to the US to live with my dad’s brother and his family. A month later, that house burnt down and I almost didn’t make it out, I was positive I was going to die in there.

My now husband is the person who saved my life that day in the fire, and he is a kind and caring and healthy person. His entire family is genuinely full of love and goodness. He’s from Argentina, so I moved there after 8 months to be with him. I mean this family is amazing and so is he.

They were so safe that my traumas were exploding out and I fell deep and fast into serious alcoholism. I was self-harming, I was suicidal, I was losing my grip on reality. I know now that my “losing my mind” was actually just my traumas screaming at me because they were not processed. They were taking up space in the wrong part of my brain. It’s a long and slow process to heal, but holy fuck is it worth it.

My life is very different than it was just four years ago, and it is an entirely foreign experience when compared to 2012. My life today is good, I am content, I can cope. I still have CPTSD and PTSD and MDD, but I now have some really effective coping skills that help me manage those things and they’re more of something I live with than something that controls me. I just had a flashback a week and a half ago. I was triggered tonight and started stuttering. It happens all the time. Some of the symptoms I experience now I didn’t used to have, I’d rather these symptoms than the darkness which consumed me before.

It got worse before it got better, and now I feel more emotionally stable than I have my entire life. It isn’t easy, I know that. I just want you to hear from someone who has been there, that it can get better.


you might also be interested in

Finding Healing / Healing Journey

Am I Scared or Is It Grief? – Uncovering the Sad Feeling

June 18, 2022
Depression / Inside Depression

Depression Is My Monster

Finding Healing / Personal / Self-Advocacy

I Deserve Respect

Inside Depression / Mental Illness Stigma / Symptomatic Sensations

Sometimes I Feel Ashamed of My Mental Health

Finding Healing / India / Memories / Personal Discovery / Travel Moments

Counting the Hours to Counter the Fear


  1. Gabrielle on February 21, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you for this! In my pits of this part of healing, searching google to make sure I’m not alone and found this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Alice Lynn on September 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    What an excellent article! A inside view of trauma and its after-affects. In today’s public hearings with Dr. Ford highlight the veracity of her experience. Well done, Ms Kristance!

Leave a Comment

Join the mailing list.

No spam and we will never share your information.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call your local emergency number. The numbers listed here are the commonly used numbers for the stated region, the numbers can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you don't know your country's equivalent to 911, this wiki page and The Lifeline Foundation have comprehensive listings.



The Americas





112 & 999



112, 999, 110



112, 911, 999, 111, & 000


Find help for a crisis by texting, calling, or chatting online with these free crisis organizations. Looking for one outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

Crisis Text Line
Text: “HOME” to 741741

Suicide Lifeline
Text: “ANSWER” to 839863
Call: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Child Abuse Hotline

The Trevor Project
Text “START” to 678678

These online and international resources may help you anywhere you are located. Looking for local support outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

DV Support Abroad
Call toll-free worldwide

I'm Alive Virtual Crisis Center
Live chat with trained volunteers

Crisis Connections
24/7 crisis support with interpretation in 155+ languages