I got PTSD from an ex boyfriend

The teal ribbon is the PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) awareness ribbon

I was stalked for six months after I broke up with my ex boyfriend. I was only 19 at the time. He tracked me on social media. He called my phone numerous times during the day (despite how my phone company kept claiming his number was blocked). He sent me many angry messages over instant messanger (back in those days, it was quite popular). He also sexually coerced me the entire relationship (so about three years), a form of sexual abuse.

I believe fully the only reason he stopped stalking me was because he couldn’t gain access to me. The phone service finally “actually blocked” his number, I was able to block him on all forms of social media, I changed my electronic information, and was borderline paranoid about what I put on social media (on top of being extremely mindful of privacy settings on social media). During the course of this time, we shared a mutual friend online. I told her what had happened to me and him (his stalking, his abuse), and for whatever reason she still tried to see him as a “good guy”.

Fast forward a few months after the stalking had “disappeared”, I happened to see his name on social media through this mutual friend. I remember the event clearly. I was sitting on my dorm bed, scrolling through social media. Then I saw his name. My neck tensed up. My hairs stood on end. My heart felt like it was beating in my head and I felt like I was trying to swallow a lump in my throat.

Logically, I knew that reaction was not normal and it was time for professional help. I was able to get an appointment with my college’s mental health counselor and through our sessions, I learned to control my panic attacks and explore my own thoughts and feelings in a safe area.

After graduating from that college in 2016, I still got the occasional flashback or panic attack, but with the tools from counseling, I had learned how to healthily cope with them.

I am now 24 years old. I thought the PTSD had fully subsided because I had not gotten a panic attack, flashback, or nightmare for over a year. However, recently, I have been getting flashbacks and nightmares that involve him. I have no idea why this is happening. The relationship ended years ago, but he still mentally screwed me over with the abuse and stalking. I know how to cope without self destructing, but it is still hard to deal with.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.