Throughout my twenties, I was a committed activist. I started in animal rights, where fellow activists introduced me to anarchism. From 21 - 28, if it wasn't protesting for animal and human rights, I was also helping in Food Not Bombs, free self-defense training (I had years of Muay Thai experience) for activists, and other activities with my fellow friends. This was nearly an everyday thing for me.
When I was 29, I had two violent assaults against me within a month, both stemming from the place I was working at the time. One almost lead to my death, and had a weapon involved. I won't go into detail on either, but I never processed the emotions from the attacks. I thought I could tough them out. I couldn't.
I lost interest in activism within a year. I found myself afraid of everything, paranoid of everybody. Even if a friend disagreed with something I agreed with, I felt panic. I couldn't talk. I froze, pretty much. I dealt with this for years, just thinking I had developed some sort of anxiety somewhere. Feeling like I couldn't operate in this world anymore, I fell into depression and pretty much lost everything. I had to move back in with my parents. I couldn't even keep a job without being absolutely paralyzed with fear by a boss telling me I did something wrong.
Well, I finally got into therapy a year ago. And was diagnosed with PTSD. We've been processing my trauma and my attacks, and although I feel much better and my life is so much better now than it was a year ago, I'm still terrified of getting back into activism.
Because activism means action, to me. And action usually means confronting people. And in today's political climate confronting those who are violently opposed to you. I'm at a point in my therapy that I can get through a civil debate without my PTSD triggering, but any overt anger directed towards me still triggers my symptoms.
I also feel like the older I get, the less of a voice I have. I'm sure that's just an excuse my anxiety makes to keep me on the sidelines, but it is there.
As I'm continuing therapy, is there anything I can do to not feel so hopeless? To stop being an armchair anarchist? To fight without actual confrontation, at least until my PTS symptoms start getting better?